Looking Back: Lou Gentine

What has changed in the dairy industry in recent years? Whether you are looking at the dairy industry, or other product or service industries, there are some common threads that businesses today must take into account in order to be successful and maintain viability in the marketplace.
I believe that advances in technology, changes in lifestyles, consumer expectations and our willingness to address these and so many other factors that influence consumer purchase behavior are key to our continued longevity.
At Sargento, we have always believed that will be achieved by those that innovate. Innovation in products in the form of quality, taste, and convenience, of course, come to mind. But it goes well beyond that with supply chain management, production techniques, financing, information technology and human resource management. It also requires a clear and consistent vision and the corporate and personal ethics needed to form an unbreakable trust with all stakeholders — stockholders, employees, suppliers, customers and the communities where we do business  — in order to achieve the “buy-in” to get the job done.
I will always give credit first to my dad who started the company 50-plus years ago. His mantra was always the same: “Hire good people and treat them like family.” Although clearly targeted at employees, it is indeed advice that fits extremely well with all of our stakeholders! We are proud of the Sargento family and confident that we will continue to enjoy the competition and the ever-changing nature of the cheese industry well into the future.
Lou Gentine is chairman and chief executive officer of Sargento Foods Inc., founded by his father in 1953.