By Matthew Ward
Suffolk-Herald News, January 20, 2015
Coffee roaster Massimo Zanetti held its annual employee awards night at the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts on Monday, honoring a group of individuals who exemplify the “MZB Way.”
The gala evening was designed to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, because the MZB (Massimo Zanetti Beverages) Way’s 10 principles — attributes like being trustworthy and respectful — dovetail with the civil rights leader’s own tenets, company leaders said.
“I pray that we will remember this day and this man … (and) be leaders in our homes, in our communities and in our jobs,” Chief Operating Officer Larry Quier told the employees and invited guests, packed into the Birdsong Theater.
John Boyle, its chief operating officer, said the company wanted to honor King’s accomplishments, his leadership, his values, his determination and his faith.
“He delivered a legacy of hope for generations to come,” Boyle said. “His dream lives in all of us tonight.”
After a short film with personal reflections on King by employees, many of them from Massimo Zanetti’s two Suffolk facilities, the 10 MZB Way finalists were individually called onto the stage.
Up for grabs were seven-day trips for two, one to Kauai, Hawaii — home of the company’s 3,100-acre coffee plantation — and a second to Washington and New York.
Joy North, manager of production planning in Portsmouth, scooped the Kauai vacation, while Monica White, a logistics clerk at the distribution warehouse in Suffolk, is off to America’s seat of power and the Big Apple.
If the evening weren’t glamorous enough already, with everyone dressed to the nines, special guest Kenya Moore, former Miss USA and now a cosmetics entrepreneur, producer, actor and a star of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” soon made up for any deficit.
Following the awards segment was a reception in appreciation of employees, held in the Taylor Gray Ballroom and with appetizers, cake and non-alcoholic beverages — of course, including coffee.
A screening of Monday’s episode of Apprentice, which features Massimo Zanetti brand Chock full o’Nuts, was up next. Moore gave a short speech beforehand, saying it was a pleasure to be in Hampton Roads, where the company was making her feel like part of the family.
After the airing, Moore obliged star-struck employees with autographs and photo-ops, company spokeswoman Suzanne Ary said.
Chock full o’Nuts appeared in the TV show to promote a new single-serve product, with two teams facing off to create a viral commercial.