Bellarmine on Business Article

John Rupp


Jon Rupp ’13 MBA is The Pie Guy at Kern’s Kitchen, official baker of Derby-Pie®


Kern's Kitchen has been baking Derby-Pie® chocolate nut pies since Jon Rupp’s great-grandparents invented the pie while managing the now-closed Melrose Inn in 1954 and still uses the same secret recipe today. Jon wears many hats, as Kern’s remains a small business. He could be talking to a kitchen manager of a mom-and-pop restaurant one minute and a retail category manager who manages $1 billion in business the next. He could be working on long-term strategy or boxing pies if production needs help. To encapsulate his broad scope of responsibility, he made up his own title: The Pie Guy.
How did your Bellarmine education help prepare you for what you are doing today? 
My Bellarmine MBA helped me prepare for where I am today by providing a broader set of skills to analyze our business as it has been and where it needs to go. It also assisted me in building a much more focused approach on the financial side without losing the personal approach we take with our customers and employees. 
What advice do you have for those interested in pursuing your profession or industry? 
For me, it's all about having authentic, real relationships with customers, suppliers and co-workers. Immerse yourself in your chosen industry, become a resource, and provide value to others.
What career accomplishments are you most proud of? 
I'm most proud of taking my great-grandmother’s recipe for pecan pie from her original recipe box (the same recipe box that had Derby-Pie® in it) and bringing it to market. It is currently sold right beside Derby-Pie® in Kroger and on our website. Also, working every day with my dad over the last 14-plus years, while challenging, has been extremely rewarding and has provided a lifetime of memories I will cherish.

Tags: MBA

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Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.