Class of 2009
For Jack Bielat, business is about people and relationships. Others in the industry say Jack has always gone above and beyond the standard duties of his position. He is an ardent supporter of the confectionery industry, and is quick to give advice, guidance, thoughts and support. Jack was born in Yonkers, NY, on February 9, 1953, to Frank and Sophie Bielat. He attended Manhattan Prep, in Riverdale, NY, then received his B.A. in English Education from Le Moyne College, in Syracuse. He married Diane in 1983, and they have three children, Chris, Erica and Jeff. His 33 years in the industry started in 1976 at the food distributor S.M. Flickinger Co., where Burt Flickinger, Jr. first gave him the opportunity to work as a buyer, and he was mentored by Roger Metzger. In 1988, he left Flickinger to join BJ’s Wholesale Club in Massachusetts as a buyer. He remained a buyer until 2003, when he joined the company’s new business development team, which helps design new stores. He currently serves as vice-president, divisional merchandise manager, edibles. Jack has done extensive work with the NCA, serving on its Buyer Advisory Committee, including helping launch the All Candy Expo at the Navy Pier in Chicago. In 2001, the Boston Candy Club named him its Man of the Year. He credits his wife and children as being the biggest factors in his success, providing him with inspiration, encouragement and a reason to persevere. He has no regrets about his experience in the industry — in fact, he claims the development of his career path allowed him ample opportunities to gain extremely valuable experiences that have served him well. He notes that although consolidation has reduced the total number of companies in the industry, he is glad that many family-run businesses are still active in today’s market. Away from the office, Jack enjoys golf, cooking, vegetable gardening and playing piano and guitar. He resides in Blackstone, MA.