What will new leader bring to Schwan, community?

ometime next month, we’ll learn who the new leader of Marshall’s largest employer, The Schwan Food Co., is. The board of directors will do (or already has done) its due diligence in selecting the right candidate. Whoever is chosen to replace Greg Flack as president and CEO will undoubtedly have the qualifications one needs to lead a multi-billion-dollar international company – business acumen, leadership abilities, etc.

It goes without saying that this person will possess the tools needed to run a successful company, but we would also like to see some other traits that would really complete the package.

We would like to see a person step in who sincerely cares for and appreciates, not only his or her employees, but the community of Marshall as well. This is not to say that Flack didn’t, but we want the new leader to take it a step further.

We want to see a person who will get out in the community, reach out to the community, be a presence in the community.

We want to see a person who will make himself/herself accessible to the media.

We want to see a person ready to stand up and address rumors, shake hands, answer questions, alleviate fears and say, “This is where we’re going in the future, but our home will always be in Marshall.”

The Schwan Food Co. is not just another business in Marshall; it’s more than a big, blue building, more than frozen food-filled, Inca Gold trucks being driven from house to house.

This is a family-owned company with roots here – roots developed when Marvin Schwan started it all back in 1952. Schwan’s growth throughout the decades is impressive from a business standpoint. It’s gone from one man driving a 1946 Dodge van farmhouse door-to-farmhouse door to a global force, and it continues to expand its brand, its reach and its product line.

But its home is here. And while the company continues to give back to the community through land and financial donations and corporate sponsorships, we fear somewhere along the line either the company lost that personal link with the community or the community has lost touch with the company.

Perhaps it goes both ways.

We would like to see the new leader of Marshall’s largest employer re-establish that vital connection.