Rising Star Spotlight – Steve O’Dell

Odell Steve Jul 2024

Steve O’Dell
CEO, Co-Founder

You started your company from scratch over seven years ago, and you built your company by networking and getting yourself out there; how has SHFM been for growing your professional network?

SHFM has really accelerated the growth of my professional network in the Foodservice space, which is an extremely important piece of Tenzo’s business.  I’ve met so many interesting, friendly, and supportive people in SHFM, and I’m very grateful for that!

You were a member before becoming a Rising Star, how has the Rising Star Program enhanced your involvement in SHFM?

It’s been great to connect deeper with folks who are in similar positions in their career and life. Many people have been helpful in teaching me about specific issues I’m dealing with. Special shoutout to Josh Kohn, who hopped on a call and taught me about non-commercial food service last week! 

In running your business, what accomplishment are you most proud of? 

I don’t think there is any one thing that really stands out. One of the core reasons we started Tenzo was to make a positive impact on the world. We’ve done that in many small and large ways. From giving amazing people jobs to building wells in Africa to donating tens of thousands of meals to charity to helping folks live healthy lives. There is a lot of be proud of!

To small upstart companies considering joining SHFM, how to you recommend they get involved?

Simple – get involved! The SHFM community is so welcoming and helpful, so get out there and shake some hands. Volunteer on the committees, contribute, and be useful. As my mom used to say, “You’ll get out what you put in!” 

Finally, our traditional final question: What and where was the best meal you have ever had?  

The best meal I’ve ever had was at a small Italian restaurant in Florence – Alla Griglia. I don’t remember exactly what we ate, but it was two pasta dishes recommended by a kind old Italian man. The wine was insanely good as well, it was a Chianti Red and the waiter, in true Italian form, said, “Mama Mia!!” after smelling it. Best wine of my life. 

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