One would imagine quite an adjustment shifting industries from sporting goods to fresh fruits and vegetables. “For the past 12 years, I’ve been with C.H. Robinson as operations manager/shipper and receiving. Prior to that I was in distribution for Sports Authority for many years, so I’ve been in distribution for about 22 years,” says Matteo.
“The daily operational component is the same in terms of constantly moving product, but fresh produce is obviously a unique challenge and a big change. It’s a change I’m glad I made. I like the produce business, and I like the products. Plus, C.H. Robinson is a great outfit to work for with a nice atmosphere.
“You’ve got to keep the cold chain going. There are many obstacles to overcome because of the perishability and deadlines you must meet with customer deliveries. And every day it’s a different challenge, depending on the volumes, the availability… everything coming in and out of the building in a timely fashion, so we can satisfy customer needs.
Matteo says he enjoys reading PRODUCE BUSINESS. “You cover a lot of suppliers and different product developments, such as the new recyclable packaging that vendors are using to be more environmentally friendly, getting away from plastic clamshells. Whatever changes or trends are happening in the industry, you’ll find them in Produce Business.”
One of the big trends Matteo mentions is the growing organic business. “It’s really boomed in the past few years. Everybody’s looking for organic product over the conventional type. So, that has really expanded dramatically.”
On a personal note, Matteo has been married 35 years, and has five children, and six grandchildren. “They’re a highlight for me for sure, and they all live close by,” he says. “I’m a huge sports fan of the Philadelphia Flyers and the Eagles, as all my boys are, which is really cool.”
While his Sports Authority days are not lost, Matteo certainly found a winning hand in the produce industry.
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