Georgia Ports Authority names new chairman, National Restaurant Association president to step down, California Milk Advisory Board elects new board members, and other personnel changes
Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Cleveland, Ohio
Chairman Kirk Dillard will lead the board of directors for a second 5-year term. He has served as the chairman since June 2014. Dillard has been a rider of public transportation for more than 50 years, riding CTA buses and trains since early childhood, and now is a regular rider of Metra. He is a staunch advocate for transit funding throughout the region, appearing on countless media outlets and speaking at many regional events. Previously, Dillard served as a Republican senator from Chicago’s western suburbs in the Illinois State Senate for nearly 20 years. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to former Governor Jim Edgar and as legislative director to former Governor James Thompson. He is currently a partner at Locke Lord LLP.
Georgia Ports Authority, Savannah, Ga.
William McKnight was elected chairman, effective July 1, succeeding outgoing chairman Jimmy Allgood. Under Allgood's leadership, annual container volumes grew from 3.6 million 20-foot equivalent container units to an estimated 4.5 million TEUs, a 25% increase. McKnight has served as vice chairman since 2018. After college, McKnight worked for his family-owned construction company, where he served as president since 1996. There, he oversaw the completion of over $1 billion in construction projects. He was named chairman of the board of directors of the First Bank of Georgia in May 2010, and then served on the board of State Bank, which sold to Cadence Bank, in 2018. He is the past president and continued member of both the Augusta Country Club and Augusta Golf Association, and served on the boards of Associated General Contractors of America, Augusta Ballet, Richmond Academy Booster Club, Tuttle-Newton Home, Episcopal Day School and First Tee. Meanwhile, Patrick "Kelly" Farr Jr. was elected vice chairman. Farr Jr. currently serves as director of the Governor's Office of Planning & Budget, and maintains expertise in business development from his work at Lucent Technologies, Capgemini, and most recently, SAS Institute. In these capacities, Farr worked extensively with various state agencies to implement technological advances and improve constituent service. Farr also previously served as deputy secretary of state for the Georgia Secretary of State's Office, responsible for budget management and oversight of daily operations. And, Joel Wooten will remain in his role as secretary-treasurer. Wooten is an attorney with Butler Wooten & Peak, LLP. He served as chair of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents from 2004-2005, and was a board member from 1999-2006.
National Restaurant Association (NRA), Washington, D.C.
Dawn Sweeney announced plans to step down as president and CEO at the end of the year, following 12 years in the role. Since Sweeney joined the association in 2007, membership has grown by almost 50%, has added members from every sector of the industry, more than doubled its overall revenues and nearly tripled its growth in ServSafe food safety training and certification. In 2018, she created an equity partnership with Winsight Media and the operational sale of the National Restaurant Association Show. Sweeney refocused the Educational Foundation to attract, empower and advance the future workforce of the restaurant industry. During her tenure, she also built a Unified Partnership Agreement with the State Restaurant Associations, better aligning the work of the national and state organizations through advocacy and business solutions. Sweeney joined the NRA after having served as president of AARP Services, the taxable subsidiary of AARP. Prior to that, she worked for almost a decade at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and began her career at the International Dairy Foods Association. She is active in several organizations, including the Women’s Foodservice Forum, Save the Children and the Bryce Harlow Foundation, where she served as 2018 board chair.
North American Meat Institute, Washington, D.C.
Sarah Little was named vice president of communications, responsible for strategic issues management, advocacy communications, member communications and crisis communications. Little maintains 20 years of Capitol Hill communications experience, including social and traditional media relations and working with local, national and agriculture press. Previously, she served as communications director for U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Meanwhile, Eric Mittenthal, previously vice president of public affairs, transitioned to vice president of sustainability in the public and legislative affairs department, where he will implement activities initiated by the Meat Institute’s Trust in Animal Protein task force, as well as lead the organization’s promotion efforts. Nathan Fretz, formerly senior director of legislative affairs, was promoted to vice president of legislative affairs. Fretz has been with the Meat Institute for the past four years, and before that, spent time at OFW Law representing meat and food industry clients, the House Agriculture Committee and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. In addition, William Westman, senior vice president of international affairs, assumed responsibility of the administration department in addition to his international trade responsibilities. Westman will take over for Ron Nunnery, who will retire as chief financial officer at the end of the year.
European Machine Vision Association (EMVA), Barcelona, Spain
Werner Feith was appointed new standards manager, responsible for promoting the European machine vision standardization activities worldwide, coordinating the development process of machine vision standards and identifying new standardization needs. Feith founded Sensor to Image GmbH, which started as a frame grabber company, but turned into a FPGA IP company supporting digital camera interfaces. Feith sold his company Sensor to Image in 2017.
California Milk Advisory Board, Tracy, Calif.
Newly elected to the 2019 executive committee are David Vander Schaaf, owner of Vander Schaaf Dairy, as treasurer; Renae DeJager, managing partner of Hoard’s Dairyman, as member-at-large; Megan Silva, owner and manager of Frank ‘N Rocha Dairy, as member-at-large; Josh Zonneveld, owner/operator of Zonneveld Dairy, as chairman; Essie Bootsma, operator of John Bootsma Dairy, as secretary; Kirsten Areias, junior advisor of California Holstein, as member-at-large; and Tony Louters, owner of T&C Louters Dairy, as vice chairman.
Darigold Inc., Seattle, Wash.
Eugenio Massieu was hired as director - Latin America, leading sales activities in the region. Massieu joined Darigold in 2018. Prior to Darigold, Massieu led sales in Mexico for James Farrell Co. Mariana Lezama C. was named director – Mexico, tasked with managing and coordinating in-country operations. Lezama joined the team as the director – Mexico in February. Prior to Darigold, Lezama led the dairy unit in Mexico for Louis Dreyfus Co., and maintains experience in logistics, purchasing, customer service and the dairy industry. Alma Leticia Casillas Torres was tapped as trade execution manager. And, Sophie Gonzalez Revilla was named senior execution coordinator.
Forno de Minas USA, Coral Springs, Fla.
Isabela Amaral Mazurek was named marketing analyst, where she will oversee the company’s U.S. marketing efforts, trade marketing, planned events and social media accounts, and assist in communicating Brazil’s culture to the American market. Amaral Mazurek maintains over a decade of experience in direct marketing, partnership development and business development in Brazil.
WW – the new Weight Watchers, New York
Anna Hill will join as general manager of the UK, effective Aug. 12, overseeing all aspects of the UK business. Hill joins WW after 19 years with The Walt Disney Co., where she most recently served as vice president and CMO of the UK, Ireland and Nordics business, as well as head of franchise management and general manager of Disney Media Sales and Brand Partnerships for the UK.
Empire Co. Ltd., London
Wholly-owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc. announced changes to its executive committee. Effective immediately, Pierre St-Laurent was appointed to the newly created role of chief operating officer, full-service, responsible for merchandising, retail operations and supply chain across the company’s full-service and community banners, including Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Thrifty Foods and Foodland. St-Laurent has been a leader of the National Chief Merchant, the company’s Quebec business, for the past year, and was a driving force behind its category re-sets. Michael Vels was appointed chief financial officer, focused on powering the next phase of growth and digital innovation. Vels maintains experience in technology, digital implementation and transformation, with a proven track record in driving improved business performance from information systems. Clinton Keay, former head of technology and transformation management, became chief financial officer of Crombie REIT May 15. As part of a planned transition, Lyne Castonguay, executive vice president store experience, will leave Empire, as she continues to pursue her career aspirations.
Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wis.
Chris Regennitter was named vice president – sales, consumer products division, charged with managing sales teams across all consumer retail channels and executing innovation initiatives and corporate growth plans. Regennitter most recently served as head of sales – beverages, snacks and desserts at Kraft Heinz, Inc. Before joining Kraft, he served as sales vice president, senior director and zone sales director at PepsiCo. A U.S. Army veteran, Regennitter also served as a Captain while completing assignments in Kuwait and Iraq, as well as numerous domestic locations.
BrightFarms, Irvington, N.Y.
Brian Jenny joined as vice president of sales, charged with overseeing existing retail accounts and leading business development. Jenny maintains over 15 years in the produce industry. Most recently, he served as vice president and general manager of CC Kitchens, a division of the Castellini Group. Prior to Castellini, he spent 8 years with Naturipe Farms, rising to vice president and general manager of the value-added division. Prior to joining Naturipe, Jenny spent 7 years with Monterey Mushrooms, rising to director of sales for the Eastern region. Jenny has also served as chairman of the United Fresh Produce Association Fresh Cut Processor Board, and as a member of the Executive Committee of United’s board of directors.
Rainier Fruit, Selah, Wash.
Blake Belknap was named vice president of sales. Belknap has been with Rainier Fruit for 22 years, and was formerly director of domestic sales. Blaine Markley was promoted to director of domestic sales, succeeding Belknap. Markley has been with Rainier Fruit for seven years, starting out in the appointment scheduling department and progressing to the domestic and export sales team before her recent promotion.
MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC, Seattle, Wash.
Ken Giuriceo and Paul Pressler, partners of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the private investment firm financing the company’s growth plan, will join the MOD Pizza board of directors. Giuriceo joined CD&R in 2003 from Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he played a key role in CD&R-led transactions, including Sally Beauty, acquired in November 2006, and ServiceMaster, acquired in July 2007. Giuriceo serves on the board of directors of ServiceMaster. Pressler maintains extensive operating and consumer marketing experience. He served as president and CEO of Gap Inc. from 2002-2007, and spent 15 years with The Walt Disney Co. Most recently, he was chairman of Disney’s global theme park and resorts division. He also served as president of Disneyland and president of The Disney Stores.
Sizzler USA, Mission Viejo, Calif.
After 11 years as chief executive officer, Kerry Kramp has left the company to pursue other business endeavors. Kevin Perkins will be replacing Kramp as owner/chairman of Sizzler USA.
New England Authentic Eats, LLC, Dedham, Mass.
The parent company of Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo named Tom Sterrett as president and COO and appointed Deena McKinley as chief marketing officer. Both Sterrett and McKinley maintain extensive industry experience and previously worked with CEO William Van Epps at Papa John’s Pizza. Sterrett joined the company in February as chief operating officer. Before that, he was a long-time Domino’s franchisee who owned and operated 28 locations in the Baltimore, Md., area. He then joined Papa John’s, where, over an 18-year period, held numerous senior-level roles, including directing the company’s international expansion. McKinley and the internal marketing team is tasked with airing the company’s first television advertising campaign in four years. McKinley most recently served as chief experience officer at Mobivity, working with restaurants such as Subway, Sonic and Baskin Robbins. Previously, she was chief client officer at Zimmerman Advertising, working with restaurant clients such as Papa John’s Pizza, Boston Market and Firehouse Subs. She was also a regional marketing director for Papa John’s International.
Food Safety Net Services (FSNS), San Antonio, Texas
Cole Tautges joined as vice president of chemistry operations, responsible for all aspects of chemistry. Prior to joining FSNS, Tautges worked in Covance’s nutritional chemistry and food safety department, where he oversaw various methodologies, including proximate chemistry, amino acids, sugars, fiber analysis and special projects. Tautges moved to Harrogate, England, for a period of time to hire staff and establish a new chemistry laboratory in the United Kingdom. More recently, he was laboratory manager for Pharmaceutical Product Development, where he led the creation of the Reference Standard Services group, which focused on validations, qualifications, certification, storage and distribution of standards and critical reagents.
Stertil-Koni, Stevensville, Md.
Doug Frakes joined as operations specialist, succeeding Paul Marks, who announced his retirement after 21 years of service to the company. In his new post, Frakes will work closely with a broad range of audiences – chiefly the company’s extensive North American distributor network, sales personnel and manufacturing locations in the United States and Europe. His prime mission is to process and ship vehicle lift equipment and accessory orders to distributors and customers across North America. Previously, Frakes worked for 10 years at FedEx Ground, where he managed ground operations and new processes implementation, including inbound and outbound sort management and pick-up and delivery management operations. Frakes was also responsible for the training and supervision of operations managers and administrators, executing analyses of operational metrics and overseeing compliance with governing regulatory agencies.
JOH, Billerica, Mass.
Rick Daniels joined the Mid-Atlantic region as account executive/account manager. Daniels has worked on various client accounts, including Barilla, Bertolli, Church & Dwight, Colgate-Palmolive, Del-Monte, Marcal, Ragu, Tone’s Spices, Unilever Foods and Upfield Foods. He’s also worked with various customers, including Acme, Burris, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Safeway and Weis Markets. He most recently worked with Advantage Solutions.
PSSI, Kieler, Wis.
Dawn Winsauer was promoted to vice president of operations, charged with overseeing the company’s customer relationships and operational initiatives with food processors across the South Central region, including Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Winsauer maintains nearly 25 years’ experience working in sanitation. Starting as an hourly team lead at a plant in Sedalia, Mo., she was promoted across various roles throughout her PSSI career, including assistant site manager, senior technical service manager, area manager, and most recently, division manager of the South Central region. Winsauer is SQF and BRC certified, and specialized in OSHA and food safety training.
LTI, Inc., Jonesboro, Ga.
Peter Kiriakos was appointed new vice president of chain accounts, responsible for growing the company’s footprint in the chain account and convenient store verticals. Kiriakos maintains 20 years of experience in both the private and public sectors, and has worked with the architect and design community and equipment distribution channels. He also maintains expertise in supporting direct end-users and providing support to leadership roles in both the construction and software-as-a-service industries. Kiriakos most recently served as a sales manager in the fuel services and transportation industries, focusing on strategic growth within convenience store and enterprise accounts.
Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, Walla Walla, Wash.
Karel Van Velthoven was promoted to advanced inspection systems product marketing manager, responsible for managing global activities that support the development and sales of Key’s high-performance digital sorting and automatic defect removal systems. Van Velthoven has been with Key for 6 years, and maintains more than 20 years of experience in marketing and sales of high-tech equipment. Prior to this promotion, his positions included customer engagement manager and EMEIA marketing manager. Previously to Key, he was marketing manager at Visys NV, which merged with Key in 2013.