Build Your Best Business

Mary Lou Surgi is the executive director of Blue Ridge Food Ventures in Asheville, North Carolina—the region’s largest shared-use food processing incubator. After spending about 15 years working and living overseas doing everything from being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia to running a pig re-population project in Haiti, she decided to stay home and go to culinary school. Not wanting to work in a restaurant, and wanting to combine her international food and agriculture experience with food and economic development she found her dream job with Blue Ridge Food Ventures where  she has worked with hundreds of food entrepreneurs and farmers to help them start up their food businesses.  Mary Lou holds Masters’ degrees in Public Health and Food Systems as well as a Culinary Degree.

Chris Reedy is the Program Manager of Blue Ridge food Ventures.  He attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in finance.  After graduating, Chris went on to earn a MBA with a concentration in finance from Xavier University’s Williams School of Business in Cincinnati, OH.  Immediately after receiving his degree, he joined a Kentucky based holding company and worked as a project manager & financial analyst.  In 1997, Chris founded an import company and traveled throughout Asia working with small producers to sustainably and equitably produce and market their products.  In 2009, he was a founding member of the Southern Appalachian Hops Guild and began to work with farmers throughout the region to create an emerging industry.  His current position allows him to work with and consult with farmers, food artisans and natural product producers on all aspects of their products from intake of raw materials to finished product branding.

Blue Ridge Food Ventures is an 11,000 sq. ft. shared-use kitchen incubator and natural products manufacturing facility that offers support in product development, guidance through the maze of regulations governing safe production of food products and dietary supplements, advice on packaging and label design, and much more.

We're here to help people who dream--of getting their artisan food products to market, of running a baking or catering business, or even operating their own hot dog cart! We also help individuals and small businesses that want to make natural products and herbal dietary supplements, and get them into bottles and tubes and onto store shelves.

Direct download: 5-6-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Chris_Reedy__Mary_Lou_Surgi_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT