Meet a Food Banker: Ryan VanMaldegen

Ryan's headshot

Our next Meet a Food Banker spotlight is Ryan, who has been with the food bank for over 21 years!

What do you do at the food bank?

My role at the food bank is the Logistics Manager. I supervise all of our driving personnel here at the Comstock Park location. I also do compliance and Federal Motor Carrier regulations across our service area. Typically each day I schedule our truck drivers for various retail pickup runs, schedule donation pickups, schedule drivers and equipment for Mobile Pantries and look over sites for suitability for distributions. I also make sure our drivers are compliant with all Federal Motor Carrier regulations, state and federal law and other things with the Department of Transportation.

How did you end up in this role?

My journey in food banking started in July of 2002, and I’ve had a lot of roles since then! I started as a part-time Picker—which is fulfilling the orders of our partners—when I was in high school and I actually used that money to pay my own tuition for school at the time. After I graduated, I moved to full time. I worked in various roles in the warehouse after that; the freezers, Reclamation, shopping area and shopping cooler. In 2007, I moved to our Mobile Pantry department where I was the assistant and I eventually took over as Mobile Pantry Coordinator. I became Programs Manager in 2014, and in 2020 I took over as Logistics Manager.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part is that I don’t know how each day is going to go when I walk through the door! I always have to be willing to react and make accommodations and plans if things change. Logistics is always evolving.

Any standout memories?

One of my more memorable moments was when I attended the 2015 Feeding America Operations Conference. I got the chance to speak on our Mobile Pantry program and how it has evolved throughout the years. I got other food banks involved with the Mobile Pantry program and also talked about what innovations and things we’ve integrated into our own program that could help other food banks, including our software.

What motivates you to fight hunger?

I’m all about public service. I really like helping those in need in our community and getting food to those who may not have a chance to have something to eat each day. For me, that’s a big deal and I look forward to helping make sure people get the food they need.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy the outdoors! I cut and do firewood. I am also an avid living historian and Civil War reenactor, which I’ve done for the past 25 years. I do a lot of travelling for that. I am also a reserve deputy for Lake County Sheriff’s office and have been since 2013.