Craig Nielsen, who was named CEO in 2005, began his career with the family company as a part-time employee while he was still in high school and has been with the company on full time basis since 1986. During his tenure as CEO, the company has continued with steady growth, introducing new vanilla products and a line of Pure Flavors.
As CEO, Craig oversees national and international sales, exporting, new product development, purchasing of vanilla beans and human resources. Additionally, Craig has been the guest speaker at many conferences and seminars, lecturing on Nielsen-Massey's product lines and the company's proprietary cold extract process that gently extracts more than 300 complex flavors from the vanilla bean.
Craig is a graduate of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He is a member of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA), where he serves as Chairman of the Vanilla Committee, and serves on the Alcohol and Tax Committee. He is a member of the International Association of Food Industry Suppliers, the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF), the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Ice Cream Retailers Association (NICRA), where he was a former board member. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Nielsen-Massey Foundation; a member of the Illinois Manufacturing Association; and a member of the Loyola University Family Business Center. Nielsen-Massey was the recipient of the Center's Small Family Business of the Year Award in 2006.
Craig and his wife live in Grayslake with their two boys.