January 2020 | Directors Corner
VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES, ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV
What is your background and career path at Heidelberg?
I started my career in 1985 at Hensley & Co., an Anheuser-Busch wholesaler where I attended college at Arizona State University, and I immediately fell in love with the beer business. I graduated and took a job at Quality Beers, an AB wholesaler in Chicago and then I joined Anheuser-Busch in 1989. After six moves around the country, I landed in Cincinnati and fell in love with the Queen City. I called on Heidelberg in a series of roles and left AB in 2011 to join Heidelberg as VP of Sales for the Cincinnati/Dayton AB Divisions. Almost 35 years in the beer business — and I’m still loving it!
What are your job responsibilities and priorities?
My day-to-day responsibilities include overseeing the sales side of the AB Division and working with our suppliers, our customers and our Associates. I have daily communication with the Cincinnati and Dayton GMs (best in the business betweenToby Coston and Chris Rammel), along with our awesome GSMs Dan O’Hara and Rob Vanmetre. Other responsibilities include managing our relationships with professional and college sports teams, music venues and some of our largest customers. I’m also the primary point of contact with some of our larger suppliers including AB and Constellation. I also work with ownership and senior leadership to identify opportunities to expand business with new supplier partners.
Any recent accomplishments or notable projects from you/your team?
This past year was filled with two major accomplishments: Team Dayton was recognized as a GOLD Ambassador of Excellence winner (AB’s highest award) and Team Cincinnati won the Constellation Wholesaler of the Year Award. We are looking to repeat both accomplishments this year! We also helped facilitate sponsorship renewals with Riverbend Music Center and the Cincinnati Reds for five-year extensions valued at over $7 million. Another notable project was the merging of Dayton AB with Dayton AOB to make one fantastic selling machine.
Who do you interact with on a regular basis?
Most of my daily interaction is with the GMs, GSMs, Sales Execution Coordinators, Team Leaders and key suppliers. I also work with our Key Account Managers and support their efforts with our key chain customers. And I always enjoy engaging with our front-line sales folks to ensure we’re giving them sound direction.
What alcohol beverage trends are you seeing?
Seltzers and FMBs (flavored malt beverages) are driving the majority growth and excitement right now. I have never seen a category explode so quickly and I have never seen a brand, White Claw, dominate an emerging category as that brand has done so in 2019. There will be many new entries into the seltzer category in 2020, and the good news is that Heidelberg has just about every one of them. There are many other brands driving growth of the industry, with the key buzz words centered around health/wellness, innovation and premium-ization.
How has the business and/or company changed since you joined Heidelberg?
The biggest change in the business has been the emergence of the high-end and FMB brands, growing at the expense of core brands and value brands. I would include seltzer into the high-end. While the segments of core and value still sell the majority of the beer category, the high-end and FMB are quickly closing the gap. Fortunately, Heidelberg is positioned well with the entire beer portfolio. Our strength rests with our diverse suppliers and wide portfolio.
How do you like to spend time when you’re away from work?
As my children become adults and begin their own careers, I enjoy spending as much time with them as possible. I’m grateful for what fine young adults all of three of them have blossomed into, and it is so gratifying to watch them grow in their own professions. Tom (24) is a lobbyist in Phoenix; Kate (22) is a Management Trainee with Sherwin Williams; and Anna (18) is a freshman at Ohio University. The rest of my free time is spent with Meredith, some close friends, playing golf, and traveling out west from time to time. Bowling also has recently hit my radar (after 54 years, I purchased my own ball and shoes…that’s how you know you’re getting old ).