Global bakery manufacturer and ingredients supplier Dawn Foods has announced the opening of its first-ever Digital Innovation Hub, located in Boston. Under the leadership of Dawn’s chief digital officer, Bob Howland, the Innovation Hub team will play an instrumental role in developing digital solutions for Dawn’s bakery customers.

As one of the top growing tech centers in the U.S., Dawn selected Boston for its Digital Innovation Hub due to the city’s booming tech scene, legacy B2B commerce firms and skilled talent pool. Opening its doors on September 2 in Boston’s beautiful Back Bay neighborhood, Howland has started to build his team and is looking to expand it to a staff of 10 by year-end.

“Dawn Foods has a rich heritage and a bright future ahead. By opening our Digital Innovation Hub in Boston, and investing in an area with rich tech talent, I am confident we are putting the right infrastructure in place to develop the right digital solutions for both Dawn and our customers,” said Howland. "Additionally, these critical investments will drive added enhancements for the baking industry as a whole – from cost and time savings to access to a wider array of products, offerings and inspirational recipes.”

For nearly a century, Dawn has created high-quality bakery ingredients and products for customers around the world. Celebrating its 100-anniversary next year, the company has worked hard to build trusted relationships with its customers and partners. The team in Boston will play a critical role in this mission and, over the next 12 months, will be focused on developing the digital tools necessary to engage customers, mature Dawn’s business model, and evolve the broader market. Digital enhancements will allow bakers to manage their inventory and shipments 24/7 – whenever and wherever they want.  From online ordering to monthly market assessments, the tool will be a game changer for the artisanal baking community, brought to them by a trusted partner that understands their business.

Building his team from the ground up, Howland is looking for passionate, curious, and entrepreneurial-minded talent who want a front-row seat to shape Dawn’s future business and shape digital across the food services industry. This summer, Howland has started the process of hiring for his team and hopes to have a team of ten in place before year end.  The specific roles include Product Managers, UX Designers, QA/Testing and Senior Engineers/Software Developers.  The team will have a unique opportunity to create a vision around the art of the possible and then go execute it.  Howland will continue to expand his team in 2020 and beyond.

Key new hires include:

  • Kristin Pados, senior director of product management: Pados will lead the day-to-day operations of Dawn’s digital sites, build a high-performing product team and instill an Agile software development process. She will play a critical role as a thought leader for Dawn’s digital journey, bringing expertise to key stakeholders, field leadership and external partners. Pados has worked on the business side of the technology sector for 20 years, most recently working as a consultant. She also previously worked for Nara Logics, TripAdvisor and Apple.
  • Gireesh Sahukar, senior director of digital technology: Sahukar will provide technology architecture expertise, guidance, and governance to ensure platform stability, risk management and mitigation, adherence to standards and optimization. He will lead Dawn’s digital software development efforts by building and mentoring an internal team of developers and manage third-party external development teams as the company instills an Agile software development process. Sahukar joins Dawn from Keurig Dr. Pepper, where he served as director of digital enterprise architecture.

Howland joined Dawn Foods in February 2019 and is building Dawn’s digital capabilities and driving business model transformation. Prior to Dawn, he worked for Blueport Commerce, a Boston-based e-commerce platform for furniture, used by the largest retailers in North America. He has also held positions focused on digital, e-commerce and marketing at companies such as GSI Commerce, The Vanguard Group, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, and American Express.