Picture of Dan Gray

Dan Gray

Class of 2014

Dan Gray was born March 17, 1952, to Corinne and Robert, in Pittsburgh, where he grew up with siblings Darryl, Diane and Robert.

He says his career in candy began with him answering phones at his father’s brokerage’s home office at the age of 10. Dan graduated from Mt. Lebanon H. S. in 1970 and went on to earn an associate’s degree in business management and marketing in 1973.

A year before finishing his studies, Dan married Cindy at Mt. Lebanon Christian Church in Pittsburgh. Together they have two children: Colin Wesley and Casey Corinne.

He notes the industry was in his blood, as his grandfather also worked in the brokerage community, adding: “I feel an obligation to give back to the industry that has taken care of our family for almost 90 years.”

Dan officially began his career in the business in 1973 as a retail sales/sales manager for Don Irwin Brokerage. He went on to work for Kaye & Silver Brokerage as account executive/ division manager in 1977 before moving on to vice-president of confections and partner in Polens, Martin and Joyce in 1990.

Four years later he became director of confections, northeast, for Acosta Sales & Marketing, a position he held until 2002, when he joined PLB Brokerage Co. as executive vice-president and partner. In 2012, PLB merged with E.A. Berg Associates, and Dan is currently a regional vice-president.

Dan was a member of the Pittsburgh Candy Club from 1975 to 1990, serving as president in 1985 and on its board of directors between 1986 and 1990. He has also sat on various committees of the Pittsburgh Association of Manufacturers Representatives and served on broker advisory boards for many of the industry’s top suppliers, including The Hershey Co., Just Born, Inc. and The Topps Co., Inc.

His industry honors include National Broker of the Year awards from Just Born in 2004, Kidsmania in 2007, Kraft Foods in 2011 and Lindt & Sprüngli USA, Inc. in 2012.

If Dan has a career regret, he says it is not realizing how important the mentors in his life were, including 1993 Candy Hall of Famer Eddie Katovsky, Sherri Carr and Ray Smaltz. Becoming a mentor and advisor to industry newcomers is among his major accomplishments, Dan says.

An avid gardener, he also enjoys golfing, spending time with his family and being active in his community.