Directors Corner


Vice President, General Manager – Lorain

Kevin KnightWhat is your background and career path at Heidelberg?
I was named General Manager of Lorain when Heidelberg purchased Goodman in 2008. My first job out of college (Brown University) was at J. Lewis Cooper Company, a Gallo wholesaler, in Detroit. I then worked for the E&J Gallo Winery in the thumb area of Michigan for two years. Gallo placed me in Ohio as a result of the Goodman Beverage purchase as Sales Manager in 1990. Over the years my role expanded and eventually I was named VP of Sales.

What are your job responsibilities and priorities?
As GM my responsibilities are to make sure that all things affecting Lorain are managed and accomplished the best, most efficient way possible. My priority is to make decisions (with the input of my department heads) that will promote a team effort atmosphere and a get things done attitude. Also, growing sales revenue by assisting & providing the sales and operations teams with the things that they need to be successful.

Any recent accomplishments or notable projects from you/your team?
Because of our central location between Toledo and Cleveland, we supply and manage the transfer truck to move product for the northern houses. Additionally, we were able to relieve Cleveland of the Youngstown cross-docking and warehouse their back stock inventory during the re-racking projects. I am proud that my operations team was able to help our sister companies while also accomplishing the work that needed to be done in Lorain.

Who do you interact with on a regular basis – suppliers, retailers, management, HDC “wheel” teams?
I primarily interact with my department heads on a daily basis. I also try to sit in on most of the Director, Admin, etc. Zoom calls to keep informed on all aspects of our company’s business. Key retailers and supplier relationships have changed over the years as our structure has changed, therefore I only regularly interact with a handful of them currently.

What alcohol beverage trends are you seeing?
The seltzer category is on fire, and we are blessed to have the top two in White Claw (Mike’s) and Truly (Boston Beer). This category of drinks appears to have further growth potential as it appeals to all alcoholic beverage consumers. Wine, etc. in cans is another category that is exploding. I believe the verdict is still out on how the consumer will accept this addition, and we probably won’t know until sometime next year.

How has the business and/or company changed since you joined Heidelberg?
The business has changed and is ever evolving due to consolidations at the supplier and distributor levels. Job tasks have become more corporate as we are aligning each of our cities to become more efficient and benefit from our size and scale.

How do you like to spend time when you’re away from work?
Spending time with my family is always the first choice. We like to jet ski and vacation on Kelleys Island; wood work and landscape together; watch Detroit Red Wings and even Columbus Blue Jackets Hockey. I also enjoy being active and involved in the community. Because I am the current Chairman of the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce it enables me to spend time networking at events with other local business leaders and charities that are making a difference in our area.