Featured Guest

Marc ShepardMarc Shepard
Medical Marijuana – Breaking the Stigma

Born & raised in Southern Mass, and back in my home state after a 13 year stint in Portland Maine.

I’m a registered Mass. MMJ patient, member of both Masscan/NORML and the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance.  I spent 20 years as a Publisher in the Alt-Weekly media world, managing the Boston, Portland, and Providence Phoenixs’, El Planeta (Boston-based Spanish Alt-Weekly), and Dig Boston.  I helped create and execute many events over that time, and as Medical Marijuana & Cannabis became part of the Alt-Weekly edit coverage, the Cannabis Conventions were a natural next step.  I’ve spoken for MMJ and Cannabis Legalization on many regional outlets including NECN’s Broadside, WAAF, WEEI, the Worcester Business Journal, and

Past Guests

sbh headshotMarc Shepard
Medical Marijuana – Breaking the Stigma

I was in finance and commercial real estate for 9 years, and then bought into an IT company which I am still a part owner of.  I had always been into quality ice, and taken note when an establishment went above and beyond and offered more pure and clear ice (especially for cocktails). Last summer, while on vacation, I had some of the best ice I had ever had.  It was unique in that it was obviously different than any ice I had ever had, yet looked so familiar (like the ice on bourbon adds or in Pepsi commercial in the super bowl).  Clear ice I had seen in the past was always one large cube, for an Old Fashioned cocktail.  The concept is great, a large single cube that melts slowly and tastes better as it does melt, but the one large cube just isn’t versatile enough for me.  So, I went on a quest to buy this type of block cut ice.  I struck out everywhere I turned.  There isn’t a manufacturer of this product in all of Texas (at least not that I was ever able to find).  Then I decided to make it myself, and that is when it all clicked, and it started making sense as to why you can’t find this awesome stuff.  Freeze water and cut it up?  So simple, why isn’t anyone doing it?  Well, that’s when it became an obsession.  It now made sense why it wasn’t available, and when you ever did see it in a high end establishment, they were freezing and cutting this up by hand solely for their own use.  I knew I wasn’t the only person who liked better ice in their cocktails, and that there would be a market for this product, so that is how it all started.  Higher quality ice articles are being published every day, and newer molds are being created and pushed all the time.  We are convinced that the ice industry has evolved, and the time is right to scoop up this new segment of the ice market.

Guy LopezGuy Lopez
CHOCOLATE – The Healthy Way! 

A hard working professional with a work ethic second to none. Always willing to go the extra mile to bring a project to fruition. Able to multi task and work in fast environments.
Make sure i bring the best out of people when working together. Understanding and working to improve my areas of limitations while excelling on what i do best.
If there is a way to make a project a reality, i will make it happen!

President of Healthy Chocolate Florida, LLC, a specialty nutrition, functional food design, manufacturing and marketing company with in-house R&D capabilities to develop multiple lines of nourishing, simple, 4NOGUILT® branded chocolates as well as private labels.

Saving the Amazon with Acai

Evan Delahanty is the Founder and CEO of Peaceful Fruits, a social good snack company that makes fair trade, natural fruit snacks that are healthy, delicious, and helping to save the Amazon Rainforest. Prior to launching, Evan worked as a project manager and community economic  development specialist for the U.S. Peace Corps in the Amazon interior of Suriname, South America. His background is in business management, from both his career prior to Peace Corps and his degree from Cornell University. Peaceful Fruits is currently
coming out of pilot and working to scale towards regional and national distribution.

The Power of Entrepreneurship and Purpose

Tom Szaky is the Founder and CEO of TerraCycle, a global leader in the collection and repurposing of otherwise non-recyclable post-consumer and post-industrial waste. In 20 countries, TerraCycle creates national platforms to recycle products and packaging that currently go to landfill or incineration, in collaboration with the world’s largest brands (e.g. Mars, PepsiCo, P&G), retailers (e.g. Staples, Target), and cities (e.g. Tokyo, New Orleans). Through TerraCycle, Tom is pioneering a new waste management process, involving manufacturers, retailers, governments and consumers, to create circular solutions for materials such as cigarette butts, laboratory waste, coffee capsules and even food packaging that otherwise have no other path to be recycled.

Tom is the author of three books, “Revolution in a Bottle” (2009, Portfolio) and “Outsmart Waste” (2014, Berrett-Koehler) and “Make Garbage Great” (2015, HarperCollins). Tom created, produces and stars in a TerraCycle focused TV show, “Human Resources” airing on Pivot TV. Season 3 of the show aired Fall 2016. Tom and TerraCycle have received over 200 social, environmental and business awards from a range of organizations including the United Nations, World Economic Forum, Forbes Magazine, Ernst & Young, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Jeff Fromm 
The Millennial Mindset

Although not a millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in millennial trends and is a contributing writer at Jeff is also a frequent speaker on marketing and consumer trends and brand innovation. Jeff has spent significant time researching the millennial audience and is the co-author of “Marketing to Millennials” (2013) and “Millennials with Kids” (2015).

Jeff has over 25 years of marketing consulting experience across dozens of brands ranging from Build-a-Bear to Whole Foods Market. He is a member of the Board of Directors at Three Dog Bakery, Service Management Group, Tickets For Less & FutureCast. Jeff is a graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and remains actively involved in the alumni network as a regular content contributor.

obeta-headshotObeta Osolu 
Changing The Starching Status Quo

Obeta Osolu is an Entrepreneur with over 20 years experience in the consumer goods and the food service business. He is based in Ann Arbor Michigan and the owner of a brand called Peal Starch. Obeta is looking to change the way we look at laundry, specifically starching. He has developed a revolutionary way to starching clothes and even have fun doing it. Making the product easy to use and versatile was one way to even reach more

Debbie Wildrick
The 10 Principles to a Successful Company
7/27/2016 Episode

Debbie is a channel and distribution expert with a background in executive level business management, sales, and marketing. She has extensive background in the consumer packaged goods industry with over 30 years experience. Her early career included various sales and management positions including Tropicana Juices (Pepsico) and Sundance Juice Sparklers (Stroh). Debbie then transitioned to the retailer side of the industry. During her tenure, she was the Director for Snacks and Grocery products. She has spent a number of years both consulting and in key management positions with start-up brands. Overall, her diverse background includes a combination of retailer and packaged goods experience, something very unique to most people in the industry. She has experience with all channels of trade and specializes in main stream retail and business strategy and execution.

owenbelvins2015Owen Blevins
Focus Inbound
The Power of the Online Review

Owen Blevins is a Partner at 5 Star Reviews, LLC. Online reviews play an increasingly important roll in purchasing process. 5 Star Reviews proudly represent brands who assist over 10,000 companies who realize the value and impact online reviews play in today’s virtual world. Owen is also a a consultant to mid-sized businesses. He has 3 decades of real world experiences marketing businesses successfully to others. Owen specializes in inbound marketing strategies and tactics that can be incorporated using LinkedIn – Facebook – Twitter – Ad Words – PPC – Online Video – Blogging – E commerce – Search Engine Optimization and Marketing – Contextual Demographics – Customer Persona Identification – Mobile Integration – Calls-to-Action – Landing Pages – Website Design and Development. He brings a real world, common sense approach to selecting and implementing these tools for your business by employing a blended strategy to increase your visibility, promote your company by positioning you as a thought leader in your industry and help your business engage with your customers online using the right tools.

Stewart Press HeadshotStewart Press
Next Level Summits
6/15/2016 Episode

Stewart has been organizing high level business events for the past 20 years. His clients include some of the industries most sought after leaders from around the globe.His passion for delivering quality programs to his clients has been a consistent pattern and he is one of few Top Level Executives in the industry, that still remain active on a daily basis with the products he puts to the market for all his clients. His true insights into insuring all his clients receive the best possible outcome are seen at all his events as they have been proven leaders in the Food & Beverage sector for nearly 10 years. His success and his company’s success can be clearly measured in the fact that they operate at once of the highest rates of renewals in the industry, and this can be seen on any of his onsite videos from past events.

Bill Bookout
National Animal Supplement Council (NASC)
4/13/2016 Episode

Bill Bookout is a founding member of the National Animal Supplement Council, serving as President from 2002 to May 2012, returning as President in February 2014 and continuing as chairman of the Board of Directors of the nonprofit organization. Mr. Bookout was President of Genesis Limited, a company he founded in 1999 that provides both feed and health products for companion animals. In March of 2012, Genesis was acquired by Kemin Industries Inc., a privately held, family-owned company that has nearly 1500 employees and operates in more than 90 countries. He was Vice President of Global Sales at Kemin before reassuming the role of NASC President.  Mr. Bookout has been selected by Health Canada to serve on the Expert Advisory Committee for Veterinary Natural Health Products.  Prior to founding Genesis, he spent 15 years in the human medical device and animal health industries, including executive positions with Medex Medical, the All-Care Animal Referral Center (a specialty referral veterinary hospital) and AnaMed International, and was Director of Sales & Marketing for Marquest Medical Products. Mr. Bookout received his bachelor’s degree in physical sciences from the University of Wyoming and an MBA from Pepperdine University, Presidents and Key Executive Program.

Terry ThomsenFeel Good Dough
Terry Thomsen
8/24/2016 Episode

Terry Thomsen specializes in FOOD….Product Development, Wholesaler, Manufacturer, Certified Organic production facility. Terry produces dough that is 100% certified organic which can be found at Heinens. Nature’s Bin, Mustard Seed Market, Whole Foods, Zagaras, Blue Sky, Door to Door organics, and Frickaccios at West Side Market in Cleveland, OH. She has linked up with Red Star Yeast to provide organic yeast for her products. Additionally, she has been with the Pampered Chef for nearly 26 years.


Kevin MalnorKevin Malnor
Vital Essentials
8/17/2016 Episode

Kevin Malnor is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Vital Essentials. Kevin is not new to the industry, he has over 30 years of success growing brands and developing people. He has quite an extensive resume. Before joining the talented team at Vital Essentials, Kevin spent 5 years with Birds Eye Foods in sales & marketing and 12 years with Nature’s Way working in sales, marketing and customer development. Now at Vital Essentials, Kevin uses his sales and marketing expertise to spread the news about this awesome group of pet enthusiasts that believes every dog and cat should have access to the finest foods available anywhere in the world.


Gary SwaimGary Swaim
Who is Gary Swaim?8/3/2016 Episode

Gary is a veteran of the food and agricultural industry, and during the past thirty years has built meaningful relationships in the food business across the world. During the past years, he has successfully developed programs for Supply Chain Managers in industrial production, commercial bakeries, & food service. With his longstanding relationships in the grocery markets, he has successfully expanded the company’s presence in retail supermarkets. Furthermore, he has installed various pricing programs for customers to reduce the extreme price volatility domestic & international commodity markets have imposed on all our customers. His Indiana farm roots brought him back to Indiana in the early 1980’s where he worked for the Lt. Governor of the State of Indiana and with his background eventually became the statewide Director of Agriculture. Gary’s family’s farm in west central Indiana has historically been one of the most well respected American Angus Cattle Breeders in the country.


Marc Paxton
The Wonderful World of Marketing
7/20/2016 Episode

The food/beverage industry has been a huge part of Marc’s life since he was four; that’s when his dad left academia and started working for Frito-Lay. Over the next 14 years, his family moved 6 times as Marc’s dad made his way around the PepsiCo system. He worked as a waiter, an employee insurance claims processor and shipping operations intern before deciding to leave food forever to focus on school.
After receiving his Master’s degree, Marc was unable to find a job, so got a job at Trader Joe’s, where he loved to crush all the boxes in the stores giant compactor. It was amazing to see how much packaging was thrown away at such an “eco-conscious” store!
When Marc lost his job at a tech startup in 2010, he joined his father and a family friend to start Kicking Lizard Salsa. That’s where he really learned about all the different packaging options available!


Lisa Griffiths
That Nutty Redhead
7/13/2016 Episode

Author of International Steampunk Fashions, Lisa was working on a second book, a Victorian/Edwardian fashions book when her gourmet nut snack business, That Nutty Redhead, began to take off in popularity. Lisa had been selling the scrumptious all natural, gluten free almond & cashew nut snacks at a farmers market in MA when foragers from Whole Foods tried the snack and declared that they had to have it on the shelves. That was in 2014, only 9 months after taking the product to the public. Fast forward to early 2016, That Nutty Redhead nut snack is now sold in most of the Whole Foods markets in the New England (north Atlantic) region, along with other major grocery chains such as Market Basket, Roche Brothers, Crosby’s, Donalen’s, McKinnon’s, and more. The Praline recipe is based on one from a cookbook that her Victorian era grandmother Ella Mae owned from the late 1800’s. That Nutty Redhead is set for expansion as she endeavors to go national.


Michael Hocklander
All About Beef Jerky
7/6/2016 Episode

Michael Hocklander has a communications degree and a masters degree in leadership and ethics from John Brown University. Mr. Hocklander worked for Walmart Home Office in International Marketing for six years. In 2007, he started Caribe Producers, LLC, a production company servicing retail, non-profit associations, and travel agencies for marketing through media and live events. In 2014, Caribe Producers partnered with JR Global to launch a private label line of consumables. The successful placement of a private label jerky in the mini-bars at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada prompted a look into the jerky category for national distribution into retail.
On November 1, 2015, Caribe Producers selected and licensed the brand “The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brands” to launch a line of jerky for national distribution. Spicy Revenge and Black Powder jerky debuted May 24 at the 2016 Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago, Illinois.

Andre Verge
Tego Tea
5/11/2016 Episode

Andre Verge began his interest in holistic health at an early age.  His childhood originating on a dairy farm in Northern Vermont, he understood the necessity of a balanced lifestyle with nature.  He also understood the importance of family heritage and traditional ways.   Having extensive roots in Native American traditions, Andre is a proud member of the Abenaki.   The strong sense of tradition and a call for holistic health is what drove Andre to pursue his interest in helping others through natural aids.  Tego Tea is one such aid that Andre has an extreme passion about.  Deriving from traditional medications, Andre was able to perfect his family tea recipe that has been known for centuries to lower blood sugar.

Andre continued his formal education and attended Upsala Collage.  Through friends and family suffering from Type II Diabetes, he was urged to continue with his research on Tego Tea to help aid those suffering from high blood sugar.  He then returned to his beliefs and patented the precise formula for Tego Tea.  In 1997, Andre was invited to the University of Bolognia, Italy to demonstrate his findings in the academic world.  After favorable findings through the University, it was decided that Tego Tea must be released to the Diabetic world.  Andre continued his Diabetic research and after 24 years, is known as a specialist in his field.

The Tego Tea Company was formulated in 2015 and has been turning heads ever since.   Known for extremely fair business practices and high moral values,  Andre was able to raise the total amount of investor capital in less than 2 weeks.  He continues to be the driving force along with his wife Linda and family.  Andre’s mission is to make Tego Tea available to all.

Cynthia DavisCynthia Davis
Great Tasting Food that Makes Cynt’s
4/6/2016 Episode

Cynthia was born and raised in Detroit. She planned on attending Culinary school in Chicago but that was postponed due to the birth of her twins. She was a stay at home mom for 10 1/2 years. During this time she had several local chefs take her under their wings. She also began catering for friends. In 2013 Cynthia legally formed Sha La Cynt’s Personal Chef & Catering Company. Sha La Cynt’s is a health conscious personal Chef & Catering company with growing product lines. In June of 2016 their Decadent Vegan Dessert line will be on the shelves at Whole Foods Detroit. Their Vegan Gourmet Popcorn line will be introduced to Whole Foods in May of  2016.

Wes Raley

Sweet Success: Raley’s Confectionary

3/30/2016 Episode

Joining us on this episode of Ditch The Box is owner of Raley’s Confectionary, Wes Raley. The company is a family owned and operated Candy Shop that combines centuries old candy making techniques with wholesome ingredients and modern artwork. Tune-in to discover what made Wes want to start his own business in the first place and how he went about doing so. This is the intriguing journey of Raley’s Confectionary thus far.

Debra Meyers

Enfusia- blends for body

3/23/2016 Episode

Join us for today’s episode of Ditch The Box as we welcome owner of Enfusia-blends for body, Debra Meyers. Debra worked in the corporate world for years until finally starting her own business, Enfusia. Enfusia offers a full line of bath and body products created with the infusion of botanical extracts, vitamins, essential oils and natural ingredients. No harsh chemical ingredients are used, ever. Join us as Debra shares her journey, including the keys to manufacturing she has discovered over the years!

Patrick MallekPatrick Mallek
The Brand Chefs at Mighty Fudge Studios
3/16/2016 Episode
“Getting Creative with The Brand Chefs”

Bold. Gusty. Completely insane. Those are words most often used to describe test pilots, mountain climbers and lion tamers. But they could also be used to describe our head creative. Patrick Mallek walked out of high school into an agency more than 25 years ago and hasn’t stopped soaring or climbing or taming lions since. He’s the perfect combination of instinct, inspiration and discipline. And like any good head waiter, he’s more than just the pretty face that gets you to your table. He also brings you your food, busses your table, does the dishes and sweeps up after you leave. You know, just until the lion taming gig picks up…

Gary Jacobs
Scoochie Pet Company
3/9/2016 Episode
“Scoochie Pet Company “

Jacobs has worked in the Pet Industry his entire career. Graduating from SUNY Delhi in 1986 with a degree in agriculture, Jacobs began working for a premium pet food distributor in Queens New York. Jacobs was then recruited to be a territory manager by Truimph Pet foods, which he did for 6 years. Jacobs then went to work for Vo-Toys,a family owned pet toy manufacturer in New Jersey, where he was the national sales manager for over 20 years. Jacobs job responsibilities included marketing and product development was well as sales. In 2014, Mr. Jacobs started a new company called Scoochie Pet Products, which he says take the best of all the companies he has worked for and combined that with his almost 30 years experience in the pet industry and created what he calls the Pet Shop Quality pet company.

Jerry Chizick
Handi Foods
3/2/2016 Episode
“How Handi Foods Handles Business”

Jerry Chizick is currently the VP/General Manager of Handi Foods LTD and leading marketer of Branded Pita products in Canada. He deals with the production and distribution of fresh and frozen pita and flatbreads as well as dry snack products throughout North America. Jerry has over twenty-six years of successful management experience within the bakery and food industry as well as domestic and international experience within the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and toiletries industries. He has a proven track record in managing for growth, market share, volume and profit, goal setting and performance measurement, expansion through internal development and acquisitions, customer development, and more.

Ray Gadd
Flagship Food Group
2/24/2016 Episode
“Flagship Food Group’s Marketing Guru”

Ray was born in the borough of Manhattan in NYC, grew up in New Jersey and attended college at the University of Dayton in Ohio where he attained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and an emphasis in Marketing. He started his business career in the food industry and worked with Borden Foods. In 1980, Ray moved his family to Idaho working for Ore-Ida Foods. During his 17 years with them he was responsible for everything from new product rollouts, to creating sales generation campaigns, to building brands in the military commissary system, to export sales to Asia. When Ore-Ida moved to Pittsburgh, he was determined to stay in Boise and became president of Murie Design, a graphic design firm that worked closely with Hewlett-Packard. Ray is currently the Chief Marketing Officer of Flagship Food Group, a $300M private equity company focused in the food space and is responsible for strategic direction, new product development and runs their third-party packaging business.

Shelley Roth
Pierre’s Ice Cream Company
2/17/2016 Episode
“I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Pierre’s Ice Cream!”

Shelley Roth is President of Pierre’s Ice Cream Company, an 84-year-old regional ice cream manufacturer and distributor. She returned to Cleveland from New York City in 1979, (where she had been in the marketing department at Atlantic Records), to assist her father with the family business. Her first assignment was in marketing; setting the direction for the company to expand its distribution beyond Cleveland, and expand its product assortment. In 1984, Shelley assumed the position of vice president, with responsibility for sales, marketing, finance, and new product development. And, in 1991, Shelley became President.
Pierre’s products are sold throughout Ohio and several other states. The company has grown into a regional favorite among ice cream lovers and a leader in the production and distribution of gourmet ice creams, sherbet, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and frozen novelties. It also manufactures private label lines and distributes many national brands of ice cream.
Since 1932, Pierre’s has remained in the heart of Cleveland, Ohio; with its original, classic recipes as daily reminders of the company’s dedication to quality. That dedication influences the company’s focus on the future as it develops new business opportunities and continues to be innovative and sensitive to consumers’ changing needs. Featuring over 250 products and flavors Pierre’s Ice Cream Company remains committed to the highest quality standards, outstanding service and industry leadership.
Shelley has been active in numerous community organizations, and supports the revitalization of Cleveland’s neighborhoods in many ways. On its 8-acre site at E. 65th and Euclid Avenue, the company constructed a new 40,000 sq. ft. low temperature distribution center and 16,000 sq. ft. office headquarters in 1995, and most recently completed the construction of a brand new, 35,000 sq ft. state-of-the-art ice cream factory. These investments contribute to the company’s operation as well as demonstrate Pierre’s commitment and leadership in revitalization and redevelopment of an urban neighborhood
Shelley is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland. In 1989 and 1990, Shelley served as chairman of the MidTown Corridor. She has served on the board of directors of the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation since 1996, and chaired that board from 2004 – 2006. Presently, Shelley serves on the boards of the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation and International Ice Cream Association.
Shelley, and her husband of 33 years, Bruce Schwartz, live in Shaker Heights. She received a B.B.A. Degree from the University of Michigan.

Bob Ricketts
Fasta & Ravioli Co.
2/10/2016 Episode
“Fasta & Ravioli Company”

Robert (Bob) Ricketts is the owner and chief pasta maker for Fasta & Ravioli Co. headquartered in Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania.  Founded in 2009, his entrepreneurial spirit has led to the development of over 60 kinds of fresh pasta and 40 different kinds of fresh frozen ravioli.   Currently, Bob serves as the Vice President of the Centre County Convention & Visitors Bureau and serves on several Farmers’ Markets committees.  He is a 2008 graduate of Penn State’s School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management.   In his free time, Bob enjoys skiing, hiking, and kayaking.

Keith Strauss
Sales Concepts
2/3/2016 Episode
“Sales Concepts Training”

In 22 years with Sales Concepts Keith has worked with thousands of clients in over 500 industries.  He is well versed in topics ranging from sales and sales management skills, staff, structure and  strategy.
Keith spends his external facing time facilitating classes, working strategically with owners and management teams, interacting 1 on 1 with clients and delivering coaching over the phone.  As President, Keith’s internal focus includes long term strategic planning as well as growing the organization’s people, processes and management.  Additionally, Keith works to broaden the customer base and add long term planning and structure for the future of Sales Concepts.
Following 7 years on the local board of EO Cleveland, Keith is in his sixth year serving globally and is currently the EO Mentorship Sub-Committee Chair.  Keith will finish his global duties in July of 2016 and return to the EO Cleveland Board to be President from July 2017 through June 2018.

Robert Sinclair
ECM BioFilms
1/27/2016 Episode
“The Rise of Biodegradable Plastic”

Robert Sinclair, President of ECM BioFilms, Inc. since December of 2000, earned his A.B. from Dartmouth College and J.D. from Case Western Reserve University.

He is a member of ASTM, currently serving as the subcommittee chairman of D20.92 and actively participating in D20.95, D20.96, E50, E60 and E62.

Mr. Sinclair is also a member of the International Standards Organization, Society of Plastics Engineers, and Plastics Environmental Division.

Gene Mealhow – “Farmer Gene”
1/20/2016 Episode
“Tiny But Mighty Popcorn”

Farmer Gene Mealhow has been producing Tiny But Mighty Popcorn® since the late 1990s. A third-generation family farmer and soil consultant by profession, Gene continues to build his company and consult with farmers regarding organic certification. Back in the 1980s, Gene started to look at the whole picture involving groundwater & chemicals and decided to go organic with his farming. He joined a soil consulting firm, which advised farmers about soil nutrients & seed selection.

One of Gene’s first customers in the early 1990s was Richard Kelty, who brought Gene in to reduce his waste and increase the yield of a very special seed – known today as Tiny But Mighty Popcorn. Gene and Richard worked together, greatly improving yields, until Richard decided he was ready to sell the business in 1998. Gene had a connection to this special heirloom seed & didn’t want to see it fall to the wayside; a few weeks later he asked Richard if he could buy the business.

Mike FechterMike Fechter
1/13/2016 Episode
“Increasing Sales With Aggressive Marketing”

Michael Fechter, CEO and Owner of Hansen Foods, LLC has more than 30 years of progressively responsible experience directing and growing businesses with revenues in excess of $40 million. Michael has led these companies through start-up, survival, acquisition and growth modes. Michael has spent 24 years as president, vice president business development and consulting in a variety of industries including; agriculture, plastics, packaging, industrial manufacturing and consumables. His understanding of business encompasses; strategic planning, operations, business development, logistics, value add services, btb and retail sales. Among his previous positions, Michael along with his longtime partner, John Frey acquired Hansen Foods in the fall of 2013. During his short tenure he’s increased sales by 45% through organic growth which has led to doubling the number of employees and facility expansion plans in 2016.

Andrew Cousins
12/30/2015 Episode
“Andrew Cousins Round 2”

Andrew Cousins is an international packaging entrepreneur, with a reputation internationally for bringing packaging customers and producers together for success. Andrew followed his father and founded his own firm during university, working on packaging projects in the rigid packaging industry. In 2008 he was asked to join Packsys Global in Switzerland, as packaging specialist in the international sales team.  Travelling all over the world, he built packaging factories in countries as diverse as the Ukraine, India & Croatia.  As he took up the entrepreneurial role again, his new wine packaging company took him to California, where he first “met” the flexible packaging market – namely stand-up pouches directly in an interesting project for Wine in stand-up pouches.  Impressed by the range of options, he expanded into this new world, and soon wound up working with Cellpack Packaging, a dynamic Swiss firm, specializing in finding the solutions to impossible flexible packaging problems!

Dave Lakin
Business Coach
ActionCOACH Huntsville
12/23/2015 Episode
“The Need for Small Business Coaches”

Over the last 35 years, Dave has built a reputation as an amazing turn-around manager. In the last 2 years alone he has helped over 30 business owners achieve their goals, and take their business to the next level, achieving double and triple-digit growth in profitability, accomplished through improvements in sales, marketing, team training, systems development and strategic planning. Dave began working as an aircraft electrician in the US Navy and quickly discovered his troubleshooting skills applied to areas of business as well.  He quickly progressed and ultimately ended up at Naval Aviation Headquarters as a large-program manager.  Upon retirement from the Navy after 24 years of service he landed with a large DoD Contractor as a licensed Program Manager (PMP).  He worked several multimillion-dollar programs at once, taking each of them to higher levels of success.  Craving more impact to his own community, he turned to coaching as a way to give back locally.

David McElyea
2 Plank Solutions
12/16/2015 Episode
“The Evolution of Marketing”

2 Plank Solutions was founded with a Macbook bought on credit and the faith of a trusted mentor in 2012.  Since then the company has gone on to work with firms of all sizes in a variety of industries.  Focused on promoting brands, generating leads and driving revenue, 2 Planks uses Pay Per Click, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development and Inbound/Content Marketing strategies to drive positive results for their clients.

At the helm of the 2 Planks, and it’s a small wheelhouse, is David McElyea.  A 20-year ski and snowboard industry veteran, David has spent the past 15 years immersed in technology.  Working on projects that have ranged from replacing literal cut and paste operations to complex legacy system integration with new platforms, David has always been able to work outside of norm to create solutions that ultimately bring more profit to the bottom line.

When not solving problems with technology, David is usually enjoying the outdoors in Gunnison Colorado with his wife and daughter.

Ron Bergamini
Action Environmental Group
11/25/2015 Episode
“Waste Hauling and Recycling”

Action Environmental Group is the parent company of Action Carting Environmental Services, Inc. is New York City’s most progressive and innovative provider of non-hazardous waste management services, catering to a diverse range of industrial and commercial customers , including restaurants, medical facilities, building contractors, investment banks and other types of businesses. From collection and recycling, to composting organic material and disposal, Action Carting Environmental Services, Inc. provides a comprehensive selection of environmentally responsible service offerings to our customers.

Other subsidaries are Action Environmental Solutions, LLC, a state of the art recycling facility in the Bronx and Action Environmental Systems, LLC, the operator of two solid waste transfer stations located in the Bronx and Brooklyn.


Jim Dekosta
Sales Manager
Assemblies Unlimited, Inc
11/18/2015 Episode
“What You Need To Know About Contract Packaging”

Jim Dekosta has been with Assemblies Unlimited for over three years and has an extensive background in paper and packaging. He studied hotel restaurant management from Southern Illinois University and spent 4 years with The Newark Group which was a fully integrated global manufacture of paperboard. After that he worked with Rock-Tenn for 11 years and was responsible for their industrial packaging division. Assemblies Unlimited has allowed Jim to use his background to provide packaging solutions to all customers for both primary and secondary packaging solutions, including material sourcing and full project management.

In Jim’s spare time outside of work he enjoys coaching his daughter’s soccer team and going to local street festivals and trying new restaurants in the city.

Tim BrownTim Brown
Taco In A Bag /Glutton Force Five
11/11/2015 Episode
“Talking Tacos (In A Bag)”

This episode of Ditch The Box features food industry expert Tim Brown. Tim is owner of the mobile gourmet food companies companies Taco In A Bag and Glutton Force Five .


Melissa Anthony
anthonyBarnum Public Relations
10/28/2015 Episode
“The 4 Pillars of Public Relations”

Melissa Anthony Sinn, founder and CEO of anthonyBarnum Public Relations, leads a team of expert public relations strategists based in Austin, Texas. Her firm serves some of the most recognized multinational companies in the world, and innovative mid-market and emerging organizations headquartered in Texas. With nearly 20 years of experience in public relations, she began her career in NYC where she held positions at the renowned firm Ruder Finn and MacMillan Communications. Her PR expertise and commitment to excellence have been invaluable for clients including the Czech Republic, BP, top professional services firms and leading high-growth technology companies. In addition to driving anthonyBarnum forward, Melissa supports the goals of the Austin entrepreneurial and business community as a board member of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. She is a board member of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, a patron of Austin Ballet and actively engaged in veteran’s issues.

Ross Taylor
10/21/2015 Episode
“F This, F That!”

Ross Taylor lives, with his partner and co-founder Kara Leonard, in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Together, they started Love You Foods and developed the FBomb line of healthy fat-based single-serve food products.  Initially driven by a personal need to get adequate healthy fats in their low-carb/high-fat diet, while away from home, Ross and Kara decided to take matters (and their fats) into their own hands.  They developed a line of products based on the concept of high quality, low hype, and reasonable pricing – all in durable, portable pouches.  Ross believes that you should have fun, enjoy life, and not fear being a bit recalcitrant.  That’s reflected in the FBomb name.

Debbie Weil
Voxie Media
10/14/2015 Episode
“Voxie Media: Writing, Publishing, Editing & Beyond!”

Debbie Weil is the proud publisher of Stand Up & Stand Out: And Watch Your Product Fly Off the Shelves by David Marinac. An author and book coach, she is the founder of Voxie Media, a boutique publisher of short, high-quality nonfiction books. A graduate of Harvard, Debbie is a Web pioneer and veteran blogger. She is the author of The Corporate Blogging Book, published by Penguin Portfolio. She has spoken to audiences worldwide about the power of blogging and other social media to connect with customers. She was named one of the Most Influential Women in Technology by Fast Company. That all sounds impressive but the truth is that she has struggled with self-doubt, procrastination, and defeatism all her life, particularly as it relates to writing. Her passion is helping first-time authors journey over the mountain from idea to book. Learn more about Debbie here.

Tom Scheiman
b.a. Sweetie Candy Company
10/7/2015 Episode
“The largest Candy Store in America”

Tom Scheiman is the owner of b.a. Sweetie Candy Company Inc. Tom has spent 65 years in the business distributing candy wholesale, retail, and on the web. He has owned the company 33 years and has been in the candy industry for 45 years. He currently resides in Independence Ohio and Chandler Arizona (split time). Tom has been married for 41 years to his wife Judi, has 2 kids, 2 grandkids and one on the way. The whole family lives in Arizona and manages Sweeties Candy of Arizona.

USA Fulfillment
9/23/2015 Episode
“Fulfillment Services: What You Need to Know”

Seasoned supply chain professional with over 28 years of experience serving Ecommerce, B2C, and B2C clients across a diverse range of industries. As a sales professional, I enjoy meeting people, learning about their companies and talking about the challenges they face with their branding, marketing and supply chain. I love challenges and take great pride in my track record for creating successful, proven solutions that enhance the overall customer brand experience while driving efficiencies, improving performance, and increasing sales & profitability. I have an in-depth working knowledge of many supply chain services including fulfillment, contact center, kitting & assembly, operations, printing and direct mail which gives me the insight needed to develop streamlined and integrated solutions.

Specialties:  New Business Development, Client Relations, Sales & Marketing, Multi-Channel Integration, Brand Retention/Growth, New Brand Development/ Implementation, Program Transitions, Strategic Business Planning, Business Intelligence Analysis, Job Costing/Estimating


Andrew Cousins

9/2/2015 Episode

“Around the World with Andrew Cousins”

Andrew Cousins is an international packaging entrepreneur, with a reputation internationally for bringing packaging customers and producers together for success. Andrew followed his father and founded his own firm during university, working on packaging projects in the rigid packaging industry. In 2008 he was asked to join Packsys Global in Switzerland, as packaging specialist in the international sales team.  Travelling all over the world, he built packaging factories in countries as diverse as the Ukraine, India & Croatia.  As he took up the entrepreneurial role again, his new wine packaging company took him to California, where he first “met” the flexible packaging market – namely stand-up pouches directly in an interesting project for Wine in stand-up pouches.  Impressed by the range of options, he expanded into this new world, and soon wound up working with Cellpack Packaging, a dynamic Swiss firm, specializing in finding the solutions to impossible flexible packaging problems!


Jeremy Johnson
General Manager & National Sales Manager of Encore Specialty Foods

8/26/2015 Episode
“Encore Dominates Specialty Foods”

Jeremy Johnson is the General Manager & National Sales Manager of Encore Specialty Foods, a gourmet food importer based in Hingham, Massachusetts. He started working for Encore in 2004 as part of an internship program though Chicago’s DePaul University. After a successful internship, Johnson worked part time for Encore in a customer service role from 2005 – 2007 while obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree at DePaul University’s Richard H. Driehaus College of Business, with a focus in entrepreneurial business. Upon graduating from DePaul in 2007, Johnson moved from Chicago back to his native Massachusetts to join the company full time as National Sales Manager, working closely with Encore’s network of retail and foodservice distributors throughout the U.S. In 2013, Johnson was promoted to General manager. Johnson has been featured in The New York Times, CNBC.COM, Yahoo Finance, and The Gourmet Retailer discussing the specialty food industry.

Amy - 3 Paws UpAmy Iaciofano
Owner of Three Paws Up

8/19/2015 Episode
“Three Paws Up: Made With Love”

Amy is the owner of Three Paws Up and she bakes all natural dog treats made with organic ingredients. Her treats are now sold at Quality Fruitland, Whole Foods Market in Providence and Jamestown Mercantile. Amy just got great news about her treats coming to another store soon! She started baking and her taste testers Peanut, Princess and Max gave Three Paws Up after sampling her first batch! She is active in animal rescue, believe in giving back and absolutely loves to help animals find homes and provide quality treats that are healthy! Website:


Kevin CoenKevin Coen
President of Fannie May Fine Chocolates & Harry London

8/12/2015 Episode
“Celebrating 95 Years of Sweet Success”

Kevin joined the family on October 28th, 2013 as the President of Fannie May Fine Chocolates and Harry London. Kevin brings extensive experience and success in the retail, wholesale, e-commerce and distribution business with companies such as Lindt Chocolate, Swarovski and Filene’s.  He was most recently the Chief Executive Officer of Crabtree & Evelyn, with responsibility for North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.


Fannie May’s New Packaging — Sneak Peak: 



Bryce Dorsing

Bryce Dorsing
Stoneridge Orchards/Royal Ridge Fruits

8/5/2015 Episode
“A Family Tradition of Success”

Bryce Dorsing is the Senior Vice President of Stoneridge Orchards; a third generation family owned and operated business that has been dominating the all-natural and organic dried and frozen fruit market since 1962. Before taking the reins, Dorsing ventured away from his hometown of Royal City, Washington, to attend the University of Idaho, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness. He concentrated on sales, marketing and business management, allowing him to exponentially grow Stoneridge Orchards’ sales and marketing initiatives. Bryce Dorsing enjoys hunting, fishing and golfing. He currently lives in Royal City, WA with his wife and 2 daughters.


Rebecca O'ConnorRebecca O’Connor
Pinnacle Consultation

7/29/2015 Episode
“Medical Marijuana Packaging: Why It Matters”

As a native of Colorado, Rebecca has been working in the marijuana industry for the past 4 years. Combining experience in the marijuana industry from managing facilities and consulting with numerous dispensaries over the state of Colorado. She’s helped a wide range of cannabis businesses with services such as inventory reconciliation, compliance audits and creating standard operating procedure. Her passion is to help small and large businesses thrive in compliance and quality.


George CampbellGeorge Campbell
American Green

7/15/2015 Episode
“Shedding Light on the World of Cannabis”


George Campbell is a diverse businessman who realizes new business opportunities within the sectors of product or service design, business model design, and marketing. He evaluates and implements a planned strategy using new business development; economics, finance, managerial activities, competition, prices, and marketing techniques. George works with his clients in the areas of technological improvement, cost reduction, general welfare, improved relations, and sector growth. At American Green in Brooklyn, NY, George is responsible for East Coast Sales & Business Development.

Stephen Shearin stands near ZaZZZ vending machines that contain cannabis flower, hemp-oil energy drinks, and other merchandise at Seattle Caregivers in Seattle

 ZAZZZ Vending Machine

yongwang2015Yong Wang
Professor at Ohio University

7/8/2015 & 6/17/2015 Episodes
“Power of Packaging & Marketing Success”

Dr. Yong Wang is an associate professor of marketing at Ohio University. He teaches Foundations of Professional Sales, Marketing Research, Business-to-Business Marketing, International Marketing, and Marketing Strategy. Prior to teaching at Ohio University, Dr. Wang had research and consulting experiences in international organizations and private consulting firms. His research is focused on frameworks in buyer behavior. Buying decisions are driven by a mix of rationality and hyperreality, both shaped by social and cultural contexts. His consulting expertise includes international marketing research, international trade, sourcing, and FDI, cross-cultural negotiations, strategic planning and branding, and B2B relationship marketing.


Editor200Laura Zielinski

7/1/2015 Episode
“How To Build Your Brand Using Publications”

Laura Zielinski is Editor in Chief of BRANDPACKAGING. Her background in art and English led her to the position of Web editor at BNP Media. She continued her work in the B2B industry prior to BRANDPACKAGING as associate editor of Environmental Design + Construction and Sustainable Facility.


Kevin LamarKevin Lamar
Golden Bison/High Plains Bison

6/24/2015 Episode
“Hot Brands and Major Retailers”

Graduate of Stanford University, Kevin holds an impressive resume. Currently the VP of Sales and Marketing at Golden Bison/High Plains Bison, his success has been enormous. During his time with Golden Bison thus far, he has built and leads a team of 7 sales professionals, nearly doubled revenue through the introduction of formal processes for channel distribution and product placement, AND secured a strategic partnership with Whole Foods to plan and execute promotional activities and informational campaigns. Kevin’s specializes in Business Leadership, Revenue Growth, Budget Management, Market Penetration, Product Commercialization, Fortune 500 Partnerships, Licensing, Business Development, P&L Management, Financial Management, and Product Development.


Art JohansonArt Johanson
Tri-Cor POP

6/24/2015 Episode
“Hot Brands and Major Retailers”

Art Johanson is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Tri-Cor POP. In this role, his core duties include developing Sales and Marketing Strategies for Tri-Cor’s core business in the Graphic Packaging and POP marketplace, as well Marketing Strategies for the US Distributorship of i-Echo Digital Cutting Tables. Art has an extensive background in Sales and Marketing with a unique insight on the packaging industry.


Stephanie HwangStephanie Hwang
Sealer Sales

“What You Need to Know About Sealing”

Stephanie Hwang is our go-to expert at Sealer Sales. They have been instrumental in helping our clients find the best heat sealers for our stand up pouches and other types of flexible retail packaging. As many of us in the industry already know, flexible packaging needs to be sealed in order to properly protect the product from the elements. The seal of a pouch is so important because if it doesn’t properly protect the contents, taste and freshness could be compromised. This is where Sealer Sales comes into play. Tune-in as Stephanie highlights the different types of heat sealers, explains the difference between direct and impulse heat, advises on seal width and the implications of each, and portrays why a proper seal is the finishing touch on a professional bag. You don’t want to miss her expert insight on sealers and the flexible retail packaging industry!


Jason WongJason Wong
HFM FoodService

“Food Industry Expert Joins the Conversation”

Ditch The Box welcomes industry expert Jason Wong to our show. Jason has accumulated 20 years of experience in the food industry. Founder and president of Asia Foods, LLC., he also has much experience in New Product Development with Roland Foods. Currently the VP of Sales at HFM FoodService, Jason’s inimitable perspective, clarity, and strategic advice offers outstanding perception on the industry as a whole. He touches on a few crucial topics during the course of the episode: the 4 main grocery channels in the marketplace, the importance of balancing industry trends while pinpointing new flavor profiles, why to utilize brokers, and even explains the reasoning behind his predicted 3-5 year plan (from finished product to store shelves). Jason leaves us with his own personal experiences in dealing with one of the most prominent mass merchandisers in the industry…. WALMART. Tune in now to hear the full interview!


Gary BowenGary Bowen
Shannon Packaging

“WHY use flexible retail packaging?”

Ditch The Box welcomes our guest, Gary Bowen, from Shannon Packaging. We are extremely pleased to have Gary join us today to discuss packaging. Recently, Shannon Packaging moved to a new factory to better accommodate the company’s needs. With the move, they added two stand up pouch packaging machines. Why? The demand asked for it. Gary Bowen and Shannon Packaging, along with many others, are placing their bet on flexible retail packaging for future industry growth. Tune in to hear Gary’s insight, advice, and honest opinion about flexible packaging. From risk mitigation to utilizing packaging for marketing efforts, Gary offers outstanding insight on the flexible retail packaging industry and what we can expect to see in the future.

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