Face-to-Face: Meet Diane Dawson
Ever wonder if anyone else is facing the same professional challenges as you? Or just looking to connect with some new people in your field? In IFT's Face-to-Face series, we will be introducing you to a different IFT member every month with a fun, insightful Q&A session.
This month meet...
Diane Dawson, President & Owner of Dawson Sales Co.
- How did you get your start in the food industry?
Dawson Sales was founded by my father, Jim Dawson, in 1954. My parents asked me to come back to Chicago to fill in for my father when he was on a medical leave in 1982. I was working at IBM in New Jersey at the time. I loved IBM, but my family tie was stronger and I never looked back.
- What do you love about your job?
I love taking care of customers and their needs. I love my customers. They keep me passionate about what I do.
- What is the biggest challenge that you face in your job?
I am blessed with suppliers who are leaders in their industries, some being the innovators of a technology. For example, Henningsen Foods pioneered spray drying eggs. Another is Sun-Maid, global leaders and innovators in raisins. Both organizations are over 100 years old for a reason. My challenge is to communicate to my customers why the ingredients Dawson Sales offers are the best and deliver benefits well beyond the price. I don't think a buyer ever just buys based on price. Price is a very crucial parameter, but a buying decision is based on things like product quality, food safety, and service. It is never just about price. My challenge is to convince customers that there is a premium for quality and over the long run they save by buying the best.
- What have you learned or been exposed to in the past 12 months that has helped you in your job?
I recently had to deal with a real estate broker in the sale of a family property and I was so disappointed with their level of service. As a customer I was very frustrated and disappointed. That bad experience reminded me how important it is for a middleman to establish and maintain the highest level of ethical standards and professional communication when facilitating business between buyer and seller. I want to make sure that none of Dawson Sales customers ever feel the way I felt during this real estate transaction.
- How do you see the food industry evolving over the coming year?
Health and wellness issues will continue to impact the food industry. Future generations will be better educated and will make more healthy food choices and will pay the premium for healthy, safe food. Consumer packaged goods companies will adjust and will fill those consumer needs. There's always a bright future for the food industry because it is made of people who really care.
- Fun Fact: What’s your favorite food?
My favorite food? That's a tough one! I love to eat! I guess it would have to be Mom's meatloaf.
If you are an IFT member and wish to be profiled, please contact Kelly Hensel at email@example.com or 312-604-0211.