Matt Nielsen is a third-generation owner and manager for Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Inc. and Managing Director of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas International BV. Matt is responsible for Operations and International Retail Sales.
Matt began working in the family business when he was 15 years old, sweeping floors and cleaning tanks; today his responsibilities include overseeing all operations at the company's headquarters and manufacturing facility in Waukegan, Illinois, as well as its manufacturing facility in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.
Matt holds a bachelor's degree in management from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Specialty Food Association serving as Vice Chairperson and as Chair of the Admissions Committee, Chair of the Ethics Committee and Chair of the Compensation Committee; Vice President – Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the Nielsen-Massey Foundation; member of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA); member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP); 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. Also in 2006, Matt was selected by Gourmet Newsmagazine as one of their top "20 Under 40" in the specialty food industry. In 2015, Matt was honored by his high school alma mater, Wayland Academy, with their Alumni Achievement Award for excellence in his field.
Matt lives in Lake Bluff, Illinois with his wife, Amy, and their son, Tyler. Within the community, Matt has served on the Board of Directors of the Lake Bluff Fourth of July Planning Committee and was chair of its Fundraising Committee responsible for raising $60,000+ in support of the annual parade, a member of the Board of Directors of the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Lions Club NFP, a member of the Board of Directors of the Lake Bluff Barbecue Society and as a member of the V.O.T.E. Lake Bluff caucus responsible for identifying and interviewing candidates for municipal government elections. In his free time, Matt enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, riding his motorcycle and cooking, particularly authentic, competition BBQ.