On July 4, Rand Skolnick, 50, president and chief executive officer of Solgar Vitamin and Herb, died of pancreatic cancer at his summer home in New Hope, Pennsylvania. In honour of his 25-year legacy to the natural-products industry, and his numerous philanthropic efforts, the following are thoughts from a few of the many people he touched throughout his lifetime.
Natural Products Association's President's Award:
"This year's [posthumous] recipient is Rand Skolnick, president and CEO worldwide of Solgar Vitamin and Herb, headquartered in Leonia, New Jersey.
Skolnick is the third son to Allen and Connie Skolnick, longtime pioneers of the dietary-supplements- and natural-products industry. Skolnick holds a degree from Emory University in biochemistry, and learned the industry from the ground up, helping his father in all aspects of the business, from packing orders and loading trucks, to making major decisions in the board room. He is credited with bringing Solgar, as well as the development and understanding of the importance of dietary supplements, to more than 50 countries worldwide.
Since assuming the CEO position at Solgar in 2005, Skolnick worked to redirect the distribution of Solgar products back to having a product presence only in the specialty marketplace of the natural-foods industry. The support and belief that he has in the independent specialty market is extremely apparent. He is consistently quoted as saying, "A specialty market can only exist with specialty products exclusive to that market."
"He will be remembered as a wonderful son and brother, loving husband, honest businessman and great friend to so many. Most of all, he will always be remembered for his ability to remain humble throughout his all-too-short life. From the beginning of his career until his death, Rand was an avid philanthropist. In the end, people were Rand's greatest joy."
"As independent retailers, we are indebted to the inspiration, energy and passion that Rand brought to our industry and for his overwhelming support for independent health stores. We have a deep regard for all his work, his ethical approach ingrained in the heart of Solgar, his successful quest to stop discounting on the internet and sales of Solgar products coming from anywhere but from independent retailers rather than the multiples. We feel that his presence within the industry made it stronger and, with his vision and enthusiasm, the future appeared more exciting. We are sure that his legacy will continue with Solgar and throughout our industry in the coming years."
Julie is the acting chair, NAHS and owner of Natural Health Store, Hertford and Welwyn Garden City, UK.
"The Bailey House Board of Directors, our dedicated staff, and the men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in New York City who Bailey House serves and houses, mourn with overwhelming sadness the loss of our friend, champion and fellow board member Rand Skolnick. A fierce, loyal and generous advocate for homeless people living with HIV/AIDS, Rand's humanity, wisdom, humor and love will forever be our guide and standard. We extend our deepest condolences to Connie and Allen and the entire Skolnick family who made Rand's cause their own; even as our hearts are breaking, we are awed by your courage and comforted by your grace. We witnessed with joy the great and everlasting love that Rand and Terrence shared. In the darkest, coldest hours, Terrence, you lifted all of us up so we could see by the bright, warm light of your love for Rand. And Rand, our darling Rand, we honor you, we miss you terribly and we will always, always love you."
— The New York Times, July 7, 2008