February 13, 2019

Orlando Sentinel Feature: Central Floridian of the Year Finalist John Rivers

John Rivers serves people more than just barbecue

John Rivers’ passion for barbecue was established as a child through weekly meals with his grandfather at a Jacksonville barbecue joint. It was later fueled by a hunger to present his wife Monica’s Texan relatives a choice piece of smoked brisket.

In his early 40s, that passion was buried under the work of running a large pharmaceutical company as president — the fulfillment of an objective he had set before himself in college.

“You might have a goal, but if your heart and your passion is somewhere different, it doesn’t matter quite frankly your status, your title, and it doesn’t matter how much money you’re making,” Rivers said recently during a podcast. “You’re not going to fill that hole until you step into your passion.”

A family in need awoke a passion that combined his love of barbecue with a wish to help his community.

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