Scecina President Joe Therber introduces Joe Caito (left) to the Business Management Class.
By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications
Though Joe Caito and Kate (Jeffers) Schreiber graduated from Scecina years apart, they share a common bond as entrepreneurs and businesspeople. They were the first two in a series of alumni speakers who are sharing their wisdom with 23 current Scecina students in the business management class.
After Joe Caito graduated from Scecina in 1963, he and brother Phil, Scecina Class of 1961, started to build what became a thriving business delivering fresh produce.
As a Crusader with more than five decades of business experience under his belt, Mr. Caito was a fitting choice to be the first speaker. Mrs. Schreiber ‘91, who has been building a Bricks 4 Kidz franchise for five years, was the second speaker for the class.
The business management class is an advanced-level business course that focuses on the opportunities and challenges of ethically managing a business in the free enterprise system.
Mr. Caito shared insights about leadership, innovation, and management.
He and his brother started their business in Downtown Indianapolis in the early 1960s. The business grew and became Caito Foods LLC, a company specializing in fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing to customers nationwide. Caito Foods reported sales of more than $700 million in fiscal 2016. In January 2017 the sale of Caito Foods to Spartan Nash was finalized in a deal reported to be worth more than $217 million. Spartan Nash, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a grocery retailer-distributor.
“I was intrigued to hear how he started from the bottom and strived to get to the top,” said senior Abe Avila.
“Several students came up after class to ask Mr. Caito some of their business-related questions,” said business teacher Pam Brake. “I think they really liked hearing from someone who has actually been successful in real life doing some of the things that they are just beginning to learn about.”
Kate (Jeffers) Schreiber '91 spoke to the class about operating a franchise. She and her husband, Ben, own a Bricks 4 Kidz franchise.
Mrs. Schreiber and her husband, Ben, also a 1991 graduates of Scecina, started their franchise five years ago. Bricks 4 Kidz is nationwide franchise with the motto “We Learn. We Build. We Play.” It offers camps and afterschool workshops that focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) by teaching kids how to build with Legos blocks. Students even use robotics and build creations with moving parts.
The Schreibers started the second Bricks 4 Kidz in Indiana.
Mrs. Schreiber, a former teacher, said she decided to build the business methodically, only offering afterschool programs. It took a lot of time, persistence, and energy in the beginning. The business, which expanded into summertime camps, now the business is profitable, she said.
Mrs. Brake said it’s been especially helpful for students to know that the speakers are alumni of Scecina Memorial High School.
“They’re someone successful who comes from a background similar to theirs,” she said. “They appreciated the time they took to be with them and look forward to hearing more from other Scecina alumni.”
Students will hear from more, including Dr. Sheila (Barton) Bosron ’60 and Rick Smith ’69, who are scheduled to speak this semester.