Verde Farms, a pioneer and leading U.S. provider of 100% grass-fed, 100% pasture-raised, organic beef for retail, club, and foodservice, has nearly tripled its workforce in the last 18 months. Following minority investment from Manna Tree Partners, completion of its Series A, and its highest annual sales increase to date (31%), Verde is intensifying its focus on team growth, including the addition of corporate leaders across the organization with deep meat and CPG experience.
Verde was pleased to expand its board with Johnsonville’s CEO Nick Meriggioli in October 2020, and most recently has welcomed Jane Sinclair Hilk as the board’s 5th member. Jane is a proven marketing leader with roles including SVP of Oscar Mayer and CMO at Kraft Foods, where she led a $3.6B, 450-employee division in addition to a 400-employee marketing and marketing services function. Their experience, along with board member Brent Drever of Manna Tree, has offered valuable insight and resources to Verde’s organization, from sales relationships and marketing expertise to operational assistance. To strengthen organizational development internally this year, Verde has appointed Haily Lai as Vice President of Human Resources, the first senior-level role of its kind.
“We have a great team to build upon our mission and help us reach new milestones. This year is about investing in the growth of that team,” said Dana Ehrlich, CEO & Founder of Verde. “Jane and Nick have been world-class additions to our board. We’ve continued this momentum internally by welcoming seasoned industry leaders across the organization, including Haily Lai as VP of HR. We’re excited to have her as a dedicated “people leader” who will drive our ability to attract, support, and develop top talent.”
With more than a decade of experience in HR across CPG, retail, technology, and hospitality, Haily is skilled in the design and execution of organizational strategy, as well talent development, optimization, and scaling.
Strengthening the business from sales and product to internal manufacturing at its New Jersey facility, recent hires to join Verde also include:
Geordie Shaw, Chief Sales Officer
Geordie has more than two decades of consumer products experience, including senior management positions at Tyson Foods and Jack Links. He comes to Verde with the demonstrated ability to energize business and deliver measurable results, leading through transparency and inclusion for organizational alignment. As CSO, Geordie owns customer relationships, revenue development, category management, and oversees internal and external sales operations. He skillfully develops joint plans with Verde's customers to ensure sustained growth for both companies.
Lorenzo Arguello, Vice President of Operations
Lorenzo comes to Verde with more than 30 years of meat industry experience including beef, lamb, pork & veal. His career includes extensive project and product management, as well as inventory control. Lorenzo now oversees all aspects of Verde’s operations including in-house production. He played a central role in bringing part of Verde’s processing in house at its New Jersey facility and continues to optimize volume and operational excellence.
Claudio Andrade, Director of Quality Assurance
Claudio has led quality assurance for companies including Cargill, JSB Industries, Stonyfield Organic, and Home Market Foods. He holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Biotechnology and graduated from UFTPR’s (Brazil) Food Science and Technology program specializing in Quality Engineering. As QA Director, Claudio implements Verde’s Food Safety Management System while designing continuous improvement initiatives across the company to support business growth.
Eric Watkins, Director of Product Management
Eric has spent his career in CPG including nearly 14 years with Smithfield Foods. His experience spans product and business management, reporting & sales operations, and customer accounting. For Verde, Eric leads new product development, category insights, and pricing strategy.
Kevin Brown, Regional Sales Manager
Leading partnerships with Verde’s key grocery, ecommerce & club customers, Kevin’s previous experience includes CPG sales, trade & category management for Smithfield Foods and SC Johnson.
Jeff Jarvis, Regional Sales Manager
Jeff began his career at Johnsonville Sausages and has helped pioneer, grow, and manage key accounts for SunFed Ranch, Hickory Nut Gap Meats, and Kayem Foods. For Verde, he develops and implements regional sales plans to drive company sales goals.
Verde will be expanding its branded products in grocery, club and natural/specialty channels from organic ground beef to its new Simply! sous vide range. as the year continues. To support ongoing growth, the brand plans to hire an additional 10 corporate roles in 2021. Verde will also grow its internal manufacturing team in New Jersey by 60% or more by EOY to meet demand.
About Verde Farms
A pioneer in the grass-fed beef movement, VerdeFarms.com was founded in 2005 with a mission to bring the taste and benefits of grass-fed beef to everyone. Today Verde is the leading provider of 100% grass-fed and 100% pasture-raised, organic beef for retail, club, and foodservice customers in the US. Verde Farms partners with a global network of family farmers who share the company's passion for high quality and exceptionally-tasting beef raised with respect for animal welfare, where feedlots and growth hormones are never part of the picture.