24 hours with Pitango

Wade Gillooly, general manager at fresh chilled organic soups and meals brand, Pitango, runs us through a day in the life of a food manufacturing professional. 

What are your primary roles and responsibilities in your job? Give us a day in your working life.
Primarily I oversee the management of the Pitango business.  Day to day this involves managing the sales, financial and operational performance of the business including managing key distribution and customer relationships, product innovation, business planning and strategy for growth.  I also am responsible for the monthly reporting to the company Board of Directors.

What training/education did you need for your job?
I attended the Waikato University in New Zealand where I completed a Bachelor of Management Studies (B.M.S) with Honours.  My major was Commerce and Japanese.  I believe that tertiary education is a great stepping stone to start your career but the journey starts with gaining ‘on the job’ commercial experience.  This is where the real learning starts and never stops!

How did you get to where are you are today? Give us a bullet point career path.

  • 1994 graduated Waikato University (B.M.S)
  • First job as Marketing Graduate with Carter Hold Harvey (forestry and timber products)
  • 1995-2000 worked as Product Manager for Heinz-Watties.  This position was followed by several product and business management roles in the fresh produce and honey industries
  • 2008 joined Pitango

What tools and/or software do you use on a daily basis?
The main software system that I use is SAP for financial reporting.  I also utilise Excel and Power Point packages as well as various customer supplier portals for forecasting and inventory control.  However the main tool I use is the telephone!  Never underestimate the power of speaking one on one with a customer or supplier over sending an email.

What is the one thing that you are most proud of in your professional life?
I’m most proud of the growth of Pitango and the reputation we have built for the brand as a leader in organic, fresh chilled food. This couldn’t have happened without the great team of people that work for the business.

Biggest daily challenge?
It sounds like a cliché but it is letting go of work at the end of the day.  I am very passionate about Pitango but I am also a firm believer in work/life balance.  My family comes first, that is a given, but sometimes it is hard to turn the switch to off!  I find that exercise helps.

Biggest career challenge?
The single biggest challenge I have experienced to date in my career would be the transition to our new parent company following the collapse of our previous one.  In early 2013 our then parent company, Gourmet Foods Group, went into voluntary administration.  This resulted in the collapse of Rosella Food Groups.  My role was to keep Pitango running during the administration process and to successfully complete the sale of the business without interrupting our day to day trading.  The transition to our new parent company, Beak & Johnston is now complete.

What is your biggest frustration in your job?
I can’t say there are any frustrations right now other than finding time to have a holiday.  It’s that work/life balance again!

What is the biggest challenge facing your business?
The biggest challenge would be operational capacity in our factory at the present time.  We are working on building a new plant that can support our growth plans with our customers.

Is there anything else about your job you want Australia to know about?
Food manufacturing and the FMCG sector is an industry that I love being part of.  It offers a lot of scope to develop careers and makes a valuable contribution to the economy.


If you would like to take part in Food mag's Industry Map, click here.

To read another Industry Map Q&A, click here.


Send this to a friend