JOB TITLE: Vice president, Granny’s Pie Factory in East Hartford, Connecticut
FAVORITE TRINITY MEMORY: The first three days back to school junior year—I had adjusted fully to being on campus and made some great friends I had known for a little while at that point. It also was before classes started, so there was no stress and nothing to do but hang out. It was just so great to see everyone and to be back on campus after the summer.
What is Granny’s Pie Factory, and what are your main responsibilities there? Granny’s Pie Factory is a wholesale bakery that manufactures more than 50 varieties of fruit and cream pies. My main responsibilities are running day-to-day operations and finances as well as doing business planning and completing the associated long-term projects. We have approximately 10 employees divided between our production and office staff. We also have a few part-time salespeople who do farmers’ markets for us.
Who is Granny, and why is the company named for her? There is no Granny! Granny was a marketing creation for my father and uncle’s first company, and we have brought her along with us ever since.
What do you enjoy most about your work? The ability to be creative and to problem solve. I also enjoy the challenge. I regularly feel that I am at the limit of my expertise, intelligence, and work ethic, and I like that. I think if I were doing something that I found easy, I would enjoy it for a few months and then get bored and, soon after, depressed. The constant challenge keeps me sharp, and it is a good motivator to try to improve myself as much as I can.
What is the best seller? And what is your favorite? My favorite is pecan. It is basically candy, and I love sugar. The best seller is apple, followed by chocolate cream. It’s always the classics that sell the best, and my favorite products in most areas are classic, simple items executed very well. That is also what we strive for.
How did your time at Trinity prepare you for what you do now? There are a few things. The first is social skills. The time interacting with my peers and professors allowed me to develop my social skills so that I am better at developing a rapport with people, whether they be employees or customers. The time at Trinity really gave me the opportunity and motivation to practice these skills. The second thing is writing skills. The ability to express myself clearly in writing has been helpful in ordinary tasks, such as writing simple correspondences like emails and letters. More importantly, though, are the thinking skills that underlie the writing, which leads me to the third thing: the ability to organize my thoughts. This is how I think about what we always called “making an argument.” I have come to believe that this is simply the ability to develop an opinion on a matter, to take the time to understand the reasons behind this opinion, and then to present these reasons clearly. This has helped me in many ways, including the ability to journal problems as a way to get organized and the ability to conceptualize my plans to move the company forward. It is essentially a framework to help me use my own mind.
Was there a professor who was particularly influential? If so, who was it, and why? The most influential professor I had was [Associate Professor of History] Sean Cocco. In talking with Sean, I learned that he would actively try to sell his students on why the concepts we were studying were important.