Vice President of Quality Assurance / Research & Development
Ghirardelli Chocolate Co.
San Leandro, Calif.
Steve Genzoli is the youngest of eight children who were born to second-generation farmers in the Central Valley town of Hughson, Calif. Graduating from high school in 1982, it was clear that the family farm was not large enough to support another sibling, so Genzoli set his sights on the food industry, first attending Modesto Jr. College and then transferring to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in food science.
Having always had a sweet tooth, he chose to work for Nestle, in the company’s Salinas, Calif. chocolate factory. The first five or so years were spent working in the factory in various operations management roles — primarily in the roasting, grinding and pressing of cocoa beans and chocolate liquor. Genzoli was then transferred to Upstate New York, where Nestle operated its largest chocolate factory. There he worked in the Technical Services Group, where he honed his technical skills, providing trouble shooting to the Nestle chocolate factories in the United States.
Genzoli left Nestle and joined Fuji Vegetable Oil where he held the role of Technical Marketing Manager out of Fuji’s White Plains, N.Y. office. In this role Steve supported the technical needs of Fuji’s key customers in both the United States and South America.
After almost 4 years with Fuji, Ghirardelli Chocolate was looking for someone to lead their quality and R&D efforts, so Genzoli jumped at the opportunity to join the iconic West Coast brand.
He has been with Ghirardelli for 19 years, starting out as the director of QA and R&D. In 2007, he was promoted to vice president of QA and R&D and also assumed responsibility for packaging engineering and consumer affairs. Genzoli is a member of the company’s management team where he helps set and execute company strategic direction.
Genzoli credits much of his success to the help and mentorship he has received throughout his career. As a result, he feels strongly about giving back to the industry that he loves. He has been active with PMCA for 20-plus years, serving on various committees as well as serving on the board of directors. He is also active with the NCA and held a seat on the Chocolate Council since its inception. Lastly he has served on the Executive Board of the World Cocoa Foundation where he was a past vice chairman.
In his spare time, Genzoli volunteers at his children’s schools, serves on his church’s Pastoral Council and farms 20 acres of almonds back on the family farm with his wife Karen of 28 years and their three children, Marisa, Hayden and Griffin.