UniPro CEO and Alumnus Stewart Hosts IUP PGN in Atlanta

Posted on 11/10/2017 11:07:56 AM

Annually, Phi Gamma Nu members travel to a different city to build their network and professional skills, as well as strengthen the bonds with their members. Previous trips have included Nashville, Charlotte, and Chicago. This year, members of PGN Gamma Xi Chapter had the opportunity to take a bus to Atlanta on November 2 through 4 to explore the city, listen to presentations, and attend tours.

Phi Gamma Nu Takes on Atlanta  - November 2 - 4, 2017Upon arrival on Thursday afternoon, members had some free time to enjoy the city however they preferred. Many used this free time as an opportunity to experience staples of Atlanta, such as the World of Coca-Cola Museum, the Georgia Aquarium (the biggest in the world), or some local eateries to try traditional Georgia favorites.

Friday morning began at UniPro Foodservice, Inc. UniPro is the largest food service distribution cooperative in the US, with over 750 distribution locations and $60 billion in collective member annual sales volume. UniPro members serve over 800,000 customers across the United States and internationally, including independent restaurants, multi-unit restaurant chains, healthcare facilities, schools, and convenience stores.   

Members were greeted with a presentation by Bob Stewart ’85, IUP alumni and CEO of UniPro, at the company headquarters in Atlanta.

Stewart spoke extensively about the food service industry and on the steps he made to get to where he is today, the importance of a strong work ethic, and what he believes creates value for a company. He spoke about his time at IUP and growing up in Indiana.

“IUP provides you with the tools you need to get your career jump started, but you have to be committed to work hard and also to take risks,” said Stewart. “Once you get your foot in the door, take the opportunities to learn about difference aspects of the operation. You have to work hard every day to be successful, and, if you do so, you’ll see the fruits of your labor.”

UniPro 2017Dan Costa, president of the IUP PGN Chapter, enjoyed hearing from Stewart. “I really appreciated an alumnus taking time out of their schedule to prepare a presentation for us and to share information about their industry and career path,” said Costa. “We hear very little about the food service industry while we are in school, and it is a $275-billion industry in the US alone.”

Following the UniPro visit, students headed to the DHL Supply Chain office, a leader in contract logistics and supply chain management. Discovering how grocery favorites arrive from the manufacturer to the distributor and finally into our stores enlightened many members on an important process they may not have otherwise considered. The managers who were the tour guides emphasized safety and why it is an integral part of supply chain management. As the members were shown through the warehouse, the company’s history, values, and commitments were talking points throughout the tour.

“Getting a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the logistics of getting products from point A to point B is interesting to because it’s something most consumers don’t even think about while shopping,” said Charlie Brice, PGN brother and junior operations management major. “The safety aspect and OSHA was also intriguing due to my minor in safety science.”

PGN’s annual trip gives members a unique way to get off campus for a weekend and interact with professionals and alumni while exposing themselves to more locations around the United States that may lead to a job opportunity down the road. Year after year, these excursions prove to present PGN members valuable and exciting experiences that are always a highlight of the fall semester.

Eberly College of Business and Information Technology