5 questions with Eric Hodel, new CEO of Midwest Food Bank | Local News

Each week The Pantagraph profiles a different community member. Know someone we should talk to? Email kheather@pantagraph.com.

Position: CEO of Midwest Food Bank

1. You effectively took over as CEO of Midwest Food Bank on Jan. 1. How has the year been so far?

I believe starting a year well is important and a function of how well you end the prior year. I am very pleased with each division and the excellent December we collectively had as an organization. This has prepared us well for 2022. I am honored and humbled to be in this position, but I recognize we are all a part of the Midwest Food Bank team. So, I am thankful to be a part of the team. I recognize my responsibilities as a coach and leader.

2. What experience and background did you bring to this position?

My career experiences have been fairly broad and cross functional. From engineering, marketing, business management, supply chain and product strategy. This has enabled me to realize there are many others that know a lot about each of these areas and together we learn from each other to make the best possible decisions at the time. I also was the chief financial officer and chief operations officer at Midwest Food Bank since April 2017.


Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton and Eric Hodel, chief executive and chief financial officer of Midwest Food Bank, discuss the growing number of hungry households in Illinois during her July 6, 2021, visit to the Normal facility.

Sierra Henry

3. What are some things you would like to change or improve at Midwest Food Bank?

I am a refiner by nature, so continuous improvement is a lot how I think about opportunities and challenges. For Midwest Food Bank, I hope we can continue to grow our food donor base and nutritional sourcing. And I hope to continue and improve and invest in our facilities through purchase or long term leasing.

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4. What is something that has been working well at Midwest Food Bank?

We have a tremendous heritage, fantastic volunteer base, and have sustainably grown our agencies and food distribution. We have also continued to build good relationships around disaster relief and tender mercy programs.


Brandon Lipps, right, deputy undersecretary for food nutrition and consumer services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, listens to Eric Hodel, then Midwest Food Bank COO/CFO, during a tour of the Normal warehouse on Oct. 27, 2020.

5. How can the Midwest Food Bank grow to provide more food across the world?

Growing our tender mercies program and partnerships with other organizations can help us reach more people.

Contact Kade Heather at 309-820-3256. Follow him on Twitter: @kadeheather

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