The FVEC is honored to have Joseph Slawek as the keynote speaker for our inaugural fundraiser event this year. Joe is the founder, chairman and CEO of Flavors Of North America International in Geneva, Illinois. Established by Joe in 1987, FONA is a different kind of flavor company, dedicated to competing with the largest international flavor companies while connecting with customers as small companies do so well. He is passionate about developing relationships, sharing ideas and investing in both his customers and his employees.

A Chicago native, Joe began his career in the flavor industry at an early age. As a student at St. Patrick’s High School in northwest Chicago, he worked at Flavor Materials Corporation. He did whatever needed to be done, whether it was cleaning up or extracting vanilla from beans. He may not have known it at the time, but the seeds for FONA were planted in those early years. He stayed with Flavor Materials through his college years and beyond, until he took the plunge into entrepreneurship and started FONA.

The FONA mission is to grow and connect with its people, customers, brands, businesses and communities through the commitment to growth and excellence. The business is committed to always doing what is right and honoring partnerships in their relentless pursuit of excellence.

This combination of great technology and service is what Joe calls “high tech, high touch” – and it works. In 2016 alone, FONA has earned:

  • Chicago’s 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For, for the 11th year in a row
  • Chicago’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, Elite Award for Compensation, Benefits and Employee Solutions
  • Food Quality & Safety Magazine – Food Quality & Safety Award

In his personal life, Joe is an avid hunter and fisherman who relaxes by spending time outdoors with his wife, two sons and daughter. He is a private pilot, a passion that he shares with his eldest son who is a certified flight instructor. He is also dedicated to actively giving back to his community and serves these organizations:

  • Secretary and Executive Committee Member for The McGraw Wildlife Foundation Board of Directors
  • Advisory Board Member for US Polymers
  • Member of Kane County Regional Planning Commission
  • Member of Illinois Manufacturing Association
  • Member of the Administer Justice Executive Board
  • President and Co-founder of C-Level Christian CEO group
  • Member of the Wheaton Academy Board