Meet the FoodChain Team – Justin Ruoff
As you probably guessed from the title, my name is Justin Ruoff, and I am the Chief Executive Officer here at FoodChain. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself formally to the entire FoodChain community. I was born and raised in the small town of Jeanette, just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Throughout most of my life, my father owned and operated a construction company in town called Ruoff Construction Incorporated. Although the company was not huge by any means, it provided my family and the ten other employees a very nice living. By all accounts, it was the blue-collar definition of the American dream.
For as long as I can remember, my father worked hard. He didn’t have the best people skills; he wasn’t the world’s best leader or manager; but he worked hard. It was as simple as that. His hard work drove the company and it prospered as a result.
Unfortunately, the financial crisis of 2008 crushed the new home market. The slow economy cut my father’s business by 75% over a period of two years. His hard work could no longer compensate for his slight mismanagement and it proved devastating to the company. As a result, the company let go all the employees and continued as a one-man repair business. By the beginning of 2010, following bankruptcy, Ruoff Construction Inc. was no more.
As a recent high school graduate with college ambitions, I felt the timing of the company’s closure could not have been worse. Financial worries were the last thing my father or I needed. In reality though, it was a blessing in disguise. As a result, I learned what it really takes to become successful in this world i.e. hard work. I got two jobs: one as a cook working the midnight shift for a local restaurant and the other working as an evening package handler for a local factory. I was working 14 to 18 hours a day in an attempt to pay for college and better myself. Eventually, I was able to save enough money to attend the local community college and start my path towards advancement.
Moreover, it was during my first year at college, that I came to a realization. My past was the ultimate learning experience. I had spent years entrenched in business with my family. Talking points during dinner were about business. Family fights were about business. Celebrations were about business. Everything was about business.
Really, it was the ultimate incubator for a young entrepreneur. It gave me the inside opportunity to see the problems of a young business and what solutions helped rectify the various issues. More importantly, I was able to see what made the family business fail and what shortcomings caused the problem. I had insider information to the entrepreneurial world. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
As you can imagine, when I discovered this wealth of untapped knowledge, I was very excited to put my ideas to work. My dream of starting a business surfaced and I was inspired to create an idea. Therefore, after many, many terrible business ideas, FoodChain was finally born. Now to keep this blog post relatively short, I’m going to bypass the initial beginning story of FoodChain. I promise you it is a great story, and I certainly will post it to the blog at a future date. Make sure you check back for it!
So what are my goals for the company?
My goal for the future of this company is to revolutionize the restaurant industry. I believe FoodChain can and will become the go-to response application in the service industry. Not only will it change the way people express meal satisfaction or displeasure, it will change the way restaurants operate.
Now for the real question – what can I do to help grow FoodChain to that point?
The simple answer is that I will be anything FoodChain needs me to be to make this company successful. If the company needs me to be a programmer one day, I will be a programmer. If it needs me to be in marketing, then I am in marketing. If it needs me to handle the financials, then I am an accountant. If it needs me to be the public face, then I will represent FoodChain to the fullest. No matter what though, I will always be a leader.
The bottom line is that I will do anything to make FoodChain successful. I truly believe that we have the talent and product to change the world, and I look forward to working hard towards our overall goal.
Remember, you can achieve anything with hard work!