Special/Signature Issues » 2017 Top 40 Under 40

2017 Top 40 Under 40: Dan Phipps, 39

President and chief operating officer, Red River Foods

Dan Phipps fixes his gaze globally. That’s not to say Red River Foods ‘ president and chief operating officer isn’t active in the local community — he takes his employees and family down to the James River for cleanup outings, to help at Shalom Farms and with Renew Richmond. But it’s Red River’s business to import nuts, seeds and dried fruit that mostly grow in developing countries and that’s broadened his outlook.

The New York native and University of Richmond graduate came here as a teenager when his father, then Red River’s president and chief operating officer, convinced both corporate owner Universal Leaf Tobacco and his employees to move the company south. Phipps took over from his father 10 years ago, and since then, the company has seen rapid growth. It’s also made him conscious of the positive impact a company such as his can make.

“I want to try to help as many people around the world live better lives,” he says. To that end, Phipps has started corporate responsibility programs to help the farmers in the countries from which he imports. “Do good by doing well,” he says, are the words that sum up his ethos.

“As a company,” says Phipps, “the better we do as a business, the larger impact we can have on the world around us.”