Gene L. Panek
Class of 2001
A 25-year veteran of the retail business, Gene was born October 21, 1946, in Salt Lake City. He graduated from East High School and attended the University of Utah, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in sales and business management.
Gene and his wife, Charlyn, were married in 1965 and they have two sons – Michael and Tyler – and five grandchildren.
In October 1969, Gene began his professional career as a buyer at Associated Grocers Inc. In 1976, he joined Mancini Brokerage as sales representative and served as account executive for Performance Systems Brokerage’s confectionery department and Ralph Davey Brokerage. In 1997, he joined American Licorice Co. as western regional sales manager. At the time of his induction, he was western regional sales manger for The Promotion In Motion Cos. Inc.
No stranger to industry accolades, Gene was named a National Candy Wholesalers Association Candy Ambassador and Salesperson of Year by both American Licorice Co. and Ferrero USA, Inc. David and Sons has also named him National Broker of the Year. Active in his community, Gene received the President’s Award for scouting, national recognition from Boy Scouts of America, as well as Utah’s Governor’s Award for 20 years of service to youth baseball and football programs.
According to Gene, commitment to hard work, integrity, ethics and love of the business are the main factors for his success. If I could redo the development of the business, I would have started or bought into a brokerage earlier, he says.
Advising those who might wish to follow him, Gene says: The industry still needs to be looked at as fun, exciting and enjoyable – that is what candy brings to people of all ages.
He credits Dick Simon for teaching him to sell and to be outgoing; Bob Rowe and Ralph Davey for teaching him about the candy business; and his wife Charlyn, for always being by his side.
In addition to his work with the Special Olympics and the University of Utah Booster Club, Gene enjoys handiwork, travel, sports and spending time with family.