A Story of Faithfulness
Dave Latter, owner and CEO of Morehouse Foods, was the University's first business graduate (1950). Dave has continued to support PLNU, and was the AIB's first Corporate Sponsor. After graduating from Pasadena College, he went on to join his father in the mustard business started in 1898 by his grandfather.
In an interview with Mr. Latter we asked how his time at the University framed his view of business as well as asking his advice for current graduating students and existing alumni.
PLNU: How did your education at PLNU contribute to the success of Morehouse Foods?
DL: It was everything I needed to get started in business. All the information I learned from textbooks became real life. It was all very applicable and relative to the business world. I passed up top universities in California to attend this smaller university because I knew they offered something special.
PLNU: When you stepped into your family business, what skills learned from PLNU did you rely on?
DL: Being in a family business is different than other businesses. I had to be mindful that this was a generational situation with several parties and interests involved. One should always remember to step back and look at the bigger picture. Remember that you serve as a part of a team so there is a give and take. Be aware of other peoples’ perspectives and interests and you will go far. From PLNU I am thankful to have a minor degree in psychology where I learned a lot of people skills. The toughest part is not necessarily what is taught in textbooks, but rather the people aspect of it. The biggest challenge is learning how to develop people through helping them find their passion. The key is to guide them in how to draw it out for their own purposes and for the greater contribution of the company.
PLNU: What current changes do you see in business today that business students and alumni should be prepared for?
DL: Students and business professionals have been given special tools and advanced technology that weren’t even thought of early in my career. However they carry with them a responsibility to implement them wisely. The easy thing to do is compromise and abuse them, resist doing that. You will be faced with having to make decisions regularly throughout your career. Be prepared, resist compromise. And remember core principles you learned at PLNU, they teach you to do things right.
PLNU: Why do you feel it is important to stay connected to PLNU through the Business Alumni?
DL: It provides a great support group and valuable lifelong friendships that will continue long after you leave campus. These things are important to have throughout the course of your career. It is also important to give back, even if it’s a small amount. It’s a win-win: you benefit as alumni by having access to PLNU resources, and the university benefits through a high percentage of alumni engagement and strong ratings.
PLNU: What advice do you have for our newest alumni, the business graduates of 2012?
DL: In many fields it is yet a bleak job market, so be prepared to take a job that may not be in your exact field. Just get situated somewhere and then give it your best. You never know where the road may lead, and it never hurts to acquire knowledge in other areas. It’ll make you well-rounded and could look very good on your resume. Just get started. I wish them all the best success.
Morehouse Foods has been in operation since 1898 and manufactures and distributes mustard products all around the world. Morehouse mustard is the official mustard of the Los Angeles Dodgers and its famous Atomic Horseradish has been featured on Food Network’s Unwrapped and History Channel’s Modern Marvels.
The Alumni in Business Auxiliary is fortunate to have Dave Latter as a fellow alum in business and a supporter of our organization. Thank you Dave!