November 11, 2021
In our Celebrating Team Tropical series, we commemorate our employees’ work anniversaries by getting to know them and their role at Tropical better. Meet Mike, our Director of Grocery Sales, who is celebrating 25 YEARS with the company today!
Tell us about your role at Tropical:
I do a little bit of everything, which has been a good fit for me professionally. First and foremost is selling to retail grocery accounts and managing my sales category. There is also a good bit of project management and creative problem solving involved in my day to day role which I really enjoy. I’ve been selling to some food manufacturing customers more recently which is a refreshing variant from my typical customer base.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Working with people and being able to make an immediate impact, whether it be my customers or coworkers, the daily exchange of thoughts and ideas, and working together to accomplish mutually beneficial goals. And I really enjoy the opportunities to work closely with our operational staff in the warehouse or with our bulk customers in the stores. I have found that exposure to both ends of the supplier/customer spectrum give me a unique perspective on my business that not all sales reps have, and allow me to better understand both our capabilities and my customers needs.
What project/success are you most proud of here?
The creation of our original acetate tray program to provide an alternative for one of my grocery accounts who wanted the variety of bulk but without the labor/mess. Starting with that account, it just took off with other retailers and has developed into the cube program we sell today.
What’s your favorite memory from working here?
Claiming victory in the ‘Rumble under the Palms’, and winning the first (and last) Tropical pie eating contest were definitely a couple highlights that have become legendary. But overall it is working side by side with our owners and with my team over the years. Together we been through a lot these last 25 years, but overall I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
What is on your wish list for your next five years here?
To help the company continue to grow, reaching new sales milestones ($100 million in sales perhaps?). It sure would be fun to develop another multi-million dollar mega-customer and it would also be exciting to see brand growth in retail to the point where ReCharge and Buffalo Nuts are household names.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
After 25 years, that’s hard to imagine but I’d probably be involved in the grocery world somewhere, whether in sales or on the retail side, which is how I got started in this business when I was just a teen.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
My father, he’s always been a beacon for me and my go to for advice in life. He’s also where I got my work ethic (he worked 3 jobs, and a lot of nights!).
Tell us something that might surprise us about you:
I rode in a limo with the Tonight Show drummer when I was 12 years old, was supposed to be married to my wife by the Mr. Rogers (had to cancel due to family emergency), and started my sales career selling SPAM.
If they made a movie of your life, who would play you?
Tom Hanks (or Mister Bean if a more comedic role)
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