Chris has experienced our entire journey and we were thrilled to speak with him about what his memories of Chaucer have been and where he sees the company going as Chaucer — and Chris — celebrate 40 years.
2. What has been your favorite part of working for Chaucer Foods?
A: Overall, my favorite part is the ability to work in different global locations, interact with different cultures, and meet clients with whom I’ve built meaningful relationships with. With Chaucer, I have been in the United States for the past 19 years, but have worked and lived in China, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. Personally, I don’t think many people would enjoy working at the same company for this long, but it is the relationship and the possibility for creating global connections that make this a place worth staying with for 40 years. It is also so exciting to look back at my own personal growth, Chaucer’s growth, and the projects that have gotten us here today.
While I can’t think of just one ingredient that I am proud of, I enjoy working with customers on new projects—whether it’s raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or a blend of all three. When I’m working with a customer that faces challenges or unresolved constraints, we can bring in solutions to help address those issues, such as through oil spraying projects or packaging solutions. The most important thing is to give the Customer what they need to create growth and profitability for all.
In an industry and world that never stops changing and throwing curve balls, Chaucer has always been able to react and develop new, next steps for continued success. For example, we didn’t originally have an R&D team, but after listening to what our client needs, we were able to bring in experts who can not only innovate our products, but also help provide solutions for our consumers. Through my time at Chaucer, I have developed a passion for constant adaptation and flexibility, because our story is proof that those are traits that can lead to long-term success.
Q: What’s been the most impactful moment of leadership or a key decision that has allowed Chaucer to last and thrive for 40 years?
A: I’ve been able to work under five different company owners but looking back it was the growth and acquisition changes made back in the early 90s that were probably our biggest advancements over the past 4 decades. Transitioning from only small-batch, baked ingredients to the addition of freeze-dried ingredients was the most influential change. From there, we were lucky to be able to go out and secure our biggest global contract and customer, a relationship we still hold onto today. That was really the moment where Chaucer became the Chaucer of today.
Q: When you think of Chaucer Foods, what personally comes to mind?
Q: What would you say to someone beginning their career now at Chaucer Foods?