Greek-American business owner Peter Mouskondis was given a rare opportunity Tuesday night: he was invited to President Obama’s State of the Union in Washington, D.C. and sat in the First Lady’s viewing box.
Peter and his wife, Nicole, are President and Senior Vice President of Nicholas & Company, a distributor based in Salt Lake City, Utah that delivers food and service to six states in the U.S. and is celebrating 75 years in business.
As listed on their website, Nicholas & Company was founded in 1939 by Nicholas William Mouskondis. Nicholas left his home in Crete, Greece, to forge a better life in the United States of America, “the land of promise and opportunity.” With an eighth grade education, no knowledge of the English language and a sign on his back reading “Utah,” Nicholas Mouskondis began his long journey to Salt Lake City.
Since then, Nicholas & Company has been honored with numerous awards, including the 2013 Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility; 2012 Excellence in Distribution Award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association; Best of State Statue Winner in 2003, 2006, and 2009-2012; Utah Department of Work Force Services Work/Life Award Legacy, 2001-2012; and Utah Business Magazine, Best Companies to Work for in 2005, 2011, 2013. The company has also been recognized for its achievements, and is involved in many charities and community programs.
A statement from the White House praised Nicholas & Company’s “culture of mutual respect and care among and for its employees, emphasizing work-life balance and benefits, including maternity, paternity, and bereavement leave.”
Peter Mouskondis also released a statement, saying, “Our success at Nicholas & Company is directly related to our family-friendly approach and the work of my grandmother, mother and wife in making work-life balance an essential part of our culture.”