LiDestri's Management Team
LiDestri's executive team, like the company, is a mix of old and new: people who have dedicated themselves to the company for decades and newer faces brought on for their deep experience with divisions and product lines that are new to LiDestri.
Giovanni "John" LiDestriChief Executive Officer
CEO Giovanni "John" LiDestri is an example to the 1000-plus employees he leads of how hard work, dedication and loyalty pay off. A first-generation immigrant from Tusa, Sicily, he started working as a bottle washer in a Ragu Foods pasta sauce facility, quickly rising through the ranks.
In 1976, John was recruited to be general manager of Cantisano Foods by owner Ralph Cantisano. In 1991, he became company president and in 1997, the CEO. Five years later, John bought all remaining shares of the business from the Cantisano family and changed the company name to LiDestri Foods. John has always believed in the power of hiring creative people and giving them "a long runway" to manifest their dreams. He believes, because he knows it from personal experience, that some of the best ideas bubble up from the bottom. John lives in Rochester, NY, with his wife, Dr. Cynthia Reddeck-LiDestri, who plays a key role in LiDestri’s wellness program. They have three grown children: John Jr., Stefani and Dylan. When he is not in the office, John is out riding his Harley motorcycle or swinging a golf club.
Stefani LiDestriCo-President and Chief Marketing Officer
Stefani LiDestri is co-president of the company alongside her brother, John, overseeing marketing, human resources, R&D and IT. Since taking a more active role in the company over the past seven years, Stefani has worked with her father Giovanni, LiDestri’s CEO, to modernize systems and practices of a company that continues to grow based on a reputation for quality and customer service.
Stefani is deeply creative, which helps her innovate and communicate across multiple industries, channels and disciplines. Stefani is instrumental not only in running the company, but also in directing its partnerships with charitable causes. Stefani is co-chair of one of the most successful fundraising events for Paul Newman’s The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, which provides year-round services to children, families and siblings who are coping with serious illnesses. Stefani also serves as the co-chair of the annual Big Apple Bash in New York City, one of the charity’s most successful fundraising events. Stefani and husband Rob Szgeda’s family includes their toddler daughter, infant son and Szgeda’s teen daughter, who lives in Atlanta, GA.
John C. LiDestriCo-President of Sales and Supply Chain
John C. LiDestri is co-president of LiDestri, alongside with his sister, Stefani LiDestri, overseeing both Sales and Supply Chain. He has a lifetime of experience in ingredient sourcing on behalf of some of the country’s largest and most dynamic food and beverage manufacturers.
A partner for the past 16 years at National Cortina, he brings that experience back home to LiDestri in his new role of co-president in charge of sales and supply chain management. John has long known the value of building strong partnerships both with suppliers as well as customers, an approach that fits seamlessly with LiDestri’s culture. As the company develops an increasingly innovative portfolio across food, beverage and spirits, he looks forward to building new supplier relationships while nurturing existing ones that go back decades. John is a world traveler at heart, and enjoys vacationing with his kids when they aren’t out biking together or spending time at their beach house in Asbury Park, NJ.
Jennifer Amodeo ShepkerDirector of Finance
Director of Finance, Jen Amodeo Shepker, is an astute and collaborative leader who provides the company’s senior team timely and accurate financial statements along with ongoing cash flow projections. She also has oversight of accounting and finance operations, global risk management, plus the critical role of design and maintenance of the financial reporting structures.
Jen began her career in public accounting at Deloitte in 2004 after completing her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Rochester Institute of Technology and earned her CPA in 2009. She joined LiDestri in 2010 as the financial reporting supervisor, was promoted to Assistant Controller in 2011, Corporate Controller in 2013, and Director of Finance in 2015. Born and raised in a small-town community south of Buffalo, Jen enjoys spending her “free time” outdoors in the country with her husband, toddler son, baby daughter. She is also passionate about giving back, helping to bring awareness to the charity The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp both within and outside of LiDestri.
Tony BashVice President of Retail & Proprietary Brands, Food & Beverage
Tony Bash was recently promoted to lead LiDestri's sales force in both Food and Beverage, marshaling a strategy he helped develop, called "carrying the LiDestri sales bag." Our newly restructured sales force ensure that our retail partners have a single LiDestri contact point at their disposal: knowledgeable about all categories, and with a more holistic view of each store's product assortment.
Prior to his current position, Bash was Vice President for Beverage Sales, managing LiDestri's emerging beverage categories nationally and internationally. With more than 23 years of experience in sales and marketing in a variety of industries, Tony was recruited in 2014 to help shepherd LiDestri’s newest division at a time of great innovation and change in the U.S. beverage industry. Since the 2011 founding, LiDestri's beverage division has developed with a focus on consumer demand growth areas. Under Tony’s leadership, the company has invested in processing and packaging that supports the booming healthy and natural segment. Working with LiDestri’s executive team, Tony leverages beverage as a catalyst for the company’s diversification and growth. Based in West Linn, a suburb of Portland, OR, Tony thoroughly enjoys opportunities to travel on behalf of LiDestri, particularly when they enable his lifelong passion for surfing.
Laurie CardilloVP, Product Innovation & Management, Food and Drink
Laurie joined LiDestri two years ago and currently leads the Product Management and the R&D teams for food, beverages and spirits. These teams are responsible for identifying market trends that can become new brand and product opportunities for LiDestri to capitalize on its nimbleness, creativity and ability to develop and manufacture products.
Laurie’s team leads all parts of the organization in taking products from the concept stage to market and then tracks product performance in meeting customer needs and the company’s earnings goals.
Prior to joining LiDestri, Laurie spent 27 years in the packaging and petrochemical businesses of ExxonMobil Chemical, where she held various leadership positions in Global Marketing, Sales Management, Technology Management and Planning. A Rochester, NY-native, Laurie, her husband, and their three college and high school aged children enjoy spending summertime in the Finger Lakes. They also enjoy college football and cheering on Penn State.
Frank CavallaroVice President of New Business Development & HPP
As Vice President of New Business Development & HPP at LiDestri Food and Beverage, Frank oversees product development, regulatory compliance and product data management for the entire portfolio. He’s spent his entire career at LiDestri and is an excellent example of the company’s opportunity-for-advancement philosophy.
In 1993, Frank started on the production line, worked his way up to mixing spices, then became head cook, moved to quality assurance, and since 2002, he has been in R&D. Frank loves putting his decades of experience and knowledge to work helping customers find optimal solutions that drive success. He also enjoys making matches between customers and supplier partners who are key to LiDestri’s success. Many of Frank’s family members were born in Italy, and he credits his mother’s cooking for his love of food and a desire to bring great-tasting products to everyone. Frank is a Buffalo Bills fan and enjoys taking his high-school-sweetheart wife out on the town to try new restaurants, when they aren't at home cooking for their two middle-school-aged daughters.
Tony CiullaVice President of Contract Packing & Special Projects
As Vice President of Contract Packing & Special Projects for LiDestri, Tony Ciulla combines his expertise in manufacturing with decades of customer relationship building to cultivate new and vital business.
Tony's mission is to serve as an agent of progression — someone who notices what needs to be done, and makes it happen in the most efficient and cost-effective way, striking an artful balance between tradition and innovation. This mindset fueled his climb from the production line in 1984 all the way to the upper echelons of the company's management. Off the clock, Tony spends quality time with his wife Lisa working on household projects, with his son David driving to car shows, and chanting his daughter Samantha’s name from the bleachers at soccer games.
Tom GalantiVice President of Supply Chain
As Vice President of Supply Chain at LiDestri Food and Beverage, Tom Galanti is an expert in supply chain high performance business processes and practices. Tom is experienced in nearly all aspects of supply operations, materials management, purchasing, production planning, inventory management, logistics, applied business systems and integrated business process management.
He has demonstrated leadership and innovation with the application of I.T. and redesigned business processes. He led in the establishment of the materials management function, supply logistics and adoption of integrated supply chain business process in manufacturing.
John MatrachisiaChief Information Officer
As Chief Information Officer at LiDestri Food and Beverage, John Matrachisia is working to create a responsive I.T. organization that aligns technology initiatives with the company’s business goals. John is a recognized technology leader with strategic vision, whose personal skill set blends executive acumen with teambuilding and I.T. solution development and improvements.
Prior to joining LiDestri in 2014, John served as a CIO for other executive teams, and he has more than 14 years of experience in the consumer products manufacturing space. Outside of work, John spends his time skiing, volunteering, boating and golfing—usually accompanied by his wife and four children.
Sarah MillerDirector of Human Resources
Sarah Miller co-leads Human Resources as Director of Human Resources at LiDestri alongside Rob Szegda, Captain of HR Innovation. Sarah is a hands-on HR practitioner who believes that partnering with internal leaders is the critical step that can drive the LiDestri values through the organization and results in a high performance culture.
Her business mindedness adds great value and focus to aligning and deploying our strategic goals through the business, enabling the achievement of our strategic goals. Sarah is responsible for the implementation of HR services, policies, processes and programs across all of LiDestri’s facilities, to support the organization in meeting its corporate objectives.
A 20 year veteran in Human Resources; Sarah joined LiDestri in 2015 after working for SentrySafe as their Director of Human Resources. She is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst as well as trained in the Lominger International leadership competency model. She has a Leadership Coaching Certificate through the Warner School of Education, University of Rochester and McArdle Ramerman Center. Sarah lives in Victor, NY with her husband Keith and their two children. She spends the majority of her time away from work in ice rinks as a "hockey mom".
Joe RagazzoVice President of Retail & Proprietary Brands, Spirits
Joe Ragazzo joined LiDestri Food and Beverage in 2015 and is directing and re-positioning the division for growth and diversification on a number of fronts. While LiDestri has become a player in the retail brand spirits arena, Joe believes it can do more.
LiDestri aims to help retailers and national brands reach more consumers through innovation in flavor and spirit type. Prior to joining LiDestri, Joe spent a remarkable 20-year career with the well-respected Brown-Forman Corporation, where he led domestic and international sales efforts, shepherding brands such as Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Herradura and Finlandia. As is fitting for an executive in the U.S. spirits business, Joe calls the Louisville, KY, area home. Born and raised on a small farm in Wilmington, DE, Joe is passionate about outdoor activities, motorsports and the stock market. He enjoys spending time with his wife and their close friends as well as his five adult children.
Phil VirusoVice President of Manufacturing
Vice President of Manufacturing Phil Viruso oversees the operations of each LiDestri manufacturing plant. During more than 20 years as an entrepreneur and business owner, Phil grew his own company and then sold it. In 2014, he joined LiDestri Food and Beverage and has been instrumental in establishing a new division and strategic development plan for the company’s real estate development.
He focuses on working with employees to improve the company’s dynamic team. Phil brings his passion for the training and education of the workforce to the core of his mission. His other priority is directing LiDestri’s strategic manufacturing plan, ensuring the company remains competitive with unsurpassed quality while providing innovative manufacturing capabilities to customers. Outside of work, Phil is a multi-disciplined martial artist and an avid downhill skier. He also enjoys travel and camping trips to the Adirondacks with his wife and children.