This past September, GBFB Team member, Matt Gray, was honored to be inducted into a new editorial series in The Griffin Report of Food Marketing called “40 Under 40.” This list includes the top 40 rising leaders in the grocery industry under 40 yrs. old. We are thrilled for Matt for receiving this recognition and proud to have him on Team GBFB. Title: Food Acquisition Manager Years with Company: 3 years Education, professional associations, Volunteer group affiliations: B.A. in Philosophy from Bowling Green State University, and a M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Montana Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career development? I’ve been fortunate to have had many mentors over the years that taught me much about the food industry and food banking. Nicole Englert and Pam Clevenger at the Good Food Store in Missoula, Montana, taught me all about the retail grocery world, specifically natural and organic foods, and the importance of building strong vendor relationships. At The Greater Boston Food Bank I’ve had the pleasure of working, and being mentored by many wise, knowledgeable individuals. My main mentor has been Ann Cote. Ann has been working in food banking for over 25 years, and she has taught me the most about the industry. I’ve learned a great deal from her about the history of food banking, current trends in hunger relief, and most importantly, the unique field of “food bank logistics.” What are you most proud of in your career achievements to date? I’m most proud of two main achievements. At the Good Food Store I was able to strengthen and expand the store’s relationships with local farmers and manufacturers. Most notably, I worked with several small egg producers in Montana and helped them to create their brands, increase visibility and increase sales. It was rewarding to see their businesses grow. At The Greater Boston Food Bank I am proud to be part of our produce initiative. I’ve been lucky to work with Ann Cote, and others, to increase the amount of produce that GBFB acquires and distributes. Since 2011, GBFB has more than doubled its produce acquisition, and produce now makes up over a quarter of the food GBFB distributes annually. What is the most challenging part of your job and how are you dealing with it? The most challenging part of my job is finding a balance between rescuing food that would otherwise be discarded, and making sure GBFB distributes safe, nutritious food to those in need. This often requires moving quickly, making swift judgments, and developing unique solutions, since each donation is different from the next. What makes your job exciting? What makes my job exciting is the same as what makes it challenging. It’s thrilling to be able to work with the great staff at GBFB, from our transportation team to distribution services, to make sure that edible, nutritious food is redirected to people who need it. It’s exciting to see all GBFB’s moving parts come together to make this happen on a daily basis.
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