Blue Bell president to retire
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), Juneau, Alaska
Jeremy Woodrow was hired as new communications director. Woodrow most recently served as the communications officer for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, where he led all internal and external communications and grew their social media presence five-fold. He has also previously worked with ASMI both as an intern in the communications program and with ASMI’s former PR agency, Schiedermayer & Associates Alaska.
Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), Hockessin, Del.
Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak was named president and CEO, effective Feb. 21, replacing Elizabeth Pivonka, who retired Feb. 17 after a 26-year career with PBH, including 20 years as president and CEO. Reinhardt Kapsak maintains extensive background in food, nutrition, health and wellness, agriculture, communications and non-profits, having worked for 12 years at the International Food Information Council, and most recently as global lead for food, nutrition and health partnerships at the Monsanto Co.
Massachusetts Cheese Guild, Concord, Mass.
Peter Lovis, proprietor of The Cheese Shop of Concord for the past 15 years, was elected president, where he will preside over the guild’s quarterly meetings and be responsible for keeping the board of directors and committee heads “on task” with regard to yearly programming.
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Washington, D.C.
Dana Sleeper was hired as director of external affairs, effective March 6, to enhance coordination among stakeholders with an interest in seeing solar expand its role in America’s economic growth. Sleeper spent 4 years as executive director at MDV-SEIA, one of SEIA’s regional affiliate organizations, where she gained a keen insight into the solar industry, working with energy administrations, government officials and solar companies to advance solar policies in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia. Prior to MDV-SEIA, Sleeper worked with non-profit clients at the Binaytara Foundation and Hanover Research, providing consulting services and cultivating relationships with a wide variety of organizations.
California Giant Berry Farms, Watsonville, Calif.
Tom Smith was hired to fill the newly created position of director of foodservice, effective Feb. 20. Previously, Smith was with Pro’Act USA, where he led the staff targeting new customers in the foodservice segment while maintaining current customer, grower and vendor relationships for California Giant Berry Farms. Smith brings more than 10 years of experience in produce, specifically in the foodservice segment.
Blue Bell Creameries, Brenham, Texas
Ricky Dickson was promoted to president, taking over for Jim Kruse, who is retiring as chairman and president. Kruse began working at Blue Bell in 1986, and was elected president and CEO in 2004. Kruse, the son of former Blue Bell president Howard Kruse, currently serves as the president of Bank of Brenham. Previously, he served as the controller and vice president of information technology at Blue Bell. After 20 years at Blue Bell, Kruse became vice president of financial planning and analysis of Industry Bancshares, and then executive vice president of investments and business development at Bank of Brenham. Dickson has worked at Blue Bell for 36 years. Before being named president, he served as the vice president of sales and marketing, where he oversaw planning, implementing sales and marketing programs and designed future growth strategies. Dickson previously served as general sales manager; general manager of the Broken Arrow, Okla., production facility; Midwest division manager; and branch manager. Meanwhile, Greg Bridges was promoted to executive vice president of plant operations, where he will oversee all plant operations and production facilities. Bridges has worked at Blue Bell for 32 years, and was previously vice president of operations, production manager and assistant production manager.
Market Fresh Produce, Nixa, Mo.
Aspen Berning joined as a category manager, responsible for maintaining daily contact with customers, building relationships with shippers, growers and vendors and creating logistical efficiencies throughout the supply chain. Berning’s experience includes retail specialist at Bass Pro Shops, where he served as a liaison between 75 retail stores and merchandise buying team, and co-manager at Walmart, where he oversaw business operations, budgets, profit, sales and inventory control.
The Kroger Co., Cincinnati
After 63 years with Kroger, the company's current longest serving associate Larry Arnold announced plans to retire at the end of the month. The 79-year-old currently works as a dairy clerk at the Pickerington Marketplace. He started with the company in 1953 as a clerk.
Pei Wei, Scottsdale, Ariz.
John "J." Hedrick was named new chief executive officer, effective Jan. 30. Hedrick brings a strong background in multi-unit hospitality and foodservice, specializing in retail operations while enhancing the guest experience. He most recently served as chief operating officer of NPC International, the operator of Pizza Hut and Wendy's. At NPC, he accelerated strong financial performance and growth while creating a customer-focused, employee-first mindset for long-term success. Hedrick's other previous leadership positions included key operating and support roles at Pilot Flying J, 7-11, Inc. and RaceTrac Petroleum.
Church’s Chicken, Atlanta
Chris Ward was promoted to vice president of supply chain, overseeing purchasing, distribution and logistics. Previously, Ward served as the brand’s senior director of purchasing, in which he played an instrumental role in shaping and executing supply chain strategy. Ward has been with the Church’s team since 2012. During that time, he helped to completely revamp the supply team and bring about much-needed improvements in supplier engagement, a more formal request for proposal process and enhanced contract execution and compliance functions. As a direct result of his efforts, Ward enabled the entire Church’s system to take advantage of millions of dollars’ worth of decreased expenditures, while still maintaining a reliable, consistent supply of goods and resources. He has also worked closely with research and development and quality assurance teams to find additional ways to enhance efficiency and product roll out. Ward also brings more than 30 years of career experience in procurement, supply chain management and senior leadership experience, having spent time at Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, Shells Seafood, Denny’s Restaurants and The Walt Disney Co. Also, Hector Munoz was named chief global marketing officer, effective March 6, responsible for the global marketing organization, including the company’s Texas Chicken brand. Munoz returns to the brand where he began in the early 90s. His areas of responsibility include new product development, calendar planning, consumer insights, advertising, multi-cultural marketing, brand equity, positioning, media buying and planning, packaging, field and promotional marketing, social and media relations and guest engagement and strategic direction on promotional and product innovation. Munoz joined Popeyes in 2011, where he led U.S. marketing efforts, including brand strategy and product innovation, achieving year-over-year increases in same-store sales and over 25 quarters of consecutive same-store sales gain. He worked for nearly 10 years in a variety of field and corporate leadership roles at Burger King Corp., including brand image and strategy and retail marketing and merchandising. He also previously served at Long John Silver’s, Taco Bell and Bruegger’s Bagels.
International Technical Coatings (ITC), Phoenix, Ariz.
Kathy Hanrahan, a former TASER executive, was appointed chief financial officer to oversee all accounting functions. Hanrahan maintains more than 30 years of experience in leading accounting and operations teams, for both public and private organizations. Meanwhile, Rudi DeKlerk was appointed director of manufacturing. A veteran to the industry, DeKlerk maintains more than 20 years’ experience in wire manufacturing. He has installed and commissioned machines in 32 countries, and has expert experience in run production and maintenance.
915 Labs, Denver, Colo.
Moses Mogana joined as director of process innovation, responsible for overseeing the design, manufacturing and installation of MATS systems. Magana, a specialist in thermal processing technology, brings 12 years of domestic and international food industry experience. Magana was most recently senior process engineer at the technology center of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, where he led the transition from GMO ingredients to non-GMO formulations and other product enhancements. He was also R&D technical manager at Global Food Services Corp., where he implemented new technologies and processes that reduced energy costs and waste and led the development of new ethnic product lines in the United States. Magana also spent time with Custom Food Processing Services, where he designed and commissioned an experimental food lab and led a team of R&D professionals in developing new shelf-stable products for the export market.
Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Des Moines, Iowa
Dan Greteman joined as vice president and chief information officer. Greteman’s background is steeped in technology and business information management, having worked in the technology industry for nearly 28 years. He comes from other CIO positions with Allied/Nationwide and Farm Bureau Financial Services, where he delivered significant transformational projects. Prior to those roles, Greteman spent his career as a partner with Accenture. Greteman has also led technology initiatives in partnership with Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa State University and the Technology Association of Iowa to develop programs specifically focused on generating more and well-trained technologists.
Liqui-Box, Richmond, Va.
Lamy Chopin joined as a technical manager in the R&D department, effective Feb. 20. Previously, Lamy was a global development leader in Dow Chemical’s packaging and specialty plastics group, where he was responsible for the global PacXpert development team as well as the development of sustainable packaging solutions in North America. With nearly 20 years of experience in plastic and polymer applications, Lamy has commercialized technologies in the automotive, construction and consumer packaging market segments, including sealant, re-closable and recycle packaging technologies.
JLS Automation, York, Pa.
Craig Wolfe was named vice president of operations and manufacturing. Wolfe previously spent 20 years at a large industrial manufacturing company in Lebanon, Pa., where he started in the scheduling department and worked his way up to general manager. His extensive background includes operations management, acquisition integration, manufacturing, lean continuous improvement, quality, safety, purchasing, maintenance, assembly, customer service, fabrication and cross-functional team management. Wolfe’s many accomplishments include improving product quality, increasing working capital and inventory turns, cutting manufacturing expenses and conversion costs and reducing lead times while improving on-time shipments.
Tekni-Plex, Wayne, Pa.
Joseph Horn joined as senior vice president and general manager of the company’s Tekni-Films global business operations in Erembodegem, Belgium; Tradate and Gallarate, Italy; Holland, Ohio; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Horn brings more than 30 years of business development experience, supported by a chemical engineering background. Previously, Horn was head of global helium and rare gases for The Linde Group AG, where he drove significant growth, both organically and through joint ventures. Horn has spent most of his career in various positions with industrial gas businesses, including the BOC Group and Air Products and Chemicals.