Carolyn Doerle, CEO, Doerle Food Services LLC

Logistics and Industrial Supplies — Finalist

One of Carolyn Doerle’s biggest strengths is her management style. She blends being a bold decision-maker with being intuitive at the same time. She believes a leader must be able to make informed decisions in a timely manner.

In 2003, Doerle made the decision to buy out her father and family to become the sole owner and CEO of Doerle Food Services LLC, an independent food distributor. Under Doerle’s leadership, the company has grown revenue 800 percent. That growth is due in part to one of Doerle’s riskiest decisions but also the company’s largest turning point —she purchased a new facility in Broussard that was nearly five times the size of their current facility in New Iberia, without the demand to utilize it.

Within three months of purchasing the new distribution center in Broussard, an opportunity presented itself. The Sonic and Subway chains of Louisiana and Mississippi approached Doerle Foods. Doerle had six weeks to demonstrate it had the infrastructure to meet the contract specifications. In those six weeks, Doerle expanded its new plant to full operation, hired and trained more than 100 new employees, purchased 28 new trucks and 40 trailers and hired truck drivers from all over Louisiana, resulting in both the Sonic and Subway contracts. The company still has those contracts today.

Doerle has lived by her philosophy, “An opportunity is never lost; if you don’t take it, then someone else will.” The company’s business depends upon all its resources operating efficiently and effectively. Doerle and her management team pride themselves on being nimble and flexible for their customers. The company’s ability to provide what its customers need on short notice is what sets it apart from the large foodservice providers.

How to each: Doerle Food Services LLC,