SensoryEffects Employee Spotlight: Mike Size
Recently, Mike Size joined the SensoryEffects Ingredients Solutions division of New York headquartered, Balchem Corporation, as the VP and General Manager. Mike has led development, sales and marketing teams and commercial product innovation efforts for global companies, and has a lot of experience in flavors, food ingredients, specialty chemicals and manufacturing businesses. Mike's expertise in the food industry will be great for growing our division, and we're excited to see where his leadership takes us!
What do you like to do on your days off / for fun?
MS: Our family likes to travel. Some of our vacation activities include skiing, hiking and sailing. We’ve traveled primarily through Europe and the Caribbean – with our skiing being out west in the Rockies. We also have made a few trips to visit my relatives (on my mother’s-side) who live in New Zealand.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
MS: I have become qualified as a “Captain” on rental/charter sailboats. This is a license to sail by yourself, without a paid skipper. We have done this a number of times with family and friends in the Caribbean. We particularly love the Virgin Islands.
MS: I grew up playing football and baseball, and I used to coach my sons when they were younger and playing both. I’m also a big fan of rugby, and “my team” is the New Zealand All Blacks national rugby union team.
You’ve moved around, but are originally from St. Louis, correct? Where all have you lived? Where was your favorite & why?
MS: I am originally from Kirkwood (a suburb of St. Louis), but have moved around for different jobs. I’ve lived in Cincinnati and Chicago – in the Lincoln Park-area. That was fun. Living in Chicago-city has a ton of vibrant and eclectic neighborhoods. Finding hole-in-the-wall restaurants, being close to the lake, exploring the different neighborhoods were some of the enjoyable parts of living in Chicago. But I’m still a Cardinals fan!
Tell us a little about your background:
MS: Since college, I’ve always been in the chemicals business in one way or another. Originally I was with Monsanto Chemical. Since then, I have strictly been in different food ingredient businesses including NutraSweet, CP-Kelco and Givaudan Flavors. My jobs have primarily been in the sales, marketing and business development side of these companies. This industry has been changing a lot recently, where things like natural, organic, non-GMO, etc. have become much more important for both consumer and our customers.
Describe your role at SensoryEffects / Balchem:
MS: I work with our leadership team to direct the business. We have a lot of legacy business areas, but we are also working hard to penetrate the higher growth opportunities that we see. In our targeted markets, we are working toward building application and technical expertise that will enable us to bring ongoing value to our customers. Also important is that we are interacting with the operational and supply chain sides of the business from a quality, service, cost and investment perspective.
How do you define success?
MS: We call ourselves Ingredient Solutions, so it is critical that our customers see us as their go-to supplier for solutions and systems. We play in a different space than many others in the food ingredients market. Unlike the of larger commodity companies, our value is specialized ingredients, turn-key solutions and personalized service.
What does market leadership mean to you?
MS: It means to be the best at understanding what’s going on in our markets that will create opportunities for ourselves and our customers. We need to leverage our strengths and identify where we need to build capabilities. It’s important that we provide the best tools and empower individuals to work creatively with our customers. As an organization our goal is to continually understand how we can bring value, innovation and differentiated solutions to our customers.
What are some of the challenges you see for our company: SensoryEffects / Balchem?
MS: Food and Beverage in the U.S. is a mature market, and we’re trying to figure out how to grow at above-market rates. Our challenge is to manage our mature business areas, while also entering new and higher growth markets. We have started down some of these paths such as Organic and non-GMO clean label solutions. We are also entering new technology areas like “alternate protein” bases (pea, vegetable). We need to be aware and evaluating the trends and dynamics are driving consumer and our customers. Finally, we also need to think about the balance that we have in servicing branded customers, private label manufacturers, and companies that supply the food service market.
What is your international vision for SensoryEffects / Balchem?
MS: I’d like to see us really develop a much stronger presence in the Latin American market. They have many similarities to the US market in terms of products and the companies that manufacture the foods/beverages. They typically follow US regulatory practices (FDA, FEMA) for ingredients and flavors. Economically there are large middle-class consumer populations who are looking for the same kinds of products that you would find in the US. Our task is to find, develop and support a strong network of distributors and representatives throughout the region that can take our solutions to the local markets and customers.