Class of 2014
Joseph Conti was born January 13, 1956, to Virginia and Gaetano and grew up with siblings Florence, Josephine and Patricia in Buffalo, NY.
In 1973, he graduated from Canisius H. S. and then attended Canisius College, earning a B.S. in accounting.
He married Lori Ann, who affectionately refers to him as “Joe Bars,” on October 18, 1980, and together they have three children: Nicholas John, Michael Lucas and JT (deceased).
Joe began his career in candy as a warehouse manager for Niagara Candy in 1990, after spending 17 years with JC Penney Co. as a warehouse stock supervisor. In 1992, Joe briefly left the industry, serving as warehouse manager for Larry Smith Office Supply. However, in October of that year, he joined what is now First Source, LLC, where he currently works as vice- president of purchasing.
Joe cities 1999 Candy Hall of Famer Roger McEldowney’s knowledge of the industry as well as 2013 Candy Hall of Fame inductee Keith McDaniel’s work ethic and passion for the business as having the biggest impact on his career. He says if he could do one thing differently, it would have been to absorb more from key industry leaders earlier, in addition to sharing that knowledge with contacts and colleagues.
Conversely, Joe says developing supplier partnerships by listening, understanding and responding to their needs is one of the biggest factors in his success in business.
Recipient of the 2006 Professional Candy Buyer of theYear Award, he says his biggest day-to-day challenge is conveying the differences between quality and price to customers and explaining which is right for their retail outlet.
Outside of industry accolades, Joe notes that earning the trust and respect of his peers, negotiating with suppliers and developing successful items and programs for customers are among his biggest accomplishments.
Away from the industry, Joe sits on the board of the Butler Mitchell Boys and Girls Club Alumni Association, has served as a tournament director for the Western NewYork High School Club Hockey Association and was inducted into the Canisius High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of the 1972-1973 championship hockey team.
In his free time, Joe plays 40 to 50 rounds of golf per year, something he says is not easy in Buffalo. He also enjoys spending time with his family and watching sports.