The Manufacturing Leadership Community, part of Frost and Sullivan, San Antonio, Texas
Eric Fidoten, vice president of supply chain strategy and operations excellence at Campbell Soup Co., and John Gagel, corporate manager of sustainability at Lexmark International Inc., were elected to the board of governors. At Campbell, Fidoten is responsible for developing global supply chain strategy, leading global operational excellence programs and supply chain M&A activity. He also oversees the company's safety and health processes and the rollout of its high-performance work systems. Gagel is responsible for the corporate management of all global sustainability and corporate social responsibility strategy and initiatives and serves as the chair of the Lexmark Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) cross-functional team. He is also responsible for Lexmark's annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report, and is the corporate manager for all global environmental, health and safety operations.



Gay Lea Foods Co-Operative Ltd., Canada
Michael Barrett was named president and CEO, effective April 1, replacing Andrew MacGillivray who announced his retirement, effective March 31. Barrett joined Gay Lea in July 1999 as vice president of human resources, and over the years has increased his leadership responsibilities to include member services, supply chain, operations and sales and marketing. For the past six years, he has served as chief operations officer.

Land O'Lakes, Inc., Arden Hills, Minn.
Jeff Lakner was elected a director of the corporate board. Lakner, who has owned and operated Lakner Farms, LLC for more than 30 years, is also a board member of South Dakota Wheat Growers Association and is on the governing board of Dakotas Americas and Dakota Resources. Jeff Johnson, chief executive officer and general manager of Centra Sota Cooperative, was also elected as director on the corporate board. Johnson has led Centra Sota through a number of mergers and acquisitions during his 17 years of leadership and has grown sales to $177 million. Prior to his appointment to the Land O'Lakes corporate board, he served on the Land O'Lakes executive council for Region 1, and is on the board of directors of Access Insurance Co. and Parthenon Insurance Agency.

Goya Foods, Secaucus, N.J.
MeriTerese Racanelli, M.S. was appointed nutritionist and food scientist to help the Hispanic-owned food company expand its healthy product line and meet national consumer demand for healthy foods. Racanelli brings more than 15 years of experience, and will guide Goya's research and development team on the nutritional benefits of specific ingredients, products and recipes associated with the variety of Hispanic origins of Goya consumers. She will also educate consumers on strategies that incorporate natural foods, like beans and olive oil, into their everyday diets. Racanelli is a member of the American Society of Nutrition, the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, the New Jersey Dietetic Association, the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Nutritional Foods Association and the National Hispanic Health Foundation.

SUPERVALU, Minneapolis
Mark Neporent and Lenard Tessler have stepped down from the board of directors, effective immediately. Neporent and Tessler were both appointed to the board in 2013 as designees of Symphony Investors LLC, a Cerberus Capital Management L.P.-led investor consortium. Their resignations followed SUPErVALU’s announcement of a definitive agreement under which AB Acquisition LLC, an entity controlled by a Cerberus-led investor group, will acquire all outstanding shares of food retailer Safeway Inc.

Brinker International, Inc., Dallas
Guy Constant, executive vice president, CFO and president of global business development, resigned effective immediately. Marie Perry, senior vice president, treasurer and controller, will serve as interim CFO until a permanent successor is named. Additionally, Kelli Valade was promoted to executive vice president and COO for Chili's, and will now oversee all operations. And, Jeffrey Hoban was named senior vice president and general counsel, while Roger Thomson will continue to serve as corporate secretary with some additional executive roles.

Mamma Chia, San Diego, Calif.
Bob Crumby was named chief financial officer. He maintains 30 years’ in manufacturing and consumer packaged goods, and has held CFO positions with Evolution Fresh and Corazonas Foods.

Ready Pac Foods, Inc., Irwindale, Calif.
Sally Erickson
was appointed chief financial officer, responsible for overseeing the direction of the company’s financial goals and objectives. Erickson joins Ready Pac with more than 25 years of hands-on finance experience, including directing a variety of complex financial projects, engaging in business and divisional development, overseeing international multi-plant manufacturing and strengthening financial operations within a global arena. She comes from Sealy Corp., where she spent 17 years in various positions.



Famous Dave’s of America, Minnetonka, Minn.
President and COO Christopher O’Donnell was notified that his employment will terminate effective March 31. This move comes less than a month after CEO John Gilbert resigned and was replaced by Ed Resni. O'Donnell was replaced by Gilbert as CEO in October 2012, but remained with the company as president and COO.



NDC Infrared Engineering, Irwindale, Calif.
Mahesh Havildar was named vice president of global operations for the sensors, systems and metals divisions, responsible for overall manufacturing operations, including production, quality, supply chain, material planning, project management, shipping logistics, radiation safety and product engineering. Havildar brings 20-plus years’ experience in manufacturing, operations and product engineering both in aerospace and the automotive industry. He has led teams in the Ford Motor Co., implementing state-of-the art lean manufacturing systems.

Power Automation Systems, Lathrop, Calif.
John Olakowksi joined as an executive manager. Olakowski maintains an extensive background in food and beverage production engineering and supply chain solutions. He most recently came from Krones Inc., where he was director of material flow technology and IT solutions, and Witron, where he was general manager. Olakowski’s background also includes time spent with HK Systems (now part of Dematic)/Harnischfeger Industries.

Bunting Magnetics Co., Newton, Kan.
Steve Swaney was named industrial territory manager, responsible for servicing customers in the plastics, recycling, metal stamping and general manufacturing industries. Swaney previously handled inside sales for Bunting Magnetics material handling customers. Meanwhile, Mauricio Mendizabal was named food industry territory manager, responsible for servicing customers in the bulk, powder, feed, grain and general food industries. Mendizabal brings more than 15 years of domestic and Latin American sales experience.

ESI Group, Hartland, Wis.
Andrew Nelson was hired as sales manager for the Midwest area. Nelson comes with 10 years of design and construction experience with an emphasis in site development, food distribution, food safety and low temperature facilities, and is versed in applying LEED to refrigerated warehouses. Nelson’s work experience includes frozen food processing, distribution centers, industrial parks, commercial construction and residential projects. He previously worked for a Midwest-based design and construction firm.

Westfalia Technologies, Inc., York, Pa.
Robert Douglas was named service manager, responsible for assuring that automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) solutions operate at optimal efficiency and that Westfalia’s service and parts department has the bandwidth to support its growing customer base. Douglas brings more than 30 years of management and customer service experience. He came from Quad/Graphics, where he was a member of a team that oversaw the acquisition and operation of multiple Westfalia AS/RS solutions used to optimize the sequencing and sorting of materials required in the print production process.



Carol L. Christison, long-time president of International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA), Madison, Wis., passed away March 4. Christison replaced Willard Reese in December 1982, and has since expanded and changed the organizational structure to meet new demands and opportunities. She was also well-known for her creativity, her annual industry trends presentation and her abilities in creating a top-notch program for the annual seminar. Christison was also responsible for writing key promotional pieces and leading the annual research study.

"Carol has built an effective, committed team, and our operations have grown and improved every year thanks to her inspiring, innovative leadership. We will miss Carol’s professionalism, creative mind and friendship,” says Lucie Arendt, senior vice president and one of the first employees of the IDDBA.

Christison is survived by daughter Lucie (Norm) Arendt and son David; eldest son Jim passed away in 2013. Visitation is set for March 12 with a Celebration of Life service on March 13. For details, go to In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the UW-Madison’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology research fund, which supports research in gynecologic cancers, at UW Foundation Fund #12902096, Lock Box 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807.