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John Vena Inc. taps industry veteran for sales leadership role

Specialty produce wholesale distributor John Vena Inc. has tapped produce industry veteran Joe Killian for a new role focused on business development. Prior to joining John Vena Inc., Killian worked as director of operations at a leading foodservice distributor in Philadelphia.Joe-Killian-2018-JPG-1

In his role at John Vena Inc., Killian will be a driving force behind the company’s retail growth strategy and oversee business development efforts in the grocery sector with a focus on regional independent banners. “We’re excited to have someone like Joe on board to strengthen our team and bolster our ability to cover new territory,” said Dan Vena, director of sales. “His depth of produce experience makes him a real asset not only to our team, but to our customers as well.”

Killian’s experience in the produce industry runs deep. He owned and operated a produce distribution business in the Delaware Valley for more than a decade, growing the organization from a single-truck enterprise into a highly successful business with a 10,000-square-foot distribution center and a seven-vehicle fleet. He also spent 10 years in sales with J. Ambrogi Foods developing and managing the Philadelphia region. Most recently, Killian addressed core operational challenges as director of operations at FarmArt Produce, a successful foodservice distribution company also serving the Philadelphia metro area.

“It’s great to be joining the ranks at a forward-thinking produce company with 100 years of history behind them,” said Killian. “I’m excited to work with such a talented and experienced team of professionals who have a genuine passion for produce and customer service — and who aren’t afraid to try new things.”

With decades of experience handling fresh produce in the region, Killian’s transition is expected to be swift and efficient — quickened by his eagerness to get back out in the field. “My time as an entrepreneur and manager has been valuable, but I most enjoy the strong business-to-business relationship aspect of this industry," he said. "Being in constant communication with customers and potential clients means the opportunity to help navigate a wide variety of challenges and situations, from merchandising to inventory management to pricing strategy. There’s always a new puzzle to solve — it’s exciting and rewarding.”

Before entering the fresh produce industry, Killian cut his teeth in foodservice management. He holds a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management from Widener University. Killian lives in Delaware County, PA, with his family.