Class of 2023
To David Shaffer, good health requires individuals take care of themselves, and a healthy industry requires individuals take care of it. Following in his family’s footsteps, he has strived to be an active participant in the confectionery industry.
David was born on December 4, 1953, in Allentown, PA, to Jack and Cecile. He recalls that his parents taught him, his brother and sister the Jewish value of tzedakah, an obligation to give one’s time, talent and treasure to improve the community and the world.
Growing up in the industry representing the second generation and following in the footsteps of his father and uncle, both Candy Hall of Fame Inductees, David was five when he attended his first candy show.
He graduated from Liberty High School, in Bethlehem, PA, in 1971 and after earning an associate degree in business from Northampton Community College in 1976, David went on to receive a finance degree from Penn State University in 1978.
He married Sue in 1980 at the Bethlehem home they were renting at the time. They have two children, Samantha and Joshua.
David’s entire candy career has been spent in his family business, Just Born, Inc. He began working summers when he was just nine years old shoveling coal into the boilers. By the time he started working full time for the company in January of 1972, he had experienced every job in both the factory and the office.
He started out as a sales manager for one of the company’s divisions, The Maillard Corp. From January 1974 through May 1976, he worked as the assistant to the controller before he joined his cousin and Candy Hall of Fame member Ross Born in June of 1978 as a vice-president. In 1992, they became co-presidents, serving in that capacity until 2004. From 2004 they served as co-CEOs until Ross retired in 2022.
David added the role of board chairman in 2017 and remains in that position today as well as co-CEO alongside his son-in-law Gardner “Chip” Jett. He also works with his daughter Samantha, who represents the third generation.
Active in the industry, David served as a member of the NCWA Young Executives Group Board of Directors and was president from 1990 until 1991. He has also been a member of the PMCA board and is a current member of the NCSA Manufacturers Advisory Council, serving as chairman from 2015 through 2018.
He is the 1998 recipient of the AWMA Dean of the Industry Award for significant and sustained contributions to the industry, and in 2001 he was given the NCA Silver Candy Dish for significant contributions to selling candy.
Outside of the industry, David has been active in a variety of organizations including the United Way Board of Trustees, co-chairing the Second Harvest Food Bank Capital Campaign and serving as a member of the St. Luke’s University Health Network board of directors. He is a lifelong member of Congregation Brith Sholom.
When asked who has had the greatest impact on his career, David is quick to mention his dad, a 1980 Candy Hall of Fame inductee. He says he was always in awe of how many people his father knew and he has done his best to emulate him by cultivating his own strong relationships.
David has his pilot’s license and enjoys spending time outside of the office flying his plane, playing golf and spending time with his five grandkids.