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Carrying on a proud tradition

by Bryan Salvage
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Being a part of the meat and poultry industry was meant to be for Justine Giordano. Her great-grandmother sold chickens at the Italian market in Philadelphia. Her grandparents launched Vincent Giordano Prosciutto – and eventually the Vincent Giordano Corporation (VGC), with the help of her father, Guy Giordano, president and CEO of VGC, which processes roast beef, corned beef, pastrami and specialty products.

“I wanted to be a part of that [industry],” says Justine, 28, regional sales manager and director of marketing for Philadelphia-based VGC. Her role also applies to sister-company, SafePac Pasteurization LLC, a co-packing business that offers high-pressure pasteurization (HPP) services.

“Every day is different and challenging; that makes every day more interesting than the last,” she says.

Just starting her fifth year at the company, Justine began as a sales associate and advanced to a regional salesperson and then director of marketing. Wanting to learn as much as possible, she volunteered for special projects with the QA department and offered to help anyone – from the customer service manager to Bruce Belack, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Immersed in the business

Giordano has become HAACP-certified, a certified Safe Quality Food (SQF) practitioner and a certified SQF Internal auditor. She also is the company’s SQF internal auditor.

“I have helped our company embrace the use of technology and initiated the company becoming SQF certified, which we anticipate completing by the end of the year,” she says.

Giordano is passionate about her company’s use of HPP, developing mutually beneficial relationships with customers and offering them safer, fresher, higher-quality products with extended shelf-life.

She enjoys working with family members, understanding her customer’s needs and developing effective ways to solve issues – whether it’s sodium reduction, shelf-life extension or developing products.

Her short-term goal is to sell 1 million lbs. of VGC’s roast beef before her marriage on April 13, 2013. Long-term goals include increasing industry knowledge of HPP and helping USDA to recognize HPP products through a universal symbol or logo.

Giordano is working on an MBA with a concentration in food marketing at Saint Joseph’s Univ. She enjoys painting and volunteering for the Young Variety Club, of which she is a board member. She also enjoys planning fundraising events and working with children with physical and developmental disabilities.

Her major challenge is helping to control VGC’s rate of expansion and growth. Opportunities include expanding into home meal replacement and enhancing private-label sales through all company ventures.

Giordano admires her father because he leads by example and inspires everyone to work harder and smarter. “I am lucky to have him as my mentor. He has been honored with leadership awards from customers and industry leaders, as well as charities he is involved with and his alma mater LaSalle Univ.,” she says.

“Justine has taken on a variety of duties at our company and has become quite a leader,” Guy says.

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