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Lance Stier, C’04

President, Nassau Candy

Hicksville, NY

Philosophy, Politics and Economics Major

I think I always knew that I was going to go into the consumer and food businesses broadly, and having grown up the son of an entrepreneur, I always knew that I wanted to build something. We have 1,000 total employees and I’m running a business across multiple regions, so it’s hand-to-hand combat all day long.

In 2013, we had Hurricane Sandy come through our Freeport facility. We had millions of dollars worth of inventory on the floor ready to go to ship to our customers. And then six feet of saltwater came into our plant… What happened then, though, was one of the coolest things ever.

In 2013, we had Hurricane Sandy come through our Freeport facility. We had millions of dollars worth of inventory on the floor ready to go to ship to our customers. And then six feet of saltwater came into our plant. I saw our chocolate floating in the parking lot. The facility was dark. The machines were inoperable. What happened then, though, was one of the coolest things ever. I called my head of facilities. I called the president of the group who was reporting to me at the time, who still reports to me. I called my head of production and my head of sales. And I said, “Here’s the game plan. One person is going to be on point on the equipment. One person is going to be on point on inventory. One guy is going to be on point on calling the customers, and one is going to be on point for facility cleanup.” So we put our heads down, and in 19 days, we were able to take a facility that had no inventory, no operating equipment, no nothing, and get it fully live. Now that company is about 10 times the size that it was when that issue happened. And I think that part of the reason is because we learned what it means to go through the craziest and worst situation, and we’ve come out the other side a better, stronger team.

Life’s a marathon, not a sprint, and business building is day by day, piece by piece. When you’re sitting in college and you hear about these great stories, about these guys building these awesome companies, you think it happens overnight. It doesn’t. It happens piece by piece, day by day. — October 3, 2018 • Photo by Brooke Sietinsons

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