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FONA Memory Book

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FONA Memory Book - Page Text Content

BC: FONA International 2012

FC: Celebrating 25 Years! | Memory Album

1: 1987-2012 The past 25 years have been filled with many FONA family memories. We’re excited to celebrate this milestone by remembering the times we’ve shared together.

6: Cinco de Mayo

12: I joined the FONA Family on October 27, 1997 with a somewhat unconventional background. After graduating college with a Chemistry degree, I worked as an Analytical Chemist for 9 years before getting the “entrepreneurial bug”. I left the lab to become an owner/operator of a beverage vending business with my brother-in-law. In fact, FONA – Northfield was one of our customers and I often made pop and coffee deliveries to the original facility! In ’95, FONA moved to the Carol Stream facility and, being a good vendor, I helped move and set up their vending equipment and supplies. By October of ’97, I had left my vending life behind and had worked as an Operations Manager for a couple of years. Being that I lived in Carol Stream, I decided to inquire about Operations positions at FONA – Carol Stream. Why not? I already knew all about their history and had often visited there. Joe met me on a Saturday morning and unlike previous interviews I had been on, he actually thought my background was a great fit. Chemistry – Small Business Operations – Operations Management makes perfect sense! - Chris Jacobs | I remember seeing Joe at our church, Christ Community about 7 years ago. He and his family were always seated directly across the aisle from me and my family. I did not realize who he was until he was being interviewed on stage by the Sr. Pastor. The Pastor was interviewing him to give the congregation an example of how people can bring Christ and their faith into the workplace. I know it was a great interview and I distinctly remember Joe talking about this new building and how he buried Bibles in the foundation. I thought that was an incredible idea.literally building his business “on” Biblical principles. Right then and there I decided I wanted to work for a man like that. A few weeks later, I introduced myself to him and when the time was right, I was offered a job here. I have been so very blessed by the Slawek family. - Janis Diasio

17: IFT 2010

19: Ice Cream Social

21: I started at FONA twelve years ago this coming June as the Production Manager and with any job change I was of course nervous about the move and the decision. However in the first 30 days of my employment I witnessed a record sales month bonus and the company picnic along with my first QMM. I had only worked a hand full of days in June but still shared in the celebration. All of these events my first month are a testament of FONA's open, inclusive, and generous qualities and Joe and Mary are the heart and soul of these traits which helped remove any doubt about my decision. - Bob Sanza

25: Riverwoods

28: "It was after a QMM and we were at St. Charles Steakhouse for dinner - just the two of us. As John sits down, he says 'I'm really not very hungry so I'm not going to order a big steak.' With that, the waitress comes over and he orders a King Kut! Looks like a Brontosaurus steak! I immediately emailed the photo all over the countryside. - Dave Salinas

29: “I have nothing but great memories of FONA over the last twenty plus years that I’ve been around the company. I can remember going to visit TJ over at Northfield when I was a kid and always thinking how cool it would be to work there one day. But truly one of the best memories I have of FONA is when I was around 10 years old and I got to go the Willy Wonka factory and actually see how Nerds were made! It was a supplier/family appreciation day and the Wonka factory was throwing a party for their employees' families and close business partners. There was a cookout, games and most importantly, candy! All types of candy, Nerds, Runts, Laffy Taffy, Bottle Caps, Baby Ruth, Butterfingers. Everything a kid could possibly ask for. But the best part of that entire day was going on the tour and seeing how the candy was made. For a kid, it was an amazing thing to see. It was one of the most memorable days of my childhood. Now I look at where FONA is today and I can’t believe how we’ve grown. We have a world class facility, extraordinary employees and partnerships with the largest food and beverages companies in the world. And while these last 25 years of FONA have been great, I know that the next 25 will be even better!!!” -Art Becker

35: My first day at FONA..March 20, 2008. The first day I started at FONA, of course I was a little nervous and excited! I started on a day of an Employee meeting which means.you asked me to be at work at what time?! 7AM it is, then! I remember walking through the front door and waiting at the reception desk for just a moment or two. While I was waiting, Joe Slawek unexpectedly walked by and introduced himself. From there I was invited to join the employee breakfast before the employee meeting. Just by chance, within the first 5 minutes of actually working at FONA, I had met our CEO. Within minutes I was eating breakfast at the employee breakfast with Barb and Joe. What a way to start off a first day! It’s this type of culture that always pleasantly surprises my friends and family when I speak of FONA. It is a culture that welcomes new employees at every level and gets to know them as people so that they can be excellent. This is the type of culture where I know my best work will always be in front of me. How could it not be with co-workers at all levels that treat you like a friend from the first day you enter their doors? What a fun way to start a career at FONA! Eggs and bacon with the Joe and Barb! - Mia Piorkowski

38: Viva Geneva! | I remember shortly after I started at Flavors Of North America, I was in charge of Sample Services and selections. We had gone from 2 sales reps to 12 and the selection process had evolved from a paper list to queries in Salesforce and Product Vision. Along the way we had changed our location and our name. We have seen a lot of new faces, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to service to the customer. -Walter

39: “Back in 2001 & 2004 Joe & TJ and I had discussed what I thought about coming over to work for FONA from my previous employer. We met at various times, with Joe explaining that the journey at FONA would be the ride of my life. Joe had a vision to grow the company to become the largest privately held flavor company in North America with expectations to grow 2x4. In March of 2004 I came to my senses, called Joe and was offered a job. I felt this would be a challenge of a lifetime, so I joined the FONA team. In the 8 years I have been at FONA, we have achieved our goals pretty much YTD and continue growing at the 2x4 rate. I remember coming aboard and I had to have a budget, so I worked with TJ who was involved in every aspect of the company back then. I said I would deliver no less than $250K in NNB within 8 months. He chuckled and said that is a pretty lofty goal and he advised while transitioning I should be a little more cautious. My territory was all over the place across the country. Well, I hit that NNB budget goal and have never looked back. It has been a fantastic ride and hope the train never stops. The culture and people were a perfect fit for me to grow as a person and salesman. We are a great company and sure am glad I came to my senses.” -Michael Patschorke | Before I EVEN started to work at FONA, Joe invited me to come to the July QMM and bring my family. What a generous offer! Can you believe a company would be comfortable enough to allow that?? Well, when I relayed that news to my family, they were so excited, my daughters started to organize what they were going to wear and they kept saying “you are going to take the job Dad, right?”. We went, had a great time, toured FONA, won some prizes and got to watch fireworks downtown. It was a magical weekend for all of the Salinas’- and I am glad I took the job.. -Dave Salinas

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