Kent Walrack, President & Chief Operating Officer, Lyons Magnus

Tagged in Board of Directors Leadership Manufacturer Members

Kent has a keen understanding of teamwork and loyalty after spending nearly 30 years working his way up through Lyons Magnus. He takes great pride in being part of a dedicated core management team and cultivating talent throughout the organization. Get to know him.

What is your position/title, in your words? 

My core responsibility is to make sure we have all the right people in the right jobs to make sure we are delivering on the promises that we make to our customers. In addition, we focus on developing products and services that meet the needs of our customers and are superior in quality compared to what our competition offers. We do this by differentiating our products by offering unique processing strategies, packaging options, and high quality raw materials that serve as the foundation for our products.

Please list some of your career highlights. 

I have been with Lyons Magnus for just over 29 years. I started as a District Manager with the company in 1983 and have worked my way through the organization to become President/Chief Operating Officer. We pride ourselves on the team that we have developed at Lyons Magnus as our core management team all have 25 plus years of experience with the company. Another highpoint has been our involvement in the IFMA organization. We have been blessed to have been a member for over 20 years and have made many contacts and learned valuable insights through our association with IFMA. The fact that our company will be represented on the Board at IFMA is an honor for our company.

What was your first job in foodservice? 

My first job in foodservice was when I was 16 and signed up to pick pineapples on the Island of Lanai, Hawaii for the Dole Pineapple Company. After a summer of this experience, I definitely decided that I would rather have a career in selling pineapple rather than picking the fruit!   

What is your advice to a person new to the industry? 

I would encourage any new recruit to get involved in our industry, as it is a very dynamic and challenging industry that will allow any person to use expertise in many different disciplines. Our industry needs to continue to recruit the highest talented individuals so that we can continue to develop strategies that
increase our market share for the consumers' food dollar expenditures. Once involved in our industry the secret is to show up every day ready to learn and keep an open mind on how to solve problems and a bright future will be for the taking!

How does being an IFMA Member benefit you? 

Our membership in IFMA has been a critical strategy to stay connected to the industry and to develop many long-term relationships. As our industry faces new challenges each and every year, it is critical to have the network of other companies in foodservice to communicate with to understand all of the issues. It is also a great opportunity to celebrate our industry by acknowledging the top performing operators and distributors in foodservice through the many IFMA events that allow us to network with customers.

We hear you're an avid golfer. Are there any similarities between the sport and the foodservice industry?  

Golf has been an excellent hobby that has turned into a terrific way to get to meet new people, as the time spent on a golf round with a group of people can never be duplicated in another sport. Many great relationships and memories have developed over the years through participating in golf tournaments in our
industry. One similarity between golf and our industry is that negotiating skills are critical before the game starts! 

What are you looking forward to most as Chairman of the Board in 2013?

We are excited for the 2013 year with IFMA as we have many new Board Members represented on the Board this year, which will give IFMA a great opportunity to collaborate with these new members to continue to develop new ideas and strategies to improve the foodservice industry. Along with the many new members we have an excellent Executive Team that have many years of experience with IFMA so it will be exciting to utilize the resources of our team in our effort to blend new ideas with the proven strategies that we have executed in the past. We will also look to continue to build our membership in 2013 and will continue to increase the participation levels of our existing members in several of our programs we offer. With these objectives, we look forward to an exciting year in 2013 and look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events!


IFMA featured members are selected based on their accomplishments in the food industry. Recognized as leaders, they are the people moving the industry forward with big ideas and even bigger goals. Know someone who fits the bill? Tell us.

Login To Gain Access To This Content
Jun 12

Navy Foodservice Ashore Solutions Conference

This conference is for all on-shore military personnel, affiliates and foodservice professionals including 100+ military, Department of Defense (DOD) and 50 food manufacturers. The event makes up an eclectic group of industry personnel. 

Michael Cannon, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Surlean Foods

Managing the growth and development of the sales, marketing and R&D teams at Surlean Foods is quite the task, but somehow Michael finds time to help shape many of IFMA's programs. His motto, "Don't let 'perfect' get in the way of 'better'" helps him stay on task and continuously seek improvement. Get to know him.

Joe Bybel -- Senior VP, Marketing and R&D, Ventura Foods

Maintaining a strong work ethic and keeping an eye on the details are two key traits needed for success in foodservice, according to Joe Bybel of Ventura Foods. In addition, Joe believes providing simpler and more natural products will continue to be a top priority needed to meet complex consumer demands. Get to know him.

Robert A. Corscadden, VP Marketing & Innovation U.S. Specialty Channels, Kellogg Company

Bob notes that one of the greatest innovations in foodservice over the past decade is reality food shows, which have turned cooking into drama and competition. People are now learning about foods and ingredients they never knew existed and are challenging operators to provide dishes that mirror what they see on TV. Get to know him.

Richard Ferranti, Executive VP and COO, Rich Products

"Why not?" is a simple question that has opened up a world of opportunity for Richard Ferranti. From establishing businesses in emerging markets like China, Brazil and India to leading the North American business for Rich Products, he's a foodservice guru with all the right stuff. Get to know him.

Mads Houlberg, President, Unilever Food Solution

As president of Unilever Food Solutions, Mads Houlberg considers himself the leader of an entrepreneurial team and company. He is passionate about giving foodservice professionals a chance to build their careers. He believes social media is extremely important to the industry. Get to know him.

Ben Shanley, Vice President Distributor Development, Coca-Cola Refreshments USA

If there's one word to describe Ben Shanley it's "optimistic." He has spent 29 years with Coca-Cola reinforcing the brand's mission to refresh the world and inspire moments of optimism. Ben also views the future of foodservice with an optimistic lens, recognizing the industry's importance for U.S. employment and career growth. Get to know him.

Gretchen Sussman, Vice President - Foodservice North America, CSM Bakery Solutions

Gretchen develops and communicates clear and actionable strategies, while also removing barriers to her team's success at CSM Bakery Solutions. Further, she also prioritizes getting to know customers and offering value-added solutions to improve business results. Get to know her.

Mike Villano, VP/GM Foodservice, Basic American Foods

Mike Villano is no stranger to hard work. After getting his start in foodservice managing seafood restaurants in Manhattan, he learned quickly what types of challenges operators face on a daily basis. This foundational knowledge and his "no shortcuts" approach helps him ensure Basic American Foods' customers thrive in the restaurant business. Get to know him.

Rick Kirkpatrick, Vice President, Sweet Street Desserts

As vice president of sales & marketing at Sweet Street Desserts and an active IFMA board member, Rick relies on foodservice industry events and social media to build lasting relationships with foodservice leaders, fellow board members and his customers. Get to know him.

ConAgra Foods Leader William J. Caskey Receives IFMA’s Distinguished Foodservice Executive Award

In tribute to his dedication to the foodservice industry and his service on the IFMA Board of Directors, IFMA awarded William (Bill) J. Caskey of ConAgra Foods with a Distinguished Foodservice Executive Award.