Wegmans Food Markets recently revealed the leadership team spearheading the grand opening and management of its newest store in Brooklyn, New York, opening Sunday, Oct. 27, at 7 a.m. in the Navy Yard.
The Brooklyn store received applications from more than 10,000 job seekers and hired 540, most of whom are from nearby neighborhoods in the borough. More than 200 of the new hires were first identified and referred by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) Employment Center.
“We’re pleased with the results of working collaboratively with the BNYDC Employment Center. Their efforts to find great local candidates helped us provide more jobs to residents near our store,” said Wegmans VP and District Manager Todd Ferrera.
“We’re thrilled to follow through on our longstanding promise to the community of opening a high-quality affordable grocery store in the Navy Yard and advance our mission to connect local residents with quality jobs,” said BNYDC President and CEO David Ehrenberg. “By hosting 108 events, our Employment Center team helped Wegmans recruit more than 200 hires from the local community. We’re proud that our efforts led to 1,560 applications for positions at Wegmans—with nearly 40 percent of those applicants living in NYCHA properties and more than 90 percent living in Brooklyn.”
Ferrera also acknowledged the vital role that Doug Steiner, chairman of Steiner NYC, has played in bringing Wegmans to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “Doug had a vision and a mission to develop this property and bring jobs and a one-of-a-kind shopping experience to Brooklyn, and we are proud to help bring that vision to life,” said Ferrera.
“We have over 20 years of experience and a solid track record with Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” added Steiner. “And we have a relationship with Wegmans dating back over 20 years, having developed multiple stores for them outside the city, so this was a great fit. We’re ecstatic to have helped bring so many new, great jobs to Brooklyn. Plus, this leadership team proves that the opportunities for advancement are real. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
The Wegmans Brooklyn leadership group consists of the store manager, executive chef, store chef, and several area managers who oversee operations within the 74,000 s.f. store.
Together, they have 78 years of combined experience at Wegmans.
Store Manager Kevin Cuff: Cuff joined Wegmans as a part-time cashier and Helping Hand (parking lot attendant) in Auburn, New York. He attended college at SUNY Cortland with assistance from the Wegmans Employee Scholarship Program and graduated in 2003 with a degree in business economics. After graduation, he relocated to New Jersey where he held roles as a department manager, service area manager, merchandising manager, and perishable manager. Cuff became a store manager in 2015 at the Woodbridge, New Jersey store. He will lead more than 500 employees at Wegmans Brooklyn.
Executive Chef Stephen De Lucia: De Lucia’s culinary career began in high school working at a local banquet hall in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He holds a degree in hotel, restaurant and institutional management from the University of Delaware. After graduation, he worked in a variety of positions for Ruth’s Chris Steak House including as executive chef at their flagship restaurant in Manhattan. In 2017, De Lucia joined Wegmans as an executive chef in training. He will manage the culinary team that provides Wegmans’ restaurant foods, with mix and match self-serve food bars, made-to-order salads, hot soup, fresh sushi, burgers, pizza and more – all for in-store dining or takeout.
Store Chef Joe Caban: In 2007, Caban joined Wegmans as a cook at the Woodbridge, New Jersey, store. He went on to serve as a team leader, culinary management trainee, and sous chef in various stores before accepting the position of store chef in Brooklyn. Caban will assist Executive Chef Stephen De Lucia with the day-to-day operations of the restaurant foods departments.
Perishable Area Manager Denny Siswanto: Siswanto has been with Wegmans since 2008. He has experience in a variety of roles in restaurant foods including entry level cook, culinary management trainee, sous chef, and executive chef. Most recently, Siswanto was perishable area manager at Wegmans’ Woodbridge, New Jersey store. In Brooklyn, he will supervise fresh product quality, sales, and employee development to ensure that the perishable departments (produce, floral, bakery, seafood, meat, cheese, and deli and charcuterie) meet Wegmans’ high standards.
Merchandising Area Manager Chris Mickens: Mickens began working at Wegmans as a service team leader in 2014. He served as a Wegmans management trainee, bakery manager and merchandising manager at the Manalapan, New Jersey, store before relocating to Brooklyn. As merchandising manager, Mickens will oversee the grocery, dairy, frozen foods, natural wellness, home and entertaining, and health and beauty departments. He will work collaboratively across the store to ensure that displays are well-merchandised and employees are prepared to share a high level of product knowledge with customers.
Service Area Manager Shawanda Green: Green joined Wegmans as a part-time employee in 2002. She was a Wegmans employee scholarship recipient while she completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Nazareth College and her MBA from Roberts Wesleyan College, both located in Rochester, New York. She has held a variety of positions during her time at Wegmans including human resources intern, talent sourcing and diversity specialist, employee representative and front-end manager. As the service area manager in Brooklyn, she will manage the front end, customer service desk, maintenance, accounting office, and Helping Hands. Green will also oversee local community giving, carrying out Wegmans’ commitment to make a difference in every community it serves.
Overnight Operations Coordinator Dave Dorazio: Dorazio started his Wegmans career in 2010 as a part-time produce employee. He has experience as an overnight grocery team leader, overnight operations manager, produce manager and most recently worked as the overnight operations coordinator at the Hanover, New Jersey store. Dorazio will oversee a team of 70 restaurant foods, deli, cheese, pizza, and produce employees focused on maximizing production for business each day.
Service Area Manager (Restaurant Foods) Kyle Butta: Butta’s first job at Wegmans was as a cashier on the front end. He then moved on to front end coordinator, service team leader, store operations intern, produce team leader, management trainee, seafood manager, employee representative, and service area manager. He has a bachelor’s degree in labor studies from Rutgers University. As hospitality manager, Butta will partner with the restaurant foods team to promote a culture of knowledge based service, assisting with training and development of the entire market café and restaurant foods team.