As the New Year got underway, a new president and CEO took over the reins of the National Peanut Board. But he’s not brand new. For more than 15 years, Ryan Lepicier has led marketing and communications at NPB, most recently serving as senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Not one to rest on the laurels of CEOs before him, I talked with Ryan about his plans and how he would work to move NPB, growers and the industry forward.
Q: What is your philosophy in being NPB president and CEO?
First, I would not have applied for the job if I didn’t think I could add value to this position. In the immediate future, we need to let growers, our stakeholders, know that we have the passion, innovation and capability of leading NPB into this next chapter. I also believe that we have an opportunity to work smarter and be more efficient.
Our bullseye needs to be centered on delivering maximum impact for growers. For example, in the past, we tried to do all things in the foodservice arena. Because of that, we might be missing opportunities in K-12 and college dining. We decided – what if we focus on the barrier of peanut allergy? So that’s what we’re doing. We will work to remove that allergy barrier, then we can show them innovative ways to use peanuts in their menus.
Q: What can growers do to help NPB in their mission?
Growers can help tell the story of peanuts in their own communities, especially in the area of peanut allergy and the early introduction of peanut. Growers are very involved in their communities. They serve on school boards, councils, advisory boards and rotary. They know doctors, principals and school personnel. Peanuts can be served in schools while protecting kids with allergies, and growers can help make sure that’s happening in their communities. The NPB will come in with the resources and information, but we need growers to make those connections and introductions. That would be something simple that growers can do in their own communities that would help promote peanuts and move our industry forward on the allergy issue.
Next month, I’ll continue my talk with Ryan where we’ll discuss NPB-funded production research as well as a change in how peanut allergy research will be funded in the future.