Jeff Seeley is the Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Graceland Fruit. He served as an adviser before officially joining the Board as Executive Chairman in March of 2019.
Jeff began by describing the impact Rotary had on him.  In 1977 he was sponsored by a local Rotary Club to attend a week-long leadership camp--a big deal for an inner city kid from Saginaw.  After graduating from Central Michigan University, where he played basketball, Jeff held executive leadership positions at Hillenbrand Industries and several other companies before coming to Graceland Industries in 2019.
Graceland is a leading producer and global distributor of premium quality dried fruit ingredients for the food industry.  Founded in 1973 as a cooperative for cherry growers, Graceland transformed the industry by creating the dried infused cherry.  It then applied this technology to cranberries, blueberries and apples and created the Craisin for Ocean Spray.
Graceland employs more than 250 people in Benzie County and is looking to hire even more.  In the last two years the company has completely rebranded and strategically refocused.  Pertinent facts include:
  • Graceland's revenue will be over $90M in 2021.
  • Graceland is the only company that produces four different fruits in its facilities.
  • Graceland introduced Precision Dicing in 2021.
  • Graceland competes in a global market, with ~40% of its business coming from outside the U.S.
  • Graceland is a key ingredient for such companies as Sam's Club, General Mills, Quaker Oats, and Kar's nuts, to name a few. 
Jeff reviewed steps the company has taken in the last two years, including how the company has dealt with COVID-19.  Graceland developed a plan and stuck with it--never having a shut down.  Further information about the company is available on its website.