Class of 2023
To Tony Frankenberger, challenges are merely opportunities in disguise. He explains that a healthy business requires collaboration, compromise and a true understanding of each entity’s capabilities, challenges and aspirations.
Tony was born in Tucson, AZ, on April 28, 1961, to Wayne and Linda. As a young child, he recalls that the greatest thing his parents taught him and his sister Traci was that anything is possible and that anyone can define their own destiny. Growing up, he says his family did not have much, but they always found joy in the adventures life had to offer.
Tony graduated from San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino, CA, in 1979, and joined the Air Force, serving as a Staff Sergeant E-5 from 1980 to 1984. He served in the 21st Security Police Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska and received the Air Force Commendation Medal as well as the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, the Longevity Service Ribbon and the Air Force Training Ribbon.
He recalls that his first job in the industry came about purely by chance. Tony says that after leaving the Air Force, he found employment as a truck washer at Southland Distribution Center, which was acquired by McLane Co., Inc. in 1992. After a year of guidance, he went on to become a buyer’s assistant.
Working his way up in the company for the past 35 years, Tony currently holds the title of CEO, a position he has had since 2020. In total, he has more than 15 years of senior management experience at McLane, including various leadership positions in merchandising, procurement and operations.
Tony met his wife Sharon while they were both distribution supervisors at Southland. They were married in 1991 and together they have five children: Tyler, Rion, Trent, Stacy and Tracy.
Throughout his career, Tony has been active in making the industry better. He has served on various NACS, CDA and NACDS boards and committees, volunteering his time and efforts. Earlier this year he participated on a panel at NCA’s State of the Industry Conference where he discussed the importance of collaboration between distributors and manufacturers.
Tony has also spearheaded McLane initiatives to give back, supporting the Children’s Miracle Network and leading in the formation of the company’s Warriors to Wheels program offering career opportunities to veterans transitioning out of the military
Tony says his career has been molded by many people, but he singles out Grady Rosier, former CEO of McLane Co., Mike Youngblood, former president of McLane Grocery and Jim Kent, former CFO of McLane. He notes that without the guidance and support of these three men, he would not be where he is today.
He adds that he has always been willing to learn and take on new challenges, recognizing that while he cannot possibly know everything, he can build teams that do.
Tony says that irrespective of the specific challenge, his perspective is to first gain a full understanding of the issue, have an honest assessment of the root cause, set a course of action, and own it until it is resolved.