Nate Stone, chief operating officer for Ben B. Schwartz & Sons Inc., located on the Detroit Terminal Market, said the company has outstanding leadership, and that the upbeat staff members share a great relationship. Everyone under the Ben B. Schwartz & Sons’ roof has a positive attitude about the firm and what their role in it is.
“The combination makes for an outstanding company,” said Mr. Stone. “Our business is strong and we just keep growing. We all face hard work and a lot of responsibility, but we smile every day. The difference between us and other companies is that we get results amidst the positive and upbeat attitudes here.”
Chris Billmeyer, the company’s president and chief executive officer, is the third generation to own and operate the company. His son, Jake Billmeyer, joined the company in 2009, and he is working in numerous capacities to learn about every function of the business.
“Chris doesn’t seem to tire, and I hardly remember a week that he hasn’t worked seven days,” said Mr. Stone. “He has always been highly motivated, and it seems that he’s even more motivated since Jake joined the company in 2009.”
Jake Billmeyer is joined in the younger generation at Ben B. Schwartz by Mr. Stone’s son, Kyle, who is involved in food safety, traceability and company operations. Kyle is a 2012 PMA Foundation Emerging Leader’s Program graduate. He served on the 2012 PMA Fresh Summit committee, and he will serve on the committee again for the 2013 expo. Also in the new generation is Armond Lombardi, son of Matthew Lombardi, sales and buying representative for the company.
Mr. Stone said that Jake Billmeyer is taking a proactive hands-on approach in the business. He joined the company full time following his graduation from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
“Jake is a natural,” said Mr. Stone. “He’s as motivated as his father, and that helps to inspire the other young people we have on our staff today. Having him here with Chris adds another dimension to our business. When Jake joined the company full time, he hit the ground running. His own personal success here is way beyond his years. I don’t know if it’s genetic or osmosis or the moon’s rotation, but whatever it is it’s working and it’s rubbing off on everyone around him. As a company, we were doing well and evolving before he came on board, but there is a distinct difference in our growth since he has been here.”
Mr. Stone added that he has been around some bright and motivated produce people during his career, but he said that Jake Billmeyer is exceptional. He is hands-on and working hard, and has raised the level of productivity in the firm.
“And Jake is not waiting for anyone, not even his dad,” he said. “Chris is going to have to stay in shape to keep up with him. I’ve seen a lot of people in this industry and I know what special, extra special and incredible looks like, and Jake is incredible.”
He noted that the younger generation has a capacity that the previous generation did not even realize was possible, and that being around them is as fun to watch as it is to partake.
“Now that I’m turning 59, it’s a sheer pleasure for me because it’s making my remaining years in this business a wonderful experience, especially as I watch these young people propel the company into the future,” he said.
The growth at Ben B. Schwartz has caused the company to stretch the use of its space in every way possible in order to keep up with the growing demand.
“Expansion is definitely on our radar, and we cannot help it,” said Mr. Stone. “We are receiving increased requests to service people on a daily basis. It continues to be a fulfilling time at Ben B. Schwartz.”