Nate Stewart
Nate Stewart
Age 36 | President, Perishable Distributors of Iowa

Before Nate Stewart was president of Perishable Distributors of Iowa (PDI), Hy-Vee Inc.’s largest subsidiary, he mowed the grounds at the company’s headquarters. He also worked in a Hy-Vee warehouse during college and did the graveyard shift at a Hy-Vee gas station.

However, after college, Stewart went down a different route and became a funeral director. Although he enjoyed it, he said he missed the energy and pace of working in retail, so after three years, he went back to his roots and worked at a Hy-Vee supermarket in Ankeny.

He quickly worked his way up the corporate ladder and, in October 2011, he became the president of PDI, which distributes meat, seafood, dairy products and frozen food throughout the state.

“He has been an incredible force within the Hy-Vee organization,” wrote Mary Hunter, executive director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, in a nomination letter. “He is respected among his industry colleagues, Hy-Vee peers, executives and friends.”

But getting to where he is now hasn’t been easy. Stewart said he has moved seven times in the last 10 years, working in Omaha, Kansas City and Sioux Falls, among other Midwestern cities.

“I missed the familiarity,” he said. “It was almost like being abroad. I missed reading the paper and knowing where the high schools were in a sports story. I missed the memories associated with them.”

However, Stewart found time to help out even as he moved from city to city. He’s involved with the Knights of Columbus, the Variety -- The Children’s Charity telethon and is a past board member of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Greater Iowa chapter.

But now that he’s staying put for a while, he said he’s excited to get involved in the community.

“I’m excited to be involved with my kids’ schools,” he said. “I’m just ready to give back to the community.” Stewart and his wife, Erin, have two children: Quinn, 9, and Jillian, 6.

Five reasons he’s a 40:

• Quickly rose through the ranks from assistant manager of a Hy-Vee supermarket to president of Perishable Distributors of Iowa.

• Past board member of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Greater Iowa chapter.

• Recipient of 2011 Hy-Vee Officer of the Year award in operations.

• Volunteer for Variety – The Children’s Charity telethon.

• Active with the Knights of Columbus.

Fun Fact:

Stewart is naturally left-handed, but has trained himself to write using his right hand. “My handwriting is actually better when I use my right hand,” he said.

Meet the 2012 Forty Under 40 Honorees

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Sondra Ashmore - IBM Corp.
Shannon Baird - JE Dunn Construction Co.
J. Eric Boehlert - Ahlers & Cooney P.C.
Nataliya Boychenko - Holmes Murphy and Associates Inc.
Becki Brommel - BrownWinick
Catherine Cownie - BrownWinick
Spencer Cox - Vending Services Inc.
Scott Crawford - RDG Planning & Design
Tony Dickinson - Wells Fargo Bank
Shannon Duval - Mercy Foundation
Meg Fitz - Greater Des Moines Partnership
Tim Hayes - McLellan Marketing Group
Christi Hegstad - MAP Professional Development Inc.
Naura Heiman Godar - StruXture Architects LLC
Danielle Hermann - OPN Architects Inc.
Sara Kobilka - Science Center of Iowa
Liz Lidgett - Kum & Go LC
Holly Logan - Weinhardt & Logan P.C.
Matthew Marckmann - Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Bryan Michael - Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.
Ben Milne - Dwolla Corp.
Suzanne Mineck - Mid-Iowa Health Foundation
Nikki Miras Mordini - Davis Brown Law Firm
David Nelmark - Belin McCormick P.C.
Anthony Nguyen - Wells Fargo Bank
Lynh Nguyen Patterson - Delta Dental of Iowa
Matt Nuetzman - InFocus Partners
Brad Phillips - Farm Bureau Financial Services
Tina Potthoff - MidAmerican Energy Co.
Erin Schneider - Censeo Solutions Inc.
Steve SchraderBachar - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc.
Jamie Schug - Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority
Kristina Stanger - Nyemaster Goode P.C.
Nate Stewart - Perishable Distributors of Iowa Ltd.
Jason Stone - Davis Brown Law Firm
Mellisa Stover - Bankers Trust Co.
Tray Wade - Hospice of Central Iowa
Eric Wieland - Federal Emergency Management Agency
Geoff Wood - Silicon Prairie News