Matt Nielsen

Matt Nielsen is a third-generation owner and executive for Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Inc., Managing Director of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas International LLC and Managing Director of Nielsen Real Estate BV. The company’s headquarters is in Waukegan, Illinois with manufacturing facilities in Waukegan, Illinois and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

His responsibilities include overseeing the company’s Strategic Initiatives. For 20+ years Matt also had responsibility for the company’s worldwide operations and retail and foodservice sales.

Matt is a graduate of Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and holds a Certificate of Professional Achievement in Family Business Leadership and Governance from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Evanston, Illinois.

He is currently a Director for Nielsen-Massey Vanillas; Director for Graziano Brothers; Vice President – Treasurer and Director of the Nielsen-Massey Foundation; Treasurer and Director of the Specialty Food Foundation; Director of The French Pastry School’s Curriculum Advisory Board; and a member of the Loyola University Family Business Center.

He is a past Director and Officer of the Specialty Food Association; the Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing; and an advisor for three specialty food startup companies – Droga Chocolates, Rare Bird Preserves and Two Fold.

Matt lives in Lake Bluff, Illinois with his wife, Amy, and their son, Tyler. In his free time, Matt enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, riding his motorcycle and cooking, particularly authentic, competition BBQ.

Boards, Committees, Memberships, Recognitions

  • The Nielsen-Massey Foundation Board of Directors, Vice President-Treasurer
  • Specialty Food Association Board of Directors, Vice Chair
    • Admissions Committee Chair
    • Compensation Committee Chair
  • Specialty Food Foundation Board of Directors
  • Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) member
  • International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) member
  • Loyola University Family Business Center member
  • Gourmet News magazine specialty food industry “20 Under 40” awardee (2006)
  • Wayland Academy Alumni Achievement Award (2015)