The 2012 Supplier of the Year is Cees Boon.
A long-time veteran of the candy industry, Cees says that volunteering his time to organizations like NCA has helped him stay ahead in his career.
He began selling cocoa powder in 1976 as export manager for a Holland-based cocoa company. In 1980, he was transferred to the U.S. as sales manager, tasked with setting up a specialty fats and oils division. When the company was sold in 1990, he established Boon Inc., an industrial ingredients company supporting suppliers of confections and baked goods. Through his work he came to be a national representative for companies including Palatinit and Silesia Flavors. In 1998, he became vice-president of sales and marketing for New Jersey-based Beneo-Palatinit.
Cees currently serves on NCA's Board of Trustees and chairs our active and engaged Supplier Advisory Committee. In fact, he's been a member of the supplier advisory committee since 1992.
Cees has been supportive of our efforts on Capitol Hill - making a point to attend NCA's Washington Forum and join his customers in speaking to legislators about important political matters. Cees never misses an opportunity to support this industry - you'll find he sponsors a host of events through NCA and other organizations.
Cees also served as chairman of the Kettle Committee from 1992 to 1993. He was inducted into the prestigious Candy Hall of Fame in 2010.
This is actually the second time NCA has honored Cees with a service award. In 1992 he received NCA's Distinguished Associate Award for his long standing efforts to develop constructive relationships between confectionery manufacturers and suppliers.
Cees will be the first to say that his industry friends and colleagues deserve recognition for helping him throughout his career. In particular, he credits his long-time business partner - and friend - Debbie Bryant for playing an important role in his life. Sadly, Debbie passed away last year, but the influence she had on our Supplier Member of the Year can't be underestimated.
Cees has also noted that Ross Bainbridge helped him see the value of becoming involved with NCA.
Likewise, Ross is also an admirer of Cees. He told us recently that beyond being a good salesman, Cees is successful because his customers are his number one priority and it shows. Ross adds that Cees is a great person, full of respect for everyone and that he is a true reflection of what it means to be an exemplary supplier member of our industry.
I have known Cees for many years, and I am proud to have him serve beside me on the Board of Trustees. I cannot think of finer man to receive this year's honor.
Cees shares this award with his wife, their three children and their three grandchildren.