SALT LAKE CITY — Utah businessman Peter Mouskondis was a guest of the White House during Tuesday night's State of the Union address.
Mouskondis is chief executive officer and president of Nicholas & Co., a family-owned and operated broadline food service distribution company. The third-generation company employs more than 500 people.
Mouskondis, who according to published reports started working for the family business when he was 12 years old, was seated in the box with first lady Michelle Obama, Jill Biden and Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president.
Invited guests "represent the stories of millions of Americans across the country who are working hard to better their communities, improve their own economic outcomes and help restore opportunity for all," a White House press release said.
Nicholas & Co. has been recognized in Utah and nationally for its culture of mutual respect and care of employees, emphasizing work-life balance and benefits, including maternity, paternity and bereavement leave.
“Our success at Nicholas & Co. is directly related to our family-friendly approach and the work of my grandmother, mother and wife in making work-life balance an essential part of our culture,” Mouskondis is quoted in the White House press release.
Founded more than 70 years ago, the company serves the food service industry in six states and carries more than 10,000 products, according to the company's website.
"We have assembled resources that include a team of food service experts, state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge technology, exemplary food safety practices, and refined efficiencies. We are committed to remaining family-owned, which allows us to answer to Main Street, not Wall Street," the website states.
In the past 12 years, the company has received numerous awards, including the Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility; the Utah Department of Workforce Services Work/Life Award Legacy; and the Utah Business Magazine's Best Companies to Work For.
Mouskondis could not be reached for comment Tuesday.