Class of 2021
Michelle L. Frame is President and Founder of Victus Ars, Inc., but she prefers the title Candy Scientist. Victus Ars is a confectionery and food development lab with a mission focused on having fun in a happy environment while following scientific principles.
Michelle was born in Michigan City, IN, on April 4, 1968. She grew up in the Chesterton, IN, countryside with her parents, Mary and Donald, and her five siblings. Her appreciation and fascination with confectionery started at a young age. Her mother claims it took her three years to finally clean her stove and counters after Michelle’s frequent experiments!
Michelle attended St. Mary of the Woods College where she studied dietetics before obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Food Science from Purdue University in 1990. While at Purdue, she landed an internship at then M&M/Mars. She went on to work at the company for four years as a Technical Services Tech. This internship and her love of chocolate launched her career and her focus on having fun.
From 1995 to 2001, Michelle worked at Just Born, Inc. as a Process Improvement Scientist, Sr. R&D. Here, she says she fell in love with the industry thanks to two of her mentors: company CEO and Candy Hall of Famer Ross Born and Chairman David Shaffer.
“I will never forget their willingness to let me make a mess, learn and then make a bigger mess, all while being mentored by some of the best technical minds in the business,” she says.
After more than five years at Just Born, Michelle took on a technical sales role at Mantrose-Hauser Co. While she thought she was going to fail in sales this challenge is one of the biggest factors in her success.
After her time at Montrose-Hauser, Michelle became the Applications Manager at FONA International for a year and then took on the role of Confectionery R&D Director at Kerry Ingredients from 2005 to 2011.
On May 31, 2014, Michelle left the corporate world and started her own business — Victus Ars, Inc.
“I love candy and everything it brings to the world,” she says. “I found my passion wasn’t one company, but the industry as a whole and I could contribute to its long-term sustainability by ensuring access to strong technical support in both new product development and process trouble-shooting. Every job after Just Born, from sales to flavors, I built-in visiting plants and offering insights as part of each role.”
Michelle is very active in the industry, serving on the executive team of AACT’s National Council for seven years, spending two years as president, and serving as facilities chair from 2012. She has also been active in the association’s Chicago chapter.
She is a lead instructor for the PMCA’s Panning Short Course, which she started teaching in 2016, and was an IFT Confectionery Short Course Instructor from 2002 to 2004. She has also been a Confectionery Residence Course Instructor since 2005.