Fresh food and great opportunities: How a BCIT education really delivers for alum and Food-X Vice President Reza Bafandeh

The warehouse is always abuzz with activity. Humming conveyor belts efficiently move large grocery bins, waiting to be filled. Countless rows of towering shelves display every food imaginable. Pickers methodically pass through every section, ensuring customers get exactly what they ordered when they want it.

This is Reza Bafandeh’s domain. A BCIT Business alumnus, he is the vice president of supply chain at Food-X Technologies. It’s hard to believe he was a high school drop-out.

“I was struggling with a few courses,” he says, recalling his Grade 12 year. “At the time, I didn’t think education was meant for me. So I dropped out.”

Reza ended up working an assortment of jobs in labour and retail for a couple of years before he realized that, without an education, he likely wouldn’t achieve the life he wanted. He needed a career.

With renewed focus, Reza earned his GED certificate and then enrolled at BCIT. He completed a diploma in Operations Management in 2010 and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (with honours) in 2011, and his career has been on an upward trajectory ever since.

Disrupting an industry

“We believe the customer is the CEO,” Reza says about what makes Food-X Technologies—a fresh food delivery platform facility—exceptional. “Grocery is a very intimate purchase because it’s something you eat and give to your family. It’s a consistent, habitual purchase so consistency in the quality of the product is important. It’s important to ensure the customer is happy and that they get exactly what they want.”

The platform isn’t just customer-focused, it’s also highly efficient and designed to be as sustainable as possible.

“Food-X leveraged technology and built a highly efficient platform around sustainable grocery delivery that any retailer can use,” Reza explains. Since the company launched in 2018, Walmart in the Lower Mainland has become a customer, utilizing Food-X’s systems to fulfill its own online grocery orders.

Reza says the company is looking at offering its platform to more retailers internationally. The hope? To deliver on the company’s mission to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

“To that end, we’re working to change customer behaviour,” he says. “Sure, we could, for example, just try delivering with less plastic. And that’s great, but it’s a small impact that is very local. We want to impact sustainability in the world, and building this platform and offering it to big retailers will help us do that in a big way.”

Reza was an instrumental part of the first full design of the warehousing systems, working with his team to build Food-X’s scalable platform and disrupt the grocery delivery space.

Teamwork is the key

Teamwork is key to the success of Food-X Technologies. Reza says it’s the most important lesson he learned during his time at BCIT.

“To be successful, you can’t be a one-person army,” he says. “At BCIT, it’s really hard to complete your program individually. You have to work with your team, identify each other’s strengths, work collectively, and help each other.”

Reza says choosing BCIT was the best decision he ever made. “I genuinely love what I do. What I learned from BCIT not only prepared me for the workforce, it also gave me a hands-on education with some of the best instructors who genuinely care about you. If they see that you’re struggling, they help you through it.”

After graduating from BCIT with a diploma and degree, he returned to earn two more certifications. He also completed an MBA from Queen’s University. A firm believer in lifelong learning, Reza is also a BCIT instructor, teaching operations management to the next generation of superstars.

What’s next? Says this high-school-drop-out-turned-vice-president, “I’m going to go for a PhD in supply chain management.”

Learn more about the School of Business, the Operations Management program, and the Bachelor of Business Administration.

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