After working together for 16 years, Trina Bediako, chief executive officer of New Horizons Baking Co. (NHBC), Norwalk, Ohio, and Mike Porter, president and chief operating officer of NHBC and Baking & Snack’s 2022 Operations Executive of the Year, have a strong professional relationship and respect one another as individuals. Despite being very different in temperament, background, strengths and weaknesses, both see where they complement each other. And their mutual respect and trust have been essential to the success of their partnership. 

“Mike and I are friends, but we’re also partners, and we are comfortable having the difficult conversations when they’re required,” Ms. Bediako said. “We provide support for each other and even recognize things that should happen for the business that the others may not see. We appreciate the value that each of us brings because we are different. We do fill in each other’s gaps.”

As president, Mr. Porter sees himself as a steward of Ms. Bediako’s vision as the chief executive of the company. Ms. Bediako strives to grow the family business beyond the bakery category, to become a company that provides food, beverage and nutrition solutions.

“Her family built this business, and she’s earned the opportunity to take it to the next step,” he said. “I just want to see her get to where she wants to be, where she wants the company to be, and I want to be a small part of that.” 

According to Ms. Bediako, Mr. Porter has always been much more than a “small part” of the success of the business.  

“Mike is dedicated, committed, honest and trustworthy,” she said. “He has broad industry knowledge, he understands operations, he has good relationships with his peers, and he cares about each employee that works with us.” 

All those factors lead to why he was the obvious choice to help execute her vision.

“He’s a man of his word, and someone I can count on,” Ms. Bediako said. “Even when we disagree on something, we work it out, and I know that once he leaves my office, we’ll be on the same page, and I can trust that he’ll communicate to the team the way I want it to be communicated.”

This article is an excerpt from the December 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire special feature on Operations Executive of the Year, click here.