The American Beverage Association (ABA), Washington, D.C.
Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), will join as new president and CEO later this year,  succeeding Susan Neely, who has led ABA for 13 years. Neely was named president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) in May 2018. Lugar will leverage deep public policy and advocacy experience on behalf of ABA and its member companies. As president and CEO of AHLA, Lugar spent 5 years tripling revenue and membership, strengthening the association's core mission on advocacy, championing the industry's voice with policymakers and achieving historic highs for the industry political action committee. Lugar previously served as executive vice president of public affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, where she ran a number of high-profile issue campaigns. Prior to RILA, Lugar led government relations for Travelers Insurance, served as vice president of legislative and political affairs at the National Retail Federation (NRF) and worked on Capitol Hill. She currently is chair-elect of the board of the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a member of the executive committee of the Bryce Harlow Foundation and a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Committee of 100.

Latino Food Industry Association (LFIA), Los Angeles
Lilly Rocha, founder of the Sabor Latino Food Industry tradeshow, was elected president. Rocha’s company, Space 67 Productions, has produced corporate events since 2009, including the Sabor Latino Food Industry tradeshow. She maintains expertise in sales, marketing and project management, and volunteers for The American Heart Association, Long Beach Memorial Women's Heart Institute, The Heart & Vascular Institute at LBMMC, NLBWA-National, LGELP-USC & ATC School Culinary Program.

The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), East Lansing, Mich.
Brian O’Banion was appointed vice president of research and education. O’Banion maintains nearly 20 years of trade association management experience addressing packaging industry issues in a wide variety of areas, including technical, environmental, health, safety, RFID, competing materials and sustainability. He holds notable experience within the global food and beverage packaging technologies space.


TreeHouse Foods, Inc., Oak Brook, Ill.

Jean Spence was elected independent director of the board, effective Sept. 4. Spence maintains experience in organizational design, cost optimization and food safety and regulation. Previously, Spence was executive vice president of research, development and quality at Mondelēz International, Inc. Prior to its 2012 spin-off transaction, Spence served in the same capacity at parent company Kraft Foods, Inc., where she was responsible for improving quality and food safety on a worldwide basis, coordinating global compliance programs, scientific relations, regulatory relations, microbiology and auditing. She has also represented the food industry on the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council, and Kraft on the International Life Sciences Institute and Junior Achievement of Chicago Boards. Spence serves on the Supervisory Board of GEA Group AG, and is chair of the Clarkson University Board of Trustees.

Marfrig Global Foods, Brazil
Eduardo Miron was named new chief executive officer, replacing Martín Secco, who has led the company since 2015. Miron joined Marfrig in 2010, and since 2016, has been chief financial and investor relations officer while also serving as chief financial officer of Keystone Foods. Before joining Marfrig, he worked for 10 years at Grupo Safra and for more than two decades at Cargill, where he held leadership positions in Brazil and the United States. Miguel Gularte will lead the South America operation, responsible for operations in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and North America, which consists of National Beef and the beef patty plant in North Baltimore, Md. Gularte maintains more than 37 years in the beef sector. He began his career at the Meat and Meat Products Industrial Cooperative, and later served as chief executive officer of PUL, as international vice president of Minerva and as chief executive officer of JBS Mercosul. The North America operation will continue to be led by Tim Klein, chief executive officer of National Beef. Klein has been with National Beef since 1997. He was the company’s chief operating officer until being named CEO in July 2009. In the corporate area, Marco Spada will take charge as chief financial and investor relations officer, and Fabio Vasconcellos will become chief planning and management officer. Spada began his career at the Brazilian subsidiary of Cargill, and joined Marfrig 9 years ago, where he has held various offices, including financial manager of Keystone in Hong Kong and treasury director of Marfrig since 2013. Vasconcellos, who joined Marfrig 9 years ago, has served in various management positions in the financial area, and since 2016, has been based in the United States, where he served as financial head of Keystone and global controller of Marfrig. Vasconcellos built a career at multinational companies such as E&Y and Cargill.

IRI, Chicago
Harvey Goldhersz joined as executive vice president of data and innovation for the Media Center of Excellence, responsible for leveraging the latest innovations in data and artificial intelligence to improve the way brands communicate with their consumers and expand IRI’s partner ecosystem by establishing relationships with additional like-minded media data partners. Goldhersz maintains more than two decades of experience working at the intersection of media and data. He most recently served as chief data officer and CEO of GroupM Analytics, where he was responsible for ensuring that clients and agencies were equipped with leading data and analytics capabilities to support insights, strategy and media investment decisions. Prior to joining GroupM, Goldhersz served as vice chairman, North America CEO and worldwide COO for MediaCom, where he oversaw analytics, research, digital media, planning and strategy. From 1998-2004, Goldhersz served as founder and CEO for MediaCom Digital and chief executive officer for Beyond Interactive.

Home Run Inn Pizza, Chicago
Dan Costello was named new chief executive officer, taking over for long-time CEO Joe Perrino, who passed away July 19. Costello will maintain his current role as president of the Restaurant Group. Following college in 1994, Costello joined Home Run Inn as a restaurant manager, and with the guidance and leadership of his uncle (Joe Perrino), he worked his way up to director of restaurant operations and then president of Restaurant Group.

Strauss Group, Israel
Giora Bardea was appointed president and CEO, taking over for Gadi Lesin, who has been with the company for 22 years, the past 9 years as president and CEO. Bardea has served as deputy CEO of Strauss Group for the past 4 years, where he enhanced innovation processes and built the human and organizational infrastructure. Bardea led the merger between Strauss and Elite, and in the following 5 years, managed the consolidated activity in Israel. Later, Giora relocated to manage Strauss' North American businesses. During this time, he also served as chairman and CEO of Max Brenner, and developed the partnership with PepsiCo, which subsequently grew to become a global partnership. Bardea established Obela, a second international joint venture between Strauss Group and PepsiCo. Giora also serves as chairman of Strauss Water and as a member of the board representing Strauss in the dips and spreads joint venture with PepsiCo.

Siam Canadian, Bangkok
Justyna Popielska was appointed general manager of the company’s newly launched Siam Canadian -- Meat Division. Popielska maintains a wealth of experience trading in a wide range of meat products, sourcing from a broad group of top-quality suppliers in South America, North America, Europe as well as Asia to established buyers in Asia and beyond.

Tyson Foods, Springdale, Ark.
Karen Knutson was named new senior vice president for global government affairs, responsible for state, federal and international government relations for the company and its subsidiaries. Knutson maintains 30 years of government-related experience, most recently serving as a government affairs and policy leader for General Electric. Her career also includes a variety of roles within the federal government, including chief of staff and legislative director in the U.S. Senate and deputy assistant to Vice President Cheney for domestic policy.

FreshDirect, New York
Jason Ackerman stepped down from his role as chairman and CEO after 20 years of service, effective immediately. As a result, co-founder David McInerney is assuming the role of chief executive officer and will join the board of directors. McInerney has served in several leadership roles at FreshDirect, most recently as chief merchandising officer, overseeing food sourcing, buying and merchandising as well as travelling around the globe to develop relationships with FreshDirect’s producer partners.

Hart Dairy, Augusta, Ga.
Jason Ackerman, former founder and CEO of FreshDirect (see above), joined as the newest member of the advisory board. Ackerman has served as a leader of FreshDirect for nearly 20 years. Prior to that, he spent a decade in the banking industry, and maintains expertise in technology, merchandising, delivery, marketing, analytics and supply chain.


Captain D's, Nashville, Tenn.

Chris Kuehn joined as chief marketing officer, responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies to further drive brand awareness and support the company's ongoing expansion throughout the country. Kuehn maintains 30 years of industry experience leading the marketing activities of several national foodservice brands. Previously, Kuehn served as chief marketing officer at Golden Corral for 10 years, where he was responsible for conceptualizing and leading short- and long-term growth strategies. During his tenure, he developed innovative marketing strategies that resulted in significant brand and volume growth for their system. A foodservice industry veteran, Kuehn previously held leadership positions in marketing and operations at Arby's and Pizza Hut.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Dallas, Texas
Phil Butler joins as new research and development chef. Butler has worked in the restaurant industry since he was 13 years old, and maintains experience with classic fine dining, designing restaurant concepts and menus and more.

Papa John's, Louisville, Ky.
Timothy O'Hern,
chief development officer and international president, retired, effective immediately. However, O’Hern will remain a franchisee of the nine locations he owns and operates. Joe Smith, chief financial officer, will oversee the development of global sales functions, while Jack Swaysland, chief operating officer, international, will take on full responsibility of the international business.


Manage Artworks, Princeton, N.J.
Bob Childs was named business development director to drive adoption of the company’s advanced business tools for packaging workflows.

JAXPORT, Jacksonville, Fla.
John Falconetti was elected chairman through Sept. 30, 2019. Falconetti is chairman and CEO of Drummond, and previously served as JAXPORT chairman from 2014-2015, as well as in several leadership positions for numerous high-level state and local boards.

Dorner, Hartland, Wis.
Serge Abou-Jaoudé was named vice president – Dorner Europe, responsible for all commercial activities throughout Europe. Abou-Jaoudé previously served as area director for Western Europe for Flexlink Systems, and has held management positions in France, Germany and South Africa for ABB.

Graphic Packaging Holding Co., Atlanta
Paul McCann will join as senior vice president, supply chain, responsible for procurement, logistics, operations planning, global quality processes and building Lean and Six Sigma capability. He will also lead the supply chain integration of the newly combined foodservice and SBS businesses. McCann comes from Monsanto Corp., where he was responsible for global manufacturing and supply chain. Prior to that, he served as vice president strategic sourcing, vice president and general manager Asia and vice president and general manager fiber with Smurfit-Stone Container. He also worked as vice president global procurement for Solo Cup Co.

Phononic, Durham, N.C.
Dana Krug was appointed vice president and general manager of food and beverage, responsible for ideating and executing the company’s food and beverage business strategy, sales and expanding Phononic’s footprint in the food retail market. Krug maintains more than 20 years of executive sales and management experience, with a specific focus in technology, retail, CPG and communications. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of sales at Outerwall, where he was responsible for $2.3 billion in revenue for delivering turnkey products and services in entertainment, coffee, gift cards, electronics, telecommunications and financial services to retailers via a self-contained kiosk. He also led the team that built a network of over 60,000 locations across multiple channels in just 8 years, including big box, grocery, drug, dollar stores, convenience store, libraries, universities, restaurants, airports and mass transit. Dana has worked directly with a number of national and region-leading retail clients to drive new innovation and incremental revenue.

IntelliFarms, Archie, Mo.
Adam Weiss was named chief operating officer, focusing on production and engineering at all levels of IntelliFarms’ operations. Weiss previously served as director of global technology and product management at GSI. He maintains over 20 years of experience launching high-tech products. Prior to GSI, Weiss spent almost 10 years with GE, working on the engineering and product teams, growing product lines, spearheading projects, developing product strategy, leading teams along the way and more.

Michael Dusi Logistics (MDL), Paso Robles, Calif.
Owen Schmidt was named chief operating officer, responsible for the day-to-day operations. Schmidt maintains a 20-year career in transportation and logistics. Previously, he’s served as managing director for Cross Border Trading and Advanced Quality Logistics, as well as chief operating officer of Performance Team Freight Systems. And, Alexandra Lersey was named controller, responsible for finance and accounting functions. Over her career, Lersey has held senior accounting positions in the wine, media and aerospace industries, including roles with Sextant Wines, REC Solar Corp., Wyle Laboratories and Twentieth Century Fox. 

Suntech International Ltd., Los Angeles
Robert Martin was appointed president and CEO of the company’s U.S. business. Martin has served as North American operations director for Octo Telematics since 2008. A former Washington D.C., lobbyist for promoting telematics and emergency communications, Martin also served as executive director of the National 9-1-1 Emergency Number (NENA) and Emergency Dispatch Associations. He maintains more than 25 years of management, coalition building and organizational communication experience, with special emphasis in the telematics and public safety industries.

Toshiba America Business Solutions, Lake Forest, Calif.
Joan Maesky-Plaha, vice president of human resources, was promoted to the company’s executive leadership team to shape its overarching business strategy. The 22-year Toshiba employee oversees strategic human resources planning to attract and retain top talent and directs short- and long-term human resource planning. Prior to her current role, Maesky-Plaha served as human resources director at Toshiba America, Inc. She began her Toshiba career as a human resources specialist at Toshiba America Information Systems in 1996.

Stay Metrics, South Bend, Ind.
Jeff Geitz was named to the newly created position of vice president of technology, tasked with overseeing upgrades to IT infrastructure and technologies. Geitz maintains more than 20 years’ experience managing corporate information systems.

PGT Trucking Inc., Aliquippa, Pa.
Barret Rea was hired as vice president of strategic planning. He has been a member of PGT’s board of directors since 2016. Prior to joining PGT, Rea has been a managing director in investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch since 2006, where he advised industrial companies on mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions.

Elkhart Plastics Inc. (EPI), South Bend, Ind.
Dale Ohlrich was named sales manager for Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC). Ohlrich maintains more than 20 years of manufacturing and business development experience. Previously, Ohlrich served as director of business development at Packers Sanitation Services, Inc., and previous to that, served for 12 years as specialty products manager of the IBC and dry handling divisions at Snyder Industries, Inc. Prior to that, he was regional sales manager for Custom Metalcraft Inc.

Nor-Lake, Hudson, Wis.
Ashlee Myhres was named sales development manager, effective Sept. 10, tasked with managing the representative sales territories in California. Myhres maintains over 10 years of foodservice equipment sales management experience. Most recently, she worked as a field service representative with Norm’s Refrigeration, and prior to that, worked as a field sales associate for Carmen/Girard and Associates.