Les Lawrence brings over 50 years of industry experience to his position as Chairman of Lawrence Foods, Inc.
Les began his career at Lawrence Foods working summer jobs as a truck driver and material handler in high school and college. He received his BA degree with honors in Economics from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio and an MBA from the University of Chicago, in addition to two post graduate years financed by a fellowship in the business school PhD program. He withdrew from the GSB in 1969 upon joining Lawrence Foods as Director of Operations.
The original company, known as Lester Lawrence and Son, began as a partnership between Lester’s father, Major, and grandfather, Lester, distributing commodities to Chicago area bakeries. Over the intervening years, and with a change in name to Lawrence Foods in 1967, the company has grown into a well-known manufacturer of fruit fillings, glazes, icings, jellies, preserves, and nutrition and snack bar components, supplying a broad cross-section of food manufacturing, distribution and retail sales businesses throughout the United States.
During his full-time years at Lawrence Foods, Les has managed the company’s transition from foodservice distributor to a pure manufacturer. In 1987, he engineered the sale of the company’s foodservice distribution business to Sysco Corporation, along with a comprehensive supply relationship, which continues to the present.
Over his career to date, Les has held positions on the board of directors of Nugget Distributors, a national distributor network, the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), first as Vice Chairman and then as Chairman of the Board, and on the executive committee of the Board of Governors of the North American Wholesale Grocers Association.