Alex DiNovo is now leading the company his father Tony DiNovo started in 1989. ( Courtesy DNO Inc. )

Alex DiNovo is the new president and chief operating officer of DNO Inc., a Columbus, Ohio-based distributor.

Tony DiNovo, father of Alex DiNovo, founded the company in 1989.

Alex DiNovo said he took the company reins in November 2017, following a yearlong transition phase, during which outsider Alan Hoover had come in to fill the leadership position on an interim basis.

“I’ve been with the company since I was 8 years old,” said Alex DiNovo, now 34.

“I’ve done about everything — sweeping coolers, driving trucks. That’s the best way to do it.”

The company, which has about 150 employees, is looking to grow, DiNovo said.

“Now, it’s about getting the right people in place so we can grow,” he said.

“We need to find a way to increase our sales so we can be a player. In this industry, especially fresh-cut, costs are not going to go down. There are regulatory costs, compliance costs, and they’re all going to go up. And once you get in position to play with the big boys, you need to grow revenue, find top talent.”

Hoover was with the company only during the transition stage, DiNovo said.

“He was just looking for an opportunity to help the company out,” DiNovo said.

“He wasn’t interested in working for a very long time. He set me up for, hopefully, success.”

DiNovo said that, during the transition period, he completed the United Fresh Produce Association’s Produce Industry Leadership Program.