Sam Okun Produce Co., Toledo, Ohio, has received certification from the Women Business Enterprise National Council, said president Shelly Okun.
WBENC certification ensures that a business is majority owned by a woman and is controlled, operated and managed by a woman or women. To receive certification, women-owned businesses must complete a formal document and a site visit. Certification gives women-owned businesses the ability to compete for real-time business opportunities provided by WBENC Corporate Members and government agencies.
Shelly Okun has been the majority owner of her family’s 100-year-old company for five years.
In other news, Kenny Smith has been promoted from buyer to general manager. Okun said Smith started with the company as a truck driver nearly 30 years ago.
“Kenny has always been extremely self-motivated and took extra responsibilities like truck maintenance and warehouse maintenance upon himself simply because ‘it needed to be done,’” she said. “About three years ago, it became apparent to us that he had a great deal of talent that was being underutilized. At that time, we asked him to become one of our buyers. Because he can’t be idle, he began managing our trucks, and because he is so invested in Okun Produce he started becoming more involved in every aspect of the business. We realized that he had already become the general manager — he just needed the title.”
Okun also hired Mike Crots this fall in the new position of operations manager. Okun said that move was prompted because her cousin, Neil Bornstein, is retiring at the end of the year after 30 years with the company.
“With technology advances, like online ordering, tablets for our delivery drivers, tablets for receiving produce at our warehouse, as well as sales growth over the last 12 to 18 months, we simply needed another person to help manage the operation side of what we all know is a nearly 24/7 operation,” she said.
Okun also promoted Nicholas Adams to the new position of shipping and receiving manager. Adams had been a driver for the company for nearly a decade.
“He is a young man who is always looking for a way to better himself and his family,” Okun said. “He has never wanted to remain a truck driver, and with each ‘growth spurt’ at Okun Produce, he has looked for more responsibility. We have always had an Okun man running the back end until now, so now that our family is ending with me, we find ourselves in the position to hire/promote.”