Senior V.P. of Global Operations & Distribution
Jelly Belly Candy Co.
Mike Bianco, senior vice president of global operations & distribution at Jelly Belly Candy Co., has made candy a lifelong career. An integral part of Jelly Belly Candy for the last 28 years, Bianco has held various positions before working his way up to overseeing all operations. Prior to joining Jelly Belly, he worked for See’s Candy.
His candy-making vocation started from an excellent foundation, which began with an indentured mechanical apprenticeship in the manufacturing and the printing industry after earning a B.S. degree from Pacific Western University.
With an in-depth understanding of mechanics and the candy manufacturing process, Bianco was a natural fit to serve the Western Candy Conference (WCC) as a president, chairperson, board member and committee member.
Through his role with the WCC and his desire to continue the development and learning in the candy industry, Bianco was able to establish a WCC scholarship program as well as collaborate with the University of California - Davis to help create the School of Food Science there.
Bianco has also devoted time participating on the PMCA Education Committee, serving as a member of the National Confectioners’ Association (NCA) Technical Committee and as a past president of the American Association of Candy Technologists (AACT).
Ongoing research and development has been key to helping grow the confectionery industry. As a result, Bianco has been involved with the Research Sub-Committee for NCA, worked on a starch drying research with the NCA and AACT, and published papers on panning and printing on candy.
His thorough knowledge of candy manufacturing has been essential to the growth of the Jelly Belly Candy Co., particularly as the company expanded its operations within the world arena by building a greenfield facility in Thailand. Bianco has focused on maintaining the quality of candy production and plant improvements not only with the equipment choices for the Thailand plant, but also through recent installations of several new equipment lines in the company’s U.S. plants.
Well-known throughout the candy industry as a promoter of confectionery, Bianco was recognized by the WCC as its 2002 Candy Maker of the Year. He was subsequently inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame in 2005 and awarded the NCA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009.
In 2013 Bianco was inducted as an Honorary Commander at Travis Air Force Base, subsequently being nominated and attending the National Security Forum.