Strength in Family Leadership
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George A. Sarandos
George Sarandos was born in Vasilitsi, Greece and became orphaned as a young boy. Sponsored by his uncle, he arrived in America through Ellis Island in 1951 at the age of 15. After graduating from high school in Houston, George joined the U.S. Army and served in the 82nd Airborne Division as a paratrooper. Upon his honorable discharge, he opened the first independent pizzeria in the city of Houston in April of 1960, inspired by the enjoyment he gained from eating pizza while serving in the U.S. Army in Europe.
In 1968, George and his brother, Ernest Sarandos, opened the Sarandos Deodorant Company in Houston, Texas. There, they developed, patented, and manufactured household deodorizers which included Mr. Blue, Fresh Air toilet bowl deodorizer blocks, Carpet Fresh and Pet Fresh. In 1978, Sarandos Deodorant Company was purchased by Presto Products, a division of Coca Cola Foods, where George served as Vice President.
In 1976, George opened the Athena Restaurant and Imports, a traditional Greek restaurant named after his beautiful wife, Athena. There he introduced the gyro sandwich to the market and it became an instant success. The Athena was a popular Greek restaurant in Houston for many years and was adored by many celebrities.
In 1984, George established Alpha Foods Co. a USDA frozen pizza manufacturing company where he currently serves as the CEO. Alpha Foods Co. is a successful, nationally recognized and well-respected pizza manufacturing establishment serving a wide customer base while experiencing continued growth and expansion under his leadership.
George enjoys deer hunting, gardening, and tending to his cattle, goats and chickens. In his spare time, George also enjoys watching western movies and is well known for his gourmet cooking and bread making. George has been married to the love of his life, Athena, for 60 years. He is an active member of his church community and a proud grandfather of his 5 adult grandchildren.
In 1984, Athena Sarandos was instrumental in establishing Alpha Foods Co., with her husband George. In its early years, Alpha Foods Co. operated as an independent foodservice distributor in Houston, Texas, specializing in Italian foods and pizza products, where Athena managed the customer service and accounting department. As an owner, Athena has been an integral part of the Company since its beginnings, networking with customers at state and national food conventions and managing the day-to-day business operations for the success of Alpha Foods Co.
Over the span of 25 years, Athena became known and respected by Alpha Foods Co.’s customers and her dedication to providing quality products and impeccable service resulted in accelerated growth for the Company and propelled the Company into the manufacturing segment. Together with her husband, George, and much determination they designed and built Alpha Foods Co.’s new manufacturing facility in Waller, Texas in 2010.
As a result of Athena’s leadership, Alpha Foods Co. grew into a successful, nationally recognized, well respected pizza manufacturing establishment serving a wide customer base.
For the past 40 years, she has served as Alpha Foods Co.’s Corporate President and maintains a position on its Board of Directors. Athena is a significant contributor to Alpha Foods Co.’s diversity recognition as a Minority Women’s Business Enterprise (M/WBE), nationally certified through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Athena was born in Piraeus, Greece during WW2. As a teenager her mother’s American family of Greek heritage traveled to Greece to visit family when WW2 broke out. The family did not heed warnings given to US citizens to return home to the states in time and therefore they were detained in Greece for 9 years. During this 9 year stay in Piraeus, Greece, the port city of Athens, her mother met and married her father. Athena was born at their Piraeus home during enemy attacks and active air raid bombings of the city. At age 4, Athena’s family returned to the states where they settled in Austin, Texas. They later moved to Houston, Texas where she met George Sarandos at the wedding of their mutual friends. They have been happily married for 60 years and enjoy managing Alpha Foods Co. with their 3 adult children and their spouses.
Athena has amazing culinary skills and is famous for her delicious Greek baklava, which was featured in Houston at her family’s Greek restaurant, The Athena Restaurant and Imports in the 1970-1980’s. She is a talented artist and enjoys gardening. Athena is an active member of her church community and loves spending time with her 5 adult grandchildren.
Maria has enjoyed a fulfilling career at Alpha Foods Co., since 1986, where she has been actively involved in many aspects of the Company’s overall growth trajectory beginning in her early years as one of its direct sales representatives through her current position as Corporate Vice President. Maria is responsible for overseeing and actively directing several critical facets of Alpha Foods Co. to ensure its ongoing success and financial stability. As one of the Company’s owners, Maria contributes to Alpha Foods Co.’s identification as a nationally certified Minority Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE).
As part of the Company’s Food Safety Leadership Team, Maria was instrumental in developing and implementing Alpha Foods Co.’s comprehensive food safety system in compliance with USDA/FSIS/FDA regulatory parameters and serves as the Company’s SQF Practitioner and HACCP Coordinator. Maria diligently works with Alpha Foods Co.’s Quality Assurance Team on new product development to ensure projects transition through phases of innovation to commercialization at accelerated speeds.
As Vice President, Maria’s executive oversight of Alpha Foods Co.’s Regional Sales Management Team and Sales Channels is paramount to strategic market expansions and the overall long-term advancement of the Company. In her vital role as an officer on the corporate board of directors, Maria is dedicated to the continued success and progression of her family’s company and laser focused on product integrity, product quality, and customer satisfaction.
Maria earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, in 1986. She is married to her lifelong love and best friend, Danny, and they have been blessed with one adult son, Matthew. Maria enjoys gardening, bay-fishing on the Texas coast and reading while listening to the quiet of the outdoors.
Jeanie Anderson has been employed at Alpha Foods as Treasurer and Human Resources Administrator since 1990.
Her direct responsibilities include the oversight of company receivables and payables, banking, payroll administration and various other human resource responsibilities.
Jeanie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University in 1989.
Jeanie lives in Cypress, Texas with her husband Bryan, of 29 years. She enjoys spending time with him and visiting her 2 adult children. She is especially passionate about her alma mater and shares the distinction of being a Texas Aggie with both of her children. Gig’em Aggies! When not at Alpha Foods, Jeanie is an avid traveler and loves spending time researching and planning her next travel adventure.
Arist George Sarandos has been employed at Alpha Foods Co. since 1993 where he began as an outside sales representative. As an owner, his responsibilities include marketing, product development, customer service and broker communications. Arist also works closely with Alpha Foods distribution partners and schools providing guidance for new and existing product purchases. Arist oversees the USDA production room sanitation team and all daily operating activities. Arist maintains a position on the Board of Directors for Alpha Foods Co. and values working in unison with other corporate managers. His wealth of experience has given him insight into growth and development within all departments.
Arist attended Sam Houston State University and enjoys spending time at his ranch with his wife Shay and their two adult children, George and Mary Claire.
Danny joined Alpha Foods in 1990 after receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. His responsibilities include managing all aspects of the USDA Foods Commodity Program that awards millions of pounds of commodity cheese annually to Alpha Foods for exclusive use in the National School Lunch Program. Under this program, Danny is responsible for maintaining contracts in good order and ensuring program compliance with USDA Food and Nutrition Service headquarters in Alexandria, VA, each State Distributing Agency, and each school district nationwide that award their commodity business to Alpha Foods. In addition to his responsibilities under the USDA Foods Commodity Program, Danny is also responsible for maintaining Inventory Accounting, AP Accounting, and all insurance contracts for Alpha Foods.
Bryan Anderson has been an integral part of the Alpha Foods Co. management team since 1992. He is currently the Company’s Operations Manager overseeing procurement, manufacturing and logistics.
Bryan’s contributions to Alpha Foods Co. are immeasurable as exemplified by his ongoing dedication to managing the production facility with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all purchase orders are fulfilled timely and accurately.
Bryan’s outstanding product knowledge and decades long vendor relationships are keys to his success of procuring an abundant supply of input ingredients and packaging materials to consistently meet Alpha Foods Co.’s production requirements. Bryan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Ecology from Iowa State in 1992.
Bryan lives in Cypress, Texas, with the love of his life, Jeanie.
Shay is the Bid Coordinator and Billback Manager for Alpha Foods Co. in the K-12 sector. She is also responsible for all initial workforce training and continuing education of Alpha Foods Co. employees that ensures the organization’s commitment to produce safe products under high quality standards. As part of the Alpha team, Shay is actively involved with compliance of the SQF, HACCP, USDA/FDA, MWBE, and IFTA programs.
Prior to joining Alpha Foods Co. in 2004, Shay worked in various Texas school districts as a Speech Communications and English teacher. She is a 1993 graduate of Angelo State University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education with a focus in Mass Communications and English.
Shay and her husband Arist have two adult children, George and Mary Claire. Their family enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time together outdoors.
Mike Jackson began his career with Alpha Foods Co. in 1989 as an order selector and general warehouse member. Presently he is the shipping & receiving manager in charge of overseeing all inbound and outbound freight along with transportation and fleet management. Mike has been a dedicated team member of Alpha Foods Co. for decades and is passionate about shipping purchase orders at a 100% fill rate. Prior to joining the Alpha Foods team, Mike was the cheesemaker for his family’s cheese manufacturing company, Navasota Cheese, until it closed in 1988.
Steve Rose is the Production Manager of Alpha Foods Co. in Waller, TX where he oversees all production within the facility while also assisting in warehouse operations. He started with Alpha in 2011 and has been instrumental in cultivating a productive, innovative, and efficient production environment. Before joining the Alpha Team, he worked as the Operations Manager at Scarmardo Foodservice Inc. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Under his leadership & 15+ years of experience, Alpha’s capacity to expand current product lines and explore new projects has grown steadily.
Atha began working with the Alpha Foods family in 2013 after having been previously employed for several years at Tyson Foods in Arkansas. Atha’s first year with Alpha Foods Co. was spent working as a pizza production team member in the Company’s USDA manufacturing facility. After quickly gaining the knowledge and procedural proficiencies of manufacturing various pizza SKUs, she was promoted to a team member within the Quality Assurance Department. Atha subsequently earned a promotion to Production Line Supervisor in 2019 as Alpha Foods Co.’s production volumes expanded in the K-12 and retail segments. Her skill sets, drive for excellence and understanding of Alpha Foods Co.’s operating procedures and food safety systems resulted in Atha’s promotion to an Assistant Production Manager four years later. As a leader within Alpha Foods Co.’s USDA production department, Atha excels in staff motivation and is dedicated to producing quality pizzas that meet specification parameters.
Margarita joined Alpha Foods Co. in 2011 as a production line team member. Her exemplary work ethics and dedication has been acknowledged over the years. Margarita soon transitioned to a member of Alpha Foods Co.’s Quality Assurance Department.
In 2021, Margarita was promoted to the position of Quality Assurance Manager for Alpha Foods Co.
Margarita is responsible for managing the daily schedule and workflow of the Quality Assurance Team. She oversees that all food safety & quality procedures and product specifications are adhered to, including but not limited to: verification of critical control points, ensuring net weight accuracy and verifying that calibration records are acceptable.
Margarita’s vital responsibilities and reporting also include validating ingredient and finished product monitoring throughout the entire production process, verifying that allergen management and cross contact procedures are enforced and validating the implementation of proper finished case labeling. Margarita is an active member of Alpha Foods Co.’s Employee Training Team and frequently mentors new employees.
Nichole Bond joined Alpha Foods Co. in 2019 as the Central Zone Regional Manager with the responsibility of managing and increasing market share in a 6 state territory. Nichole’s extensive pizza product knowledge and attention to servicing customers has proved to be beneficial and greatly valued by her customers.
Her passion for the K-12 segment spans several years, beginning with Nichole’s employment with a national broker as bid specialist and then progressing into a position as a K-12 Education Specialist working with school districts across Texas. Nichole remains focused on the K-12 segment and enjoys feeding students Alpha’s quality pizzas.
Eve Leon has been the South Zone Regional Manager for Alpha Foods Co. since 2018. Her territory is comprised of Houston, San Antonio, The Valley, El Paso, part of Louisiana, and New Mexico. Eve's career started shortly after college working for a broadline distributor in the North Texas market. The next step in her career took her into the broker community sector of the distribution chain, where she represented Alpha in the Dallas-Fort Worth market for 11 years. During this time is where her passion for K-12 Nutrition and the food manufacturing industry developed.