THE HBB ALLIANCE MEMBERS
IDEATION: PRODUCT CREATION AND REFINEMENT
Jeff Grogg | Managing Director, JPG Resources
Jeff’s firm, JPG Resources, is a food & beverage business development company specializing in supply chain management and food science/product development, strategy, sales and marketing. The company has helped more than 75 companies and launched more than 80 products, all of which are still in the market.
Before launching JPG in 2009, Jeff led product innovation at Kashi, growing the company from $25million to $750million in 9 years. He headed the R&D team for Kellogg’s Health and Wellness business, launching Special K and All-Bran functional beverages and bars. He has insight into rapidly moving functional food concepts from concept to market shelf. (http://www.jpgresources.com)
Key brand experience: Kellogg, Kashi, Bear Naked, Dang Foods, Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch!, What-A-Ya Nuts?!
Wally Simon | Innovative Beverage Advisor
Wally’s 25 year track record demonstrates his mission to optimize functionality and taste in functional and good-for-you products.
He brings together ingredient manufacturers and flavor companies to synergistically create innovative beverages. Wally manages everything from the ideation platform to the prototype stage and then to subsequent commercial production.
With unsurpassed skills in taste optimization, Wally knows how to identify challenges within a formula to create great tasting products.
Wally’s impressive client list includes Monster Energy, Bolthouse Farms, Juicy Juice, Odwalla, Hansen Beverages, Pom Wonderful and many others. (SynervationAdvisors.com)
Key brand experience: Monster Energy, Bolthouse Harms, Herbalife, Juicy Juice
Fred Hart | Partner and Creative Director, Interact Boulder
Fred Hart is a Partner and Creative Director at Interact Boulder, a spirited branding and packaging design firm that works exclusively with food and beverage brands. Fred shepherds Interact’s work, helping shape its progressive, innovative and forward thinking clients with inspired, strategy-driven design and visual storytelling. Fred’s CPG experience includes work in multiple bleeding-and-leading edge food categories, as well as nearly every beverage category imaginable.
When Fred’s not walking through a grocery store like it’s an art museum, he’s actively exploring cities on foot and disproving the notion that white men can’t jump.
Key Brand Experience: Dogfish Head Brewery, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Enjoy Life Foods, Monster Energy, International Delight.
Michael Hartman | Chief Marketing Officer, CEC Entertainment
Michael served as Chief Marketing Officer of CEC Entertainment from Jan 2015 through Oct 2017. He led Marketing & Entertainment for Chuck E. Cheese’s, including advertising, traditional media, digital, eCommerce, PR/crisis management, social, influencers, in-store entertainment, new restaurant design, food marketing, promotions, partnerships, loyalty/CRM, licensing, and gift card sales.
Michael served as Senior Marketing Officer of Busch Gardens and Sesame Place at SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc from 2011 through 2015. He oversaw marketing and sales programs two Busch Gardens parks, two water parks, and Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa.
Michael held a variety of senior marketing positions in 13 years at PepsiCo, most recently Vice President of Marketing for Pepsi Beverages Company in Somers, N.Y. He managed marketing for the $2.5 billion non-carbonated beverage portfolio, including Aquafina, SoBe, Lipton, Starbucks, Tropicana, Amp and Gatorade.
He established PBG’s Learning Labs in Miami and L.A. and facilitated deals to bring Rockstar Energy, Muscle Milk, O.N.E. Natural Experience coconut water and Tampico Plus into the PepsiCo system. He also headed marketing for Pepsi-QTG Canada and was Vice President, Quaker Snack Bars at Frito-Lay Convenience Foods. Prior to joining Pepsi, he held marketing positions with Colgate-Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser and Clarion Performance Properties (sports and entertainment marketing).
Michael is an honors graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He has served on the Board of Directors/advisory boards for Zevia Natural Soda, Silverwoood Partners Investment Bank, O.N.E., Sportastic, The Association of Canadian Advertisers and the Promotional Marketing Association of Canada. He currently is on the Executive Board of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Lone Star, where he chairs the Marketing Committee and is a Big Brother to Tavian.
Jeff Linder | President, Executive Creative Director, Fresh Branding Group
Jeff has been a leader in food & beverage marketing and advertising for over 25 years. His agency, Fresh Branding Group, has worked for coffee roasters, energy shots, bottled water, tea, chocolate and a relaxation shot. The agency creates websites, digital, traditional broadcast + print, collateral, package design, in-store.
Before Fresh Branding Group, Jeff held roles at major New York agencies, establishing the Evian brand and the luxury bottled water category. He created work for Hershey, Kraft, Campbell’s, Post, Pepperidge Farm, Absolut, Seagram, Crystal Light, Saratoga, Nabisco, Jell-O and Eagle Snacks. To name just a few. (www.freshbrandinggroup.com)
Key brand experience: Evian, Saratoga Sparkling Water, Taki Mai, Dallis Bros. Coffee, Kraft, Hershey
Ian McLean | Founder and Creative Director, McLean Design
Since founding McLean Design in 1991, Ian has become one of the country’s most respected leaders in package design. Ian has helped shape the CPG industry with breakthrough work for brands such as Monster Energy, Fresh Express, Chevron, Sunsweet, Bosch, Lipton, Clorox, and others.
Ian is a sought-after speaker, contributes to BevNet and InterBev and sits on the advisory board for Package Design Magazine. His work is featured in industry forums and just about everywhere design is studied, discussed and celebrated. http://www.mclean-design.com/about-us/people/
Key brand experience: Monster Energy, Nestlé, Pepsi, Chiquita, Coca-Cola
Blake Mitchell | Partner, Interact Boulder
Blake Mitchell is President at Interact Boulder, a Colorado based strategic branding and packaging studio with a sole focus on the food and beverage industry. Blake helps navigate Interact’s diverse mix of well-established to disrupting, entrepreneurial clients through consumer challenges and marketplace hurdles.
Blake has built his business around the motivation of the impact good packaging design has on increasing sales for clients. Interact Boulder has built lasting relationships with clients like Bandar, Enjoy Life, Pasta Chips, Vive Organic, NuNaturals, KeHe, White Castle, Marzetti and Dogfish Head Brewery amongst others.
Blake’s tireless energy to pursue innovation keeps the team and their partners up on what’s happening in the world, whether it be a new food truck in Portland, a Grocery Store in San Francisco or an emerging juice brand in Hong Kong.
Blake feels most at home talking with brand founders about why they started their pursuit and where they’re headed.
Jason M. Villanueva | Creative Graphic Designer
Jason M. Villanueva is a creative graphic designer with years of experience in the nutraceuticals and beverage industries. He has extensive experience providing a unified and exciting brand image across packaging, brochures, POS, advertising, posters, flyers, trade show booth design and other marketing communications.
Josh Kohnstamm | Founder and CEO, Kohnstamm Communications
Josh has been a skillful Public Relations authority for food & beverage companies for over 20 years. Kohnstamm and his Twin-Cities-based team have worked with food and beverage clients such as 3M Food Safety, Biochem, Cascades and The Global Id Group.
He provides senior client counsel within his agency, which offers services in consumer and business media, branding and communication strategies.
Kohnstamm Communications has been ranked no.3 among “Best Food and Beverage PR Firms” on topPRagencies.com and the “2010 Boutique Agency of the Year” by the Holmes Report.
Key Brand Experience: Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP, Way Better Snacks, Noosa Yoghurt, Country Life Vitamins, Beech-Nut, Reed’s Ginger Brew, Honest Tea
SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT & LOGISTICS
Rob Alshuler | Outrigger Strategy LLC
Rob’s Outrigger Strategy drives more profitable growth by optimizing operations, building out complex global/regional supply chains and integrating information systems for food, beverage and consumer goods companies. They grow faster and meet customer expectations, while improving margins.
Rob built this expertise at Niagara Bottling, rising from operations manager after graduating UC Berkeley, to EVP Sourcing. He handled global raw materials, transportation, bottling line capex, MRO and contract packer network management. As a board member, he managed or was involved in building every aspect of Niagara’s business during a decade of 42% annual growth.
Jennifer Dunbar | Bookkeeper
Jennifer is a bookkeeper extraordinaire, with key experience relevant to startup, small and medium size companies. She is well versed in Quickbooks Pro, Quickbooks Online and Enterprise. Her expertise extends to payroll and tax filings, 1099 and W2 reporting, PO’s and invoicing, AP/AR, financial report generation, budget planning, inventory management and new product builds.
Her background includes experience as a bank Customer Service Manager, ran the books at a family owned, mid-size company and handling her own clients for the past four years.
Raffi Loussararian | CPA
Raffi is the accountant’s accountant. Starting with Ernst & Young, he has managed balance sheets for major corporations. This includes Twentieth Century Fox, a $3 billion enterprise, where he also helped manage an IPO, raising $2.6 billion. At Price Waterhouse Coopers he reported certain financial issues for Disney. Then led operations for a television & animation company, DIC Entertainment. He was VP Finance/Controller at eBay’s Rent.com and LegalZoom. And the past six years he’s consulted for consumer products companies using his expertise in startup and high growth ventures, private equity financing, valuation and many other key financial capabilities.
Propeller Industries | Accounting and Finance
Ricki Reves, MBA | Reves Business Solutions LLC
Ricki Reves has spent the last 12 years of her career in Food and Beverage. Although this is her forte, she has experience in all industries and all size companies.
During her career, she has been instrumental in the sale of 5 entrepreneurial companies. She is proficient in start-ups in manufacturing, retail, service oriented and distribution.
Ricki has her MBA with an emphasis in Finance but is well rounded in both finance and accounting. She has vast systems experience in all accounting and ERP systems and ensures the system is useful in management reporting.
Finally, Ricki recognizes the importance of health in all aspects of life and is a strong proponent of daily yoga and meditation.
Eric has held C-Level beverage positions that include President, CEO and GM. He’s managed with full P&L accountability and leverages a collaborative style. He generates enormous productivity in both large corporate environments and small business ventures.
His consummate skills derive from a career at Pepsi where he was President of the Pepsi Bottler’s Association, General Manager of Pepsi Bottling Group’s Great West business unit, Member of the Pepsi Bottling Group’s Chairman’s Operating Council, Food Service Strategic Planning Committee, Member of The Dr. Pepper Bottler Marketing Committee and VP/GM Pepsi-Lipton Tea partnership.
Key Brand Experience: Procter & Gamble, Pepsico
Bob develops channel and customer strategies, revenue management, P&L management as well as the development of strategic and annual operating plans in the U.S. and international markets.
His long Pepsi career led to senior level of management expertise. At Pepsi, he was General Manager and Vice President of Pepsi Beverages, Area Vice President in food service, Vice President Marketing and Vice President Sales at the Pepsi Bottling Group, led the startup of the company’s field marketing organization and at Pepsi International he held positions in Spain and Poland.
Key Brand Experience: Procter & Gamble, Pepsico
Jonathan Frutkin | Founder and Principal Attorney, The Frutkin Law Firm, PLC.
Jonathan and his firm assist businesses with issues of capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, litigation strategy as well as intellectual property.
Before founding Frutkin Law in 2007, he owned a website design business, a software company, a real estate development company and developed a national ice cream chain. He is also CEO of Cricca Funding, LLC , a crowdfunding consultancy.
He has appeared frequently in publications like the Economist, Kiplinger Personal Finance and the Washington Post. He is a frequent media legal-issue commentator on television, radio and print in Phoenix, Arizona.
Key brand experience: Make A Stand, RawNature5, Inca Tea
Justin Prochnow | Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig LLP
Justin is a nationally known expert in statutes and regulations enforced by the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission.
He focuses his practice on assisting food & beverage, dietary supplement, sports nutrition, and cosmetic companies to ensure regulatory compliance. Justin is also well-versed in reviewing and creating manufacturing, supply, and distribution agreements.
As a former prosecutor in the Denver City Attorney’s Office, Justin also has a litigation background and assists companies to defend the growing number of class action lawsuits filed for alleged false and misleading advertising.
Steven Shapiro | Partner, Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman
Steven’s primary focus is food and drug law in the natural products industry as it relates to manufacturing, marketing and regulatory compliance.
He has unsurpassed knowledge in compliance issues relating to the FDA, FTC and DSHEA. He and his firm assists with preparing and reviewing product labels, developing strategies for achieving GRAS status for food ingredients, managing product recalls and handling FDA inspections.
Colin Jones | Principal, President, and CEO, Omni ePartners
Colin is highly regarded for marketing strategies developed for products, brands and concepts across global markets. He has provided effective marketing plans for both manufacturing and retail partners, including Health Warrior, Hario and Smarty Pants.
Colin is also highly skilled at developing creative promotion and go-to-market strategies. His expertise derives from more than 25 years of experience, including founder and former Director of the Board of Premium Cigars International Ltd. and founder, Chairman of the Board, and CEO of Can-Am International.
David Johnson | Principal, VP Sales & Business Development, Omni ePartners
David is uniquely able to strategize and develop solutions for retail business. His expertise is both in brick & mortar retail as well as e-commerce. At Target and Amazon, he worked across diverse categories including technology, home, and consumables. This multi-faceted background gives him a unique POV.
He’s helped Target source trendy international brands like Liberty of London, John Derian, and Missoni. At Amazon, he launched a store for consumer electronics accessories. He has also managed retail vendors for Amazon’s grocery, beverage and personal computers divisions.
Peter Leighton | Founder, Abunda Functional Foods
Peter identifies novel market approaches and applies innovations to consumer brands which drive revenue, profit and corporate valuation. He has been responsible for the launch of hundreds of new products and is a recognized expert in functional foods & beverages.
With 30 years in consumer products, nutrition and biotechnology, Peter has been CEO at Advana Science, VP Marketing & Product Development at Natrol (NTOL), VP at Galileo Laboratories, SVP Marketing at Weider Nutrition (WNI) and Director of Marketing at InterHealth Nutraceuticals. He’s a frequent industry speaker and contributing writer for many publications.
Key brand experience: Natrol, Shasta, La Croix, CitriMax, Schiff, Tiger’s Milk
Tony Miano | Managing Partner, WAM Brand Builders, LLC
Paul R Smith | Industry Expert, Business Coach and Entrepreneurial Enthusiast
Paul R. Smith is a progressive, results-oriented sales executive known for achieving industry-leading success in the rapidly changing food and beverage business. He positively impacts the corporate bottom line through skillful orchestration of sales channel operations while consistently exceeding company targets and sales objectives. He is skilled at cultivating and maintaining strategic business relationships while developing and executing strategies that increase revenue, market share, and market penetration. Paul is an energetic and motivational executive with a high capacity for developing top performing sales teams and bringing ideas to life. He’s known for being an effective business coach, industry expert and entrepreneurial enthusiast.
Paul was most recently the Chief Commercial Officer for DPI Specialty Foods where he led the sales, marketing and commercial business. He joined DPI Specialty Foods in 2014 to lead the strategic and executive partnership with Kroger, directing the sales, marketing and operations with this key client.
Before DPI, Paul was the Vice President of National Sales for the Coca-Cola Company. In this role, he led the sales, strategy, and key business relations with Kroger. His responsibilities included pricing strategy and direction, forecasting and distribution, financial plans, and brand/product promotion and marketing. Paul had direct P&L responsibility and overall strategic development and alignment responsibility for Coca-Cola and Kroger.
Prior to this highly visible executive role with Coca-Cola, Paul was the Vice President of Sales where he led sales and marketing for Coke in all channels operating in Arizona and Hawaii. In this role, he developed and executed retail strategy, marketing initiatives and an operational effectiveness model. Paul was at Coca-Cola for 14 years and held progressively expanding roles while consistently exceeding company goals and objectives.
Paul started his career with Nestle Foods as a retail rep. and progressed to positions of increased responsibility. He was later recruited from Nestle to Georgia Pacific where he led the New England based sales team. He was soon promoted to Team Lead for the Ahold USA business unit. In 1999 he joined Polaroid Corporation as a Business Development/Trade Marketing Manager. Again, promotions came quickly; he became the General Sales Manager for the Central and Western States. At Polaroid he developed and delivered impressive sales results and implemented category management best practices company-wide.
Paul has a passion for learning. He holds a Business Administration degree in Marketing from Providence College in Providence, RI and has participated in numerous professional development trainings in leadership, negotiation and organization design. He’s a regular volunteer and board member in numerous professional, youth sports, civic and community organizations.
TRADEMARK & PATENT LAW
Howard Sobelman | Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.
Howard’s practice is concentrated in intellectual property law, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, licensing and due diligence related to beverages, apartment complexes, aerospace, software, hardware, internet, business methods, solar tracking, financial services, financial planning, insurance products, medical products, mechanical, biotechnology, fiber optics, holography, and various other technologies. In addition, he has worked with a number of large corporate clients and start-up companies to develop creative global licensing and protection strategies.
Howard previously worked as an engineer with General Electric. Howard has won numerous awards including Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America®, for his work with his clients.