NOSH Live | Summer 2017 | Speakers
Senior VP of Knowledge and Innovation, Hartman Group
James is a professionally trained cultural anthropologist turned strategy consultant. He has studied consumer behavior in food and beverage for fourteen years, working with a variety of clients from Kraft Foods to leading venture capital firms to early stage natural/organic food companies. In his current role, he oversees the development of Hartman’s intellectual property and analytical toolkit to ensure that the company is filling critical knowledge gaps in the food and beverage industry. Recently, he has helped develop a go-to-market playbook to help emerging premium brands accelerate growth without losing their authenticity. In this role, he has become one of few national experts on the premium food/beverage marketplace and how it is disrupting CPG and retail businesses. He is also the creator and author of Hartman’s quarterly whitepaper series on strategic issues facing the food industry: Hartbeat Exec. James’ unique perspective also draws on his doctoral training as a cultural anthropologist and his extensive cross-cultural experiences.
Author, Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America
Michael Ruhlman is the author of critically acclaimed books including The Soul of a Chef, The Elements of Cooking, Ratio, and Ruhlman’s Twenty. He has collaborated on several bestselling cookbooks, including The French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon, and Alinea. Ruhlman has written about food and cooking for the New York Times, Gourmet, Food Arts, and other publications. He was born in Cleveland and lives in New York City.
Founder & CEO, Presence Marketing
He started working in a natural food store when he was 16 and began reading books on nutrition and healthy living at a fervent pace. Paavo Airola, Norman Walker and Paul Bragg were some of the early natural food enthusiasts who influenced his lifestyle choices, along with the inimitable Dr. John R. Christopher, an early pioneer in herbal medicine. After nearly a dozen years of working in the Natural Products Industry, in varied roles within the sales and retail sectors, he launched Presence Marketing in January, 1990. He is surrounded by a dedicated cast of creative and intelligent people who carry out the mission of bringing healthy products to consumers, with great energy, passion, and resolve. With nearly 35 years of industry experience, he is uniquely qualified to lead Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence during booming as well as unstable economic times. His passion for sustainable agriculture, healthy foods and integrated medicine are key drivers behind his commitment to continue building Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence, the only independently owned, national - natural products brokerage in the United States.
EVP of Sales, La Colombe
To those in the food and beverage industry, Kyle O’Brien is considered a modern-day visionary. He has a unique ability to identify great entrepreneurs and industry-changing products before they launch and help bring them to market. From Greek yogurt, to sliced and bagged apples, Kyle has carved an impressive notch across the food and beverage landscape. His approach is simple: combine natural ingredients, innovation, and a human element to yield market giants and epic brands. At 22 years old, O’Brien first focused his talent alongside a young entrepreneur whose plan it was to preserve sliced apples by using natural ingredients, such as Vitamin C, and suspending them in gas-flushed, breathable pouches. Kyle then pitched it to accounts from McDonalds to major school districts across the country, and the rest is history. O’Brien then met another talented craftsman, Hamdi Ulukaya, and was introduced to his yet-to-launch Greek yogurt company, Chobani, which would fundamentally change the world of yogurt. As a Partner and EVP of Sales, O'Brien built the sales and distribution structure and grew the business from its first cup into America’s #1 selling yogurt, capturing nearly 40% market share. His drive and commitment didn’t stop there, and O’Brien is not one to retire early. Next, O’Brien identified a new category-changing product and visionary entrepreneur, the Draft Latte, invented by Todd Carmichael, Co-Founder and CEO of La Colombe. O'Brien seamlessly assumed the role of Executive Vice President of Sales at La Colombe and immersed himself in the product and culture. Within months, he assembled a sophisticated nation-wide logistics, brokerage, and distribution network, paving the way for La Colombe’s Draft Latte to assume its position on every shelf and refrigerated case in America.
Founder/Co-CEO, Halen Brands
Jason Cohen, Founder/Co-CEO, co-founded Mamma Says, Inc. in 1999, a food manufacturing company that produced biscotti. He grew the business from concept to gaining distribution at retail giants such as Costco, BJ’s and Trader Joe’s. In a few years, the company was able to establish a national brand where sales volume doubled year-over- year. In 2005, the business was sold to NONNIS Inc., a portfolio brand of Windpoint Partners for 4x revenue. In 2005, Jason co-founded World Gourmet Marketing, creating better-for- you snacks under the flagship brand Sensible Portions, which included all-natural, low-calorie snacks such as Veggie Straws, Pita Bites and Multi Grain Crisps. Again, his strategic plan was to sell into large format retailers such as Costco first. He then moved on to vendors such as BJ’s, Wal-Mart, Sam’s, ShopRite, Safeway, SuperValu, etc. Under his management, the company achieved double-digit growth and became one of the fastest rising snack food industry purveyors. The company went from $4MM in sales in 2005 to just under $100MM in 2009. In 2010, World Gourmet (and the Sensible Portions brand) sold for $110MM to The Hain Celestial Group, one of the leading providers of organic and natural foods. While at Hain Celestial, Jason served as President of Club and Snack Division, and was responsible for executing the sales strategy for brands such as Terra, Garden of Eatin’ and Sensible Portions. In 2011, Jason founded Rickland Orchards, the first shelf stable Greek yogurt brand. In October 2013, after sales soared to $50 million in just 18 months, the company was sold for $57.5 million to B&G Foods, a public company. In 2013, Jason partnered with the founders of SkinnyPop. SkinnyPop successfully went public in 2015 for 1.4 billion in shareholder value. In 2014, Jason received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Excellence in Emerging category in the New Jersey region. In January 2015, Jason co-founded Halen Brands, Inc., which quickly funded Chef’s Cut Real Jerky in March 2015. Halen Brands then purchased Rex’s Outrageous Road Crew Crunch in September 2015 and most recently partnered with Core Hydration in June 2016. Jason has also invested, raised capital, and previously or currently holds Board Member positions for various companies, mostly in the consumer products space including : Dippin’ Chips and Mrs. Thinster’s, Voli Vodka, Pearl Media, and two apparel companies - Trukfit and Asphalt Yacht Club.
CEO, Fresca Brands, CMO, Fresca Foods Inc.
Liz Myslik is Chief Marketing Officer of Fresca Foods and CEO of Fresca Brands. Fresca partners with visionary entrepreneurs and operates high growth natural and organic food brands as a vertically integrated natural foods company. Liz has been helping to build great brands for over 20 years as a marketer, CEO, and investor. Named by Forbes Magazine as a Kingmaker in Consumer and Retail industries, by Fortune Magazine as one of the Most Influential Women in Food and Drink, and by New Hope Natural Media as one of 9 Wonder Women In the Natural Food Industry, Liz has become a go-to person in the natural products industry by helping numerous companies innovate and grow. Liz received her BS from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. She lives in Denver, CO.
Director, Encore Consumer Capital
Bill joined Encore Consumer Capital in 2008. He is a director of Ancient Harvest, Brownie Brittle, California Splendor, Navitas Organics and Thanasi Foods. Bill is responsible for deal origination and execution as well as portfolio company oversight. Prior to Encore, he led corporate development for Nest Collective, a natural and organic consumer products company. Bill began his career at Swander Pace & Company (later acquired by Kurt Salmon, now Accenture), a strategy consulting firm servicing food, beverage, apparel, and retail clients, where he was a member of the firm’s Private Equity Practice and worked on multiple consumer transactions. After Kurt Salmon, Bill led the food and beverage practice of a boutique investment bank. Bill graduated with a BA in Public Policy from Stanford University. Bill lives in Marin County, CA with his wife and twin daughters, and enjoys training for triathlons. He previously served as the Chair of the Stanford Associates Board of Governors, Board Member of the Stanford Alumni Association, Board President for Wu Yee Children’s Services (a non-profit social services agency), and member of the Board of Trustees of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in San Francisco.
Regional Grocery Buyer, Whole Foods Market
John Lawson has lived in NYC for the last 20 years, and has worked in food retail for nearly all of them. He has been with Whole Foods Market since 2005, and a Regional Buyer since 2009. John is passionate about ethical & sustainable food sourcing, and in his current role he enjoys partnering with brands for product development, strategy, and growth.
Brian Rudolph is on a mission to make nutritious food more accessible. At the age of 23, Brian co-founded Banza along with his brother Scott. Banza makes the foods you love better, by using more nutritious ingredients. Less important by far than his pasta, Brian has been featured on Forbes and Inc’s 30 under 30 lists and with Scott on CNBC’s Restaurant Startup. Brian received his BBA from Emory University and is an alumnus of the Venture for America fellowship.
Managing Partner, 2X Consumer Products Growth Partners
Andy Whitman is a successful consumer products executive and investor who melds the experience of a Fortune 100 leader with the passion and resourcefulness of an entrepreneur. After a successful career with General Foods and Kraft Foods and recognizing that nurturing smaller businesses to achieve rapid growth was his passion, he focused on investing in and helping to operate small consumer products companies. Andy has been an active part of the emerging branded consumer products eco-system since founding 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners in 2001. Andy and the 2x Partners team have partnered with: Beanitos bean-based snacks, Blue Dog Bakery all-natural dog treats, D’s Naturals high-protein/low-sugar, dairy-free foods, gDiapers eco-friendly diapers, Good Karma non-diary milk and yogurt alternatives, Mega-Food and Innate Response whole food nutritional supplements, Orabrush bad breath eliminators, Tasty Bite Indian and pan-Asian foods, The Seaweed Bath Co. natural personal care and Wellness all-natural pet foods. Andy began his career managing icons like Kool-Aid and Tang. After years of delivering results on big brands, he jumped at the opportunity to run small, autonomous businesses within Kraft in a shirtsleeves environment. Taking charge of brands as small as $10 million that Kraft had been unable to grow or run profitably, Andy's entrepreneurial leadership produced outstanding results. His ability to grow businesses comes from his proven general management experience built upon a diverse breadth of prior functional assignments, including marketing, sales, operations planning and corporate development. He currently or previously assisted pro bono by serving as a board member for the Jewish United Federation Foods & Hospitality Trade Sector, Marketing Executives Network Group (MENG), Venture Board of the Women's Self-Employment Project and White Plains Child Day Care Association, a Head Start agency. Andy received a B.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. He is an outdoor adventure traveler, an active skier, an avid college basketball fan, a Culinary Institute of America-trained cooking enthusiast and a devoted Parrothead – as a result of traveling early in his career with singer Jimmy Buffett. Andy is a single dad by choice via surrogacy to a darling little girl, the light of his life.
Partner, Managing Director, Beechwood Capital
A seasoned operator and investor with over 15 years of experience in management, operations and marketing, Kahn co-founded Beechwood Capital to identify and invest in unique, disruptive growth-stage branded consumer products companies. The founders of Beechwood Capital have deep entrepreneurial and operational experience, including founding and building The Holmes Group (with brands such as Crock-Pot®, Rival®, and Bionaire®) from a start-up to an $800 million branded consumer products leader, which they sold to the Jarden Corporation in 2005. Food and Beverage are a significant focus of Beechwood Capital with current investments in Banza, Foodstirs, and WTRMLN WTR. Kahn holds a B.S. in Marketing from Lehigh University and an M.B.A. from The Anderson School at UCLA. He currently serves as board member for Banza, a board observer for MiniLuxe, and a board advisor for Tatcha.
President, Chex Finer Foods
Experienced President of Chex Finer Foods, Jeremy Isenberg has demonstrated commitment to building long term partnerships. Isenberg is a strong business development professional skilled in Marketing Management, brand development, and Market Planning. Jeremy describes himself as passionate and loyal.
CEO, Tate's Bake Shop
Maura Mottolese has been the CEO of Tate’s Bake Shop since it was acquired by The Riverside Company private equity group in late 2014. Ms. Mottolese began her tenure with Tate’s setting the stage for accelerated growth by collaboratively leading the team to unprecedented sales and distribution gains, a complete rebranding, launching its first national advertising campaign, a renovation to create state of the art kitchens and expanding production capacity 50%, recruiting a first-class sales team and relocating the corporate offices. Under Ms. Mottolese’s leadership revenues have doubled and Tate’s has become the #1 brand in dollar growth within the shelf stable cookie category. According to the head buyer at leading US retailer, “Tate’s has disrupted the formerly stagnant cookie category!” Previously, Ms. Mottolese was President of The Switch Beverage Company, a sparkling juice company which was owned by a private equity firm who hired Mottolese to revive the brand post-bankruptcy. The Switch was successfully sold to a strategic buyer in 2014. Maura has also held a variety of senior level marketing roles, driving growth across a broad portfolio of marquee brands including, Revlon, Snapple, Mott’s, Hawaiian Punch, and Schweppes to name a few. Ms. Mottolese earned her B.S. in Business Administration from the University at Buffalo, and her MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Founder & Managing Partner, Boulder Food Group
Founder and Managing Partner of Boulder Food Group, Tom previously co-founded EVOL Foods and was the COO of Bear Naked Granola. Under Tom’s management, both businesses were successfully sold to public companies. In addition to his role at BFG, Tom proudly serves on the board of directors of three non-profit organizations including Chef Ann Foundation, Just Label It and Growe Foundation. Chef Ann Foundation and Just Label It are focused at the national level on critical food related issues. The Growe Foundation works with Boulder Valley elementary schools to provide learning opportunities in school gardens. Tom is also the co-founder of the 929 Non-Profit Summer Series which takes place in Boulder, CO each summer. The event series benefits at least five non-profits each year and raises funds on their behalf. Tom was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. He attended Santa Fe Preparatory School and then Vanderbilt University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors and dual degrees in Economics and Spanish. Tom lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and family.
Boot Camp | Summer 2017 | Speakers
Marco De Leon
Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Rip Van Wafels
Marco De Leon is the Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Rip Van Wafels, a high-growth snack food brand pioneering the snack wafel category in the US. A native of Amsterdam, Rip began making snack wafels in his dorm room at Brown University as he couldn’t find his favorite childhood treat in America. In 2012, Marco partnered with his Brown classmate, Rip to scale Rip Van Wafels. Together, they’ve developed an innovative NON-GMO product line of snack wafels, reduced the sugar content by 40% and grown the business from a dorm room to distribution in 12,000 Starbucks nationwide. In 2016, Marco was featured in the Forbes 30 under 30 List. He has a BA in Economics from Brown University and resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Whipstitch Capital
Nick McCoy is a Co-Founder and Managing Director with Whipstitch Capital. In 2001, he co-founded the investment bank Silverwood Partners. In 2009, Mike Burgmaier joined Nick at Silverwood, together they completed nearly forty transactions for clients such as Blake’s All Natural, KeVita, Cherrybrook Kitchen, Spindrift and Otter Creek Brewing Company. In October 2015, they formed Whipstitch.
Partner, Nutter, McClennen & Fish, LLP, Founder, Edible Ventures
Jeremy Halpern is a partner and co-chairs and serves as the Director of Business Development for Nutter’s Emerging Companies Group. Jeremy’s practice focuses on emerging companies, private equity, venture capital and angel financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, executive and team compensation matters, and general start-up support. Serving as the firm’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Jeremy often works on strategy and corporate development matters with companies, investors, and executives in technology, life sciences and the food and beverage industry. Jeremy is an active angel investor and is a member of the board of The Capital Network, a Boston based non-profit serving entrepreneurs seeking high growth capital. Jeremy serves on the Advisory Board and the Executive Education Committee of the MBI Health Program and on the Advisory Board of Pintley, a MassChallenge 2011 finalist company providing marketing solutions to the craft brewers and bars. He continues to serve as a mentor at MassChallenge and LearnLaunch, an expert advisor at the Innovation Hub at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and as a speaker, reviewer, judge or mentor for MIT HackingMedicine, HackingPediatrics, the Mass Tech Transfer Center, the Mass Life Science Center, M2D2, BranchFood and Startup Institute. Previously Jeremy served on the Board and Investment Committee of MassVentures, an early stage venture capital fund funding technology companies in Massachusetts. Jeremy taught entrepreneurial leadership at Tufts University for nine years and cofounded a company in the mobile technology synchronization space. Jeremy received his B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of California, Berkeley, and his J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Founder, Natural Products Consulting Group
As a consultant since 1998, Bob Burke provides assistance in bringing natural, organic and specialty products to market across most classes of trade. This includes work in strategic planning, growth strategies, writing sales, marketing and business plans, budgeting, pricing, building distribution, broker selection and management, organizational development, strategic options, branding and trade spending management. He is also the co-author and co-publisher of the Natural Products Field Manual, Fourth Edition and The Sales Manager's Handbook. Prior to consulting, Bob was with Stonyfield Farm Yogurt for 11 years as Vice President, Sales & Corporate Development and Vice President, Marketing & Sales. He has held marketing positions with Colombo, Inc. and Sperry Top-Sider. He received an MBA from Babson College.
Founder/CEO, The Lyric Group
Rob has been involved in the specialty food trade for over twenty years, with a proven record of success in global sales, strategic planning, packaging, team-building, new product development, distribution, procurement and import/export management. He has deep and established relationships with buyers in every major distribution channel: specialty retail, grocery, club stores, foodservice, direct to consumer, drug and export. His long-standing sales relationships include retailers such as Whole Foods Market, Williams-Sonoma, Target, Walmart, Publix, The Fresh Market and Dean & DeLuca.
Founder, BIN Consulting Group
Bruce began his food career in the mid 1970s selling organic cookies, brownies, and desserts to natural and specialty food stores in the New York City area, including Bloomingdales. In 1984, a decade later, he founded B.I.N. Sales and Marketing Inc., represented everyone from major natural product companies to start-up brands including Amy's, Green & Blacks, Health Valley, Organic Valley, Newman's Own and quickly becoming the leading natural products sales & marketing agency on the East Coast. In 2006, B.I.N. was purchased by Advantage Sales and Marketing, a leading national sales and marketing Company based in Irvine, California. In addition to B.I.N. Sales and Marketing Inc., Bruce also co-founded Organic Brands LLC, in 1998. Organic Brands developed the Mediterranean Organic brand, a line of certified organic specialty food products. In 2007, Organic Brands was purchased by United Natural Foods (NYSE: UNFI), the leading distributor of natural products in the U.S.
Founder, Maggiore Sales and Marketing
John has been in the grocery business for over 25 years, he founded Maggiore's Sales & Marketing in 2003, as a consultant and broker to the Natural/Specialty trade, with a primary focus on grocery, dairy and frozen in the Supermarket Channel. Prior to setting out on his own John was the Category Manager of Natural Food for Stop & Shop Supermarkets based in Boston, MA. John pioneered the store with-in-a-store Natural Food departments at Stop & Shop, creating over 150 departments in less than five years. Natural Food sales grew at Stop & Shop from $6 million when John took over responsibility for the department to $67 million when he left. Before John became Category Manager of Natural he had buying responsibilities in numerous categories including Specialty Cheese, Specialty Crackers, Gourmet Coffee, and Specialty Pasta as well as Frozen and Dairy Foods. Currently John is working with some leading manufacturers in the Natural Food channel including Pirate Brands, Justin's, Green Mountain Gringo, Seapoint Farms, R.W. Garcia and Angie's Popcorn, and has worked with other leading companies in the past including Bear Naked Granola, Larabar, Vita Coco and Ian's Natural Foods.
CEO, Konnect PR
Sabina Gault is the CEO of Konnect, an award-winning communications and marketing agency based in Downtown Los Angeles. A seasoned and passionate PR and marketing practitioner, Sabina’s approach to client service, strategic communications, and measurable results are apparent in Konnect’s rapid rise from a startup to a mid-size agency with an average annual growth rate of 60 percent. Sabina leads a team of dedicated staffers who provide a boutique-level of personal service combined with an adept ability to effectively build brands that has resulted in a long list of legacy clients. As a working mother and the entrepreneur behind a WBENC-certified, women-owned business, Sabina has a passion for the challenges and rewards that stem from successfully balancing family and career. This passion is evident in Konnect’s relationships with brands that serve families and children, as well as its work with clients in the franchise space and the artisanal “better-for- you” food and beverage industry. Sabina is a graduate of Berkeley and currently resides in Long Beach, California with her amazing husband and two children who keep her grounded and contribute to the motivation that drives her success.
Dr. Scott Goldsmith
EVP and Partner, Lancaster Fine Foods
Scott Goldsmith is the Founding partner and Vice-President of Business Development for Lancaster Fine Foods. He has grown Specialty Contract Manufacturing Sales from 2 million to 10 million from 2008 to 2016. Prior to Lancaster Fine Foods, Goldsmith was the Owner and Operator of Behrman Chiropractic in Lancaster, PA from 1991 to 2007; specializing in interventional pain management and board certified in manipulation under anesthesia by the Royal College of Physicians. He is married to Kimmie, is a father of 5 grown children, and is an avid fisherman.
Former Outreach Lead for Food, Kickstarter
For over three years Terry Hope Romero was the Outreach Lead for Food at Kickstarter, advising and educating hundreds of food startups on best practices on the platform. Terry is also a vegan chef and an accomplished author and co-author of 8 cookbooks including bestselling Veganomicon and Salad Samurai, contributes to BUST and VegNews magazines, holds a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University and has given talks and cooking demonstrations across North America, Europe, and Australia.