President and CEO
Maddan & Company, Inc.: San Francisco, CA
Years in Produce:
Married; One son
Hobbies: Jogging; tennis; St. Mary’s college basketball fan; The Olympic Club
Motto in life: All things are possible with effort and time.
Work History: Maddan is the third generation to lead this 71-year old family food brokerage, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He is an under-40 CEO of virtually the last food broker in San Francisco. Maddan started his career in 1996, when he was a junior in high school, calling the independent Food 4 Less Stores and select small chains and wholesalers in the Northern California Market. After graduating from St. Mary’s College of California, he was promoted to account executive. In 2005, he became vice president of sales and in 2013, was named president. In 2015, with the passing of his father, he took over as CEO. He served on the Produce Marketing Association’s Membership Committee from 2013 to 2016, and, in 2017, he was nominated for and began serving on the Dole Fresh Vegetables (Value Added Salads) Broker Advisory Council. Maddan and his company have earned several Broker of the Year awards.
Questions & Answers:
Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry? What attracted you?
My career started by way of our family’s food brokerage. I worked two jobs that summer to save up to buy my first car (a 1988 Chevy Camaro). The first truckload order I sold was Del Monte Orchard Select’s Produce Refrigerated Fruit Jars while working and attending St. Mary’s College in 1999.
Q: Are you a Gen X-er or Millennial?
I’m a Gen X-er. The third born in a family of four, I grew up with two older siblings listening to rock & roll bands like Guns & Roses and Bon Jovi. Getting actual mail from friends and family while in college was the big thing. Email was just getting going.
Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?
Timing plays a big role in creating and sustaining change.
Q: What aspect of the business challenged you the most early on?
Being able to see things from the perspective of our accounts and customers, the awareness of what each was dealing with and the various moving parts took time to understand.
Q: What industry improvements would you like to see?
I would like to see the health benefits of consuming fresh produce communicated more to the consumer.
Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?
Find a mentor within the industry and take the opportunity to meet people though local and national associations, such as the Fresh Produce and Floral Council and the Produce Marketing Association. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from my father and grandfather. I’ve also had the chance to work closely with Ed Odon (advisor to Maddan & Co. and former produce vice president for the Lucky Northern California Division), who has done so much for the produce industry.
Q: What are some of the more challenging aspects of a career in produce today?
The 24/7 nature of the business and how fast things can and do arise. It may be the result of a weather event or other factors as simple as a transportation issue. Also, the importance of being able to understand and to communicate well what is going on so that everyone involved can make adjustments according.
Q: What is the most critical “hot button” issue facing the industry in the next decade?
Labor and Immigration. Technology has created significant savings in the amount of labor needed. However, there are still a large number of crops heavily dependent on the availability of skilled pickers and laborers.