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Matt Nielsen, International Managing Director, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Elected to Board of Directors, Family Enterprise USA


Nielsen, Third Generation Executive of 100-plus Year-Old Vanilla Extracts Company, Brings Food Regulation Expertise to Help America’s Multi-generational Family Businesses


Matt Nielsen, third-generation steward, shareholder, director and executive for Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Inc., has been named to the Board of Directors of Family Enterprise USA.

Nielsen manages the company’s international division as Managing Director of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas International BV and Managing Director of Nielsen Real Estate BV.

The announcement was made by Pat Soldano, President, Family Enterprise USA, bipartisan advocates for family businesses, the largest private employer in America.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, based in Waukegan, Ill., is the world’s leading manufacturer of premium, pure vanilla extracts. It is third-generation family-owned and operated company and is known for using a proprietary slow, cold extraction process to deliver the rich tasting vanilla. Nielsen-Massey was the first to introduce an organic and Fair Trade vanilla from Madagascar. It remains committed to supporting the plants, people and communities that supply its beans.

Nielsen’s current operational responsibilities include overseeing the company’s European activities. For over 20 years Nielsen also had responsibility for the company’s worldwide operations, retail and foodservice sales and strategic initiatives.

In addition to serving on the Nielsen-Massey board of directors, he is currently a Director for Graziano Brothers, a family held producer of specialty sausage products and specialty retailer and distributor located in Des Moines, Iowa.
“I’m excited to be part of Family Enterprise USA’s work in helping America’s family business succeed and navigate the many issues we face, with government policies, taxation, and workforce development,” said Nielsen. “The food products sector has regulations that can help or hurt the largest and smallest of family businesses,” he said. “I look forward to bringing my insights to the table, to help educate our legislators on the complexities family-run businesses face every day, and I look forward to offering additional guidance to the board as Family Enterprise USA continues its important work in Washington, DC.”

In addition, Nielsen serves as Vice President – Treasurer and Director of the Nielsen-Massey Foundation; Mentor, Panelist and Executive-In-Residence in Kellogg’s John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises, is an advisor to start up Sunday Night Foods; and a member of the Loyola University Family Business Center.

“Matt Nielsen has a unique insight into consumer product family businesses and the many negative regulatory issues they face, and he brings a strong entrepreneurial perspective to running and growing a family business for over one hundred years,” said Family Enterprise President, Soldano. “Matt understands better than anyone the national and international ramifications of unfair taxes, tariffs, and workforce issues that can damage generationally-owned family businesses,” she said. “We look forward to having Matt be an active participant on our board and in all the bipartisan Capitol Hill work we do for America’s largest employer, family business.”


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The need for fact-based reporting of issues important to multi generational businesses and protecting a lifetime of savings has never been greater. Now more than ever, multi generational businesses and family businesses are under fire. That's why Family Enterprise USA is passionately working to increase the awareness of issues important to generationally-owned family businesses built on hard work, while continuing to strengthen our presence on Capitol Hill. The issues we fight for or against with Congress in Washington DC include high income tax rates, possible elimination of valuation discounts, increase in capital gains tax, enactment of a wealth tax, and the continued burden of the gift tax, estate tax and generation skipping tax.

Family Enterprise USA promotes generationally owned family business creation, growth, viability, and sustainability by advocating for family businesses and their lifetime of savings with Congress in Washington DC.  Since 2007, Family Enterprise USA has represented and celebrated all sizes, professions and industries of family-owned enterprises and multi-generational employers. It is a bi-partisan 501.c3 organization. Family foundations can donate.

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