Culture. Community. Caramel shakes. Essentials for creating a booming business—at least Steven Sernett ’90 thinks so. For the past ten-plus years, Sernett has helped Premier Nutrition Corporation (PNC) grow from a small, ten-person operation to a company of 125 and counting.
PNC might not be in your vocabulary, but many of its top confections likely are—PowerBar, Premier Protein, Supreme Protein, and Joint Juice.
Sernett’s dad owned a small chain of department stores in Iowa, so it made sense when he came to Santa Clara to study in the Retail Management Institute. Now he is VP of operations for a company that calls itself “the good energy company,” bringing healthy products to the market.
“Everything we do reflects our good energy culture, whether it’s how we work together as a team, how we work with our suppliers and our customers, how we interact,” Sernett says. “When you’re in the product supply business, there are times when you’re working at all hours of the day to ensure that product continues to get produced, and it’s getting produced in the right way.”
Sernett credits Santa Clara for inspiring him to team up with a company conscious of community. In contrast to past jobs, PNC’s smaller size invites an environment where impact ripples farther and wider, which is what drew him to Santa Clara in the first place.
“The Retail Management Institute was a big help,” Sernett said. “Through internships and exposure to leaders from different retail organizations, it took college life and helped me transition it into a career.”
His favorite energy-boosting snack? Caramel shakes, of course. He credits the shakes for much of the company’s growth, so it’s only natural they’re his go-to.
But even tastier is working a job he loves. In addition to these new launches, like the company’s plant bar, PNC is expanding in size and scope. It’s already on the hunt for a new office, one that Sernett hopes doesn’t abandon the scrappy feel of a start-up.
PERLA LUNA ’19 worked as an intern for Santa Clara Magazine and now serves as editor-in-chief of The Santa Clara, SCU’s student newspaper.