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The Food Shippers of America Blog

Meet the 2022 Top Food Chain Pros to Know

by Staff, on Feb 26, 2022 4:22:37 PM

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Whether the COVID-19 pandemic gave supply chain professionals greater opportunities to distinguish themselves or the challenging situation simply spurred those in the industry to recognize their colleagues, Food Chain Digest received a significant number of quality nominations for this new recognition program.

The following individuals were selected on the basis of their food supply chain expertise and career accomplishments in the past 12-18 months. They represent shippers and providers, and various demographics, levels of expertise, and roles and responsibilities. As the following profiles show, these remarkable professionals are making great strides in their career while generating value in  the supply chains of their employers, customers, and key stakeholders.

Greg-Ackner-300x300Greg Ackner
Vice President Sales, Capital Logistics

Ackner comes with 25 years experience in the brokerage and trucking industry, with a heavy focus on the temperature controlled, frozen food marketplace. Ackner has grown the company by 200 percent year-over-year and has single-handed on-boarded the major food distributors and retailers in company’s customer portfolio.

Jim-Becker-300x300Jim Becker
CEO and Founder, Becker Logistics

Becker founded this major 3PL within the food shipping industry in 1997, and through his leadership enabled 130 percent growth through the turbulence of the last two years. In fact, he’s led the company to achieve $100 million just last year through strong organic growth and a significant recent acquisition. “Jim makes sure every food shipment is handled with care and the path from farm to fork is as transparent and efficient as it can be,” says one associate.

Joe-Amici-300x300Joe Amici
Director of Consolidation, Echo Global Logistics

Amici leads Echo’s Refrigerated Consolidation division, which moves LTL orders from shipper to consignee in a hub-less model. Amici’s leadership continues to scale the refrigerated consolidation program, creating more efficiencies in day-to-day operations which lead to higher trailer utilization, products spending less time on a trailer, fewer out-of-route miles, and minimal cross-docking or points.

Oliver-Bowe-300x300Oliver Bowe
Senior Director, Logistics, Campbell Soup Company

With more than 25 years experience in logistics, operations, and project management, Bowe currently is responsible in leading logistics (including warehousing, transportation and customer support) for Campbell’s Snack Food business. He has a proven track record of increasing profitability and achieving breakthrough customer service performance.

Jill-Clifford-300x300Jill Clifford
President, FreightPlus

Using 30-plus years experience, Clifford drives innovative and solutions for food customers such as King Arthur Baking, Cumberland Packing, Cucina Antica, Chex Finer Foods, and Biena Snacks. Her ability to form collaborative relationships with carriers and shippers has been instrumental in the growth of FreightPlus, which was named in 20221 as one of Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies.

Don-Durm-300x300Don Durm
Vice President, Customer Solutions, PLM Fleet

With 26 years in the industry, Durm is an internationally recognized industry authority on cold chain regulatory compliance and supply chain technology. He has worked as a tireless advocate with government and industry to navigate FSMA rules and bring safe foods to the consumer. He was consulted by the Trump Administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” on the distribution of COVID- 19 vaccines in the U.S.

Chuck-Everett-300x300Chuck Everett
Senior Director, Business Development, Red Classic

A 40-plus year veteran in transportation, Everett has held numerous roles in operations, sales, and dedicated transportation throughout his career. While many customers faced strains to their supply chain and capacity during the pandemic, Red Classic has been awarded several valuable dedicated transportation contracts through Everett’s efforts that have benefited Red Classic and removed hindrances for customers.

Mary-Kearney-300x300Mary Kearney
Director of Business Development & Special Projects, Tucker Freight Lines

Kearney started her transportation career in 1984 with Continental Grain Co., then moved into sales and pricing roles with Hirschbach, and today is Director of Business Development for Tucker Freight Lines. She has been active in FSA for more than eight years and currently is the Motor Carrier Advisor for the association. In 2019 she was the Conference Co-Chair.

Marshalll-Kipp-300x300Marshall Kipp
President & CEO, ATS (Advanced Transportation Services)

Kipp’s leadership has evolved a one-truck operations to exceed $1.3 billion in sales since ATS began in 1984. Over the past 18 months capacity demands during the COVID pandemic have skyrocketed and ATS has increased its capacity. “He develops innovation, leads by example, and maintains a positive company culture that drives success,” says one associate at ATS.

kristy-knichel-300x300Kristy Knichel
Chief Executive Officer, Knichel Logistics

This fast-growing transportation company is slated to reach more than $100 million in revenue in 2022 via Knichel’s ability to create and execute dynamic growth strategies year-over-year. Knichel has been actively involved with the Transportation Intermediaries Association to advocate for positive policy changes this past year with the introduction of legislation to allow brokers into the C-TPAT program.

rob-lafollette-300x300Rob LaFollette
Vice President, Sales, Transfix

Through 30 years industry experience, LaFollette leads tactical efforts to ensure Transfix continuously provides innovative, consultative solutions needed by food shippers. He has held leadership roles with XPO Logistics, Swift Transportation and U.S. Xpress. “Rob has made significant strides in deepening relationships with over 150 top food shippers,” says one associate. “His focus on diving deep into identifying areas of opportunity for shippers is what makes Rob stand out.”

russell-leo-300x300Russell Leo
CTB, Chief Executive Officer, RLS Logistics

As one of the largest family-owned cold chain 3PLs in the Northeast, Leo is expanding this business nationally through a unique acquisition strategy. He has 26 years experience in temperature controlled logistics, transportation and distribution finance, and recently served on the Board of Directors for Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA).

jess-meloche-300x300Jess Meloche
Enterprise Account Manager, BM2 Freight Services

Meloche works primarily with largest food and beverage customers of BM2 Freight. He single-handedly is responsible for managing nearly 20,000 shipments during his 10-year career at this transportation solutions-based freight brokerage firm. He holds a Master’s degree from Thomas More College and a Bachelor’s degree from University of Kentucky.

Brian-Pharaoh-300x300Brian Pharaoh
National Sales Executive, Big M Transportation

As a certified multi-functional logistician and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Pharaoh manages national sales, overseeing business development growth of enterprise accounts for this freight transportation and logistics company. He produced and managed food chain engineering design and solution projects in grocery fulfillment, streamlining operational effectiveness, producing up to nine-figure cost saves benefits.

mike-regan-300x300Mike Regan
Chief of Relationship Development and Strategic Initiatives, TranzAct

Regan has been helping food shippers with freight audit and payment, reporting and TMS applications, rate negotiation and contract development since co-founding TranzAct in 1984. He has spoken at many FSA events over the years and has been a strong advocate on issues important to food shippers through leadership roles with such groups as CSCMP, NIT League, and NASSTRAC.

nick-reasoner-300x300Nick Reasoner
Chief Executive Officer, TransLoop

Reasoner is a strategic leader who has scaled his company to 50-plus team members and five locations generating more than $100 million in three years. He has implemented a real-time shipment visibility platform, nationwide drop-trailer programs to address warehouse shortage problems for shippers, and programs to educate college students on the importance of U.S. supply chains.

mike-rieck-300x300Mike Rieck
Director of Sales, Gateway Logistics

Rieck has 17 years of experience in the 3PL industry, with a majority of those focused on food and beverage supply chain management. He has helped to educate and mentor associates at Gateway on the importance of refrigerated freight which has in turn enabled the company to grow its refrigerated customer based by 35 percent.

deb-sanford-300x300Debra Sanford
Vice President, Sales & Pricing, Radiant Clipper

With 37 years experience at Radiant Clipper, Sanford is a pioneer for women in leadership roles. She’s responsible for sales and pricing for the company’s refrigerated trailer fleet. Throughout the pandemic, she has successfully navigated through supply chain challenges and collaborates closely with railroads to get produce and other necessary products to end-consumers.

lisa-schommer-300x300Lisa Schommer
Divisional Vice President, Logistics, Bar-S Foods Company

Schommer is an accomplished executive with more than 20 years experience in supply chain, logistics, and operations within high-profile consumer products companies. She has a demonstrated record of leading teams and achieving measurable results, with particular expertise in strategic planning, project management, innovation and implementation. She has held previous positions with QTrade Teas and Herbs, China Mist Brands, Inventure Foods, and The Dial Corp.

kam-sihota-300x300Kam Sihota
CEO and Founder, Kam-Way Transportation

A self-taught entrepreneur, Sihota comes from a humble background who grew up in his family’s farming/trucking business. Lessons learned there led him to build this successful East Indian-owned freight brokerage and asset-based network that serves the U.S. and Canadian supply chain retail and grocery markets. Kam-Way is deeply rooted in several community programs that give back.

armon-shahpar-300x300Armon Shahpar, MSSCM
Commercial Lead/ Refrigerated Program, Uber Freight

Shahpar leads the company’s commercial reefer program and acts as a liaison with pricing, operations, and carrier team as a voice for food shippers. Part of his role is to provide facility insights to shippers that utilize reliable, actionable data and supply chain analytics to help companies make data-driven decisions, tailor their facility operations, and improve business performance.

ron-seifried-300x300Ron Seifried
Senior Operations Manager of Transportation, Land O’ Lakes

With more than 20 years experience in transportation and logistics, Seifried is an experience manufacturing executive with a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry. Seifried currently is responsible for day-to-day operations of the Transportation Planning Group at Land O’ Lakes, one of America’s premier agribusiness and food companies.

josh-silcox-300x300Josh Silcox
Director of National Supply Chain Management, ALDI USA

Silcox has more than 20 years experience in supply chain management, logistics, procurement, operations, network management and asset optimization. Currently he is leading an end-to-end supply chain transformation and build-out with ALDI. He previously held logistics positions with SpartanNash, U.S. Foods, Sysco, Ryder Supply Chain Solutions, and Quikrete.

omar-singh-300x300Omar Singh
President, Surge Transportation

With 25 years industry experience, Singh leads this transportation provider to enterprise-level food shippers for short lead-time, overflow, peak season solutions. He mentors entrepreneurs at Stanford University, speaks at conference such as BluJay, Gartner and CSCMP, serves on the board of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), and regularly speaks on media platforms such as Freightwaves TV and Road Dog Trucking Radio.

chris-smith-300x300Chris Smith
President Grocery, McLane Company

Chris Smith is President of McLane Grocer, a $33 billion business unit providing supply chain solutions to 70,000-plus retailer locations. Previously he was Chief Supply Chain Officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance where he oversaw supply chain functions for 9,200 U.S. based Walgreens stores through 16 DCs and 9,000 warehouse employees.

madhav-srinath-300x300Madhav Srinath
Managing Director, NexusLeap

Srinath founded NexusLeap to specifically solve food chain problems and has grown over 4X in revenue year-over-year. After starting his career at Manhattan Associates, he has since served on Microsoft’s Cloud AI advisory board, was the VP of Product for a Virtual Reality startup, and has even guest lectured at UT Austin. He is on a mission to equip supply chain leaders with simple data products built with cutting-edge tech.

jamie-teets-300x300Jamie Teets
Chief Executive Officer, Transportation One

Teets founded the company in 2010 with aspirations to build a well-respected transportation brokerage supported by cutting-edge, proprietary technology. Through his vision and leadership, the self-financed company has experienced significant year-over-year growth and has been named on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Business list seven times.

len-tyrrell-300x300Len Tyrrell
Executive Vice President, Edge Logistics

Tyrrell has 20-plus years experience in supply chain management, with special expertise in negotiation, talent management, customer service, operations and freight management for customers of Edge Logistics, a freight solutions company. Tyrrell led his team to deploy initiatives that ultimately resulted in Edge to be named 2021 Carrier of the Year by Niagara Bottling.

craig-weiss-300x300Craig Weiss
Senior Vice President & Chief Transformation Officer, Conagra Brands

Weiss is an experienced supply chain leader at Conagra Brands with a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry. Currently he’s in a leadership role that supports Conagra’s Planning and Logistics teams. He’s skilled in business process, food and beverage operations management and supply chain optimization.

michael-wohlwend-300x300Michael Wohlwend
Managing Principal, Alpine Supply Chain Solutions

With 30-plus years in strategic planning, warehousing, manufacturing, and supply chain systems, Wohlwend is a true advocate of the supply chain industry. He has authored many articles for trade publications, presented at industry events, served on the board of directors for the Warehouse Education Research Council (WERC), and mentors through an internship program.

Food-Chain-Digest-Download-1200x628

This article was originally featured in Edition 1 of 2022 of Food Chain Digest magazine. Download the digital version today!

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