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ROFDA Appoints Seven To Advisory Council

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Retailer Owned Food Distributors & Associates (ROFDA) has announced appointments to its ROFDA Advisory Council (RAC). The RAC is made up of seven ROFDA associates, and appointments are made by a combination of ROFDA’s Chairman Martin Arter, president and CEO of Affiliated Foods Midwest, ROFDA staff and the immediate past Associate Member Advisory Group. Six RAC members serve concurrent two-year terms with the ROFDA chairman; one “at-large” member serves a two-year staggered term to create continuity from one council to the next. The purpose of the RAC is to provide ROFDA leadership with input, information and feedback representing the interests of ROFDA’s associates and suppliers in support of ROFDA’s mission.

“We could not be more excited about the individuals that make up the ROFDA Advisory Council,” said Francis Cameron, president and CEO of ROFDA. “This group includes very impressive individuals. Each person appointed to RAC comes with unique skills and a proven commitment to the success of independent grocers. I am confident in their abilities to have a profound impact in driving value for all parties.”

The appointments to the ROFDA Advisory Council include:

• Dennis Belcastro, SVP of government affairs and industry collaboration with Hillshire Brands Co. (RAC chairman)

Belcastro joined the leadership team at Hillshire Brands in August 2012 as SVP of government affairs and industry collaboration where he is responsible for leading the company’s efforts with business and industry related issues and opportunities that help shape public policy while creating integrated strategic retailer collaborative partnerships. Most recently, Belcastro served the industry as the EVP of industry affairs and collaboration at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) where he was responsible for GMA’s strategic industry collaboration platforms and key initiatives to best serve the association’s membership.

Prior to joining GMA, Belcastro was SVP of customer development and industry affairs for Kraft Foods North America where he was responsible for Kraft’s “First to the Table” integrated focus on customer collaboration and overall business relationships within the industry. In addition, Belcastro led Kraft’s engagement with corporate strategic initiatives that included integrated customer marketing and supply chain areas of focus to support the overall business strategy. In this role, Belcastro was responsible for top-to-top business relationships with Kraft Foods’ top customers.

Belcastro began his career in the food industry in 1976 when he joined Standard Brands in Pittsburgh as field sales representative. During the past 35 years, Belcastro has held several business and customer development and organizational leadership positions with Nabisco Brands in both retail and foodservice business segments, including SVP of national customer teams, VP of sales for broker categories and, most recently with Kraft Foods, VP of sales and customer logistics for its direct-store-delivery segment.

A native of Aliquippa, Pa., Belcastro holds a bachelor’s degree in business communication from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where he majored in journalism and participated in intercollegiate baseball, serving as captain for two years. Belcastro earned a graduate program certification at Syracuse University and his executive MSC degree in business and organizational communication at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Belcastro and his wife Marsha reside in a Chicago suburb and they have three children—Chris, 34; Craig, 30; and Courtney, 24.

• Rick Brindle, VP of Mondelēz International

With annual revenue of approximately $36 billion and operations in more than 80 countries, Mondelez International is a world leader in chocolate, biscuits, gum, candy, coffee and powdered beverages. The company comprises the global snacking and food brands of the former Kraft Foods Inc. following the spin-off of its North American grocery operations on Oct. 1, 2012. Mondelez International’s portfolio includes several billion-dollar brands such as Cadbury and Milka chocolate, Jacobs coffee, LU, Nabisco and Oreo biscuits, Tang powdered beverages and Trident gum.

Brindle has been in the packaged goods industry since 1977. During his career, he has held leadership positions within Kraft Foods, Nabisco, Procter & Gamble and Safeway food stores. His last retailing assignment was as a store manager with Safeway’s Germany division. His business development leadership assignments have spanned the grocery, club, e-tailing and mass merchandiser classes of trade. He has had business development responsibility for retailers and wholesalers like Walmart, Supervalu, Safeway, Costco, Giant Foods, PeaPod, FreshDirect.com and Amazon.com.

Brindle is one of the industry’s more enduring veterans in the online grocery segment. Since 1997, he has developed and led Nabisco’s global e-sales. He continued in this role through the acquisition of Nabisco by Kraft Foods and the recent Kraft spin-off.

Brindle and his wife Dee reside in Chesterfield, Va.

• George Eversman, VP of retail Channels with Dot Foods

Eversman oversees Dot’s relationships with wholesalers, self-distributing chains and manufacturers in all retail segments, including grocery, drug, convenience and mass channels. He has 19 years of experience at Dot in sales and business development. Eversman began his career as a foodservice marketing manager and moved to regional sales manager before settling into his retail channel leadership role in 1999.

Eversman has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. He also holds an MBA from Arizona State University.

Eversman and his wife Michelle have four children and reside in Quincy, Ill.

• Lance Oelke, managing partner with SJT LLC

Prior to forming SJT, a leading provider of front end merchandisers and point of purchase displays, as well as front end management services, in 2007, Oelke was EVP and GM of Cannon Equipment Co. Before Cannon, Oelke was VP of sales and marketing for Promag Retail Services. Before joining Promag Retail Services, he was with Time Distribution Services, a division of Time Warner, where he held positions of increasing responsibility, eventually rising to become district sales manager, Denver.

Oelke has an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s of science degree from Colorado State University.

He and his wife Kimm reside in Lakeville, Minn.

• John Latham, director of business development with Topco Associates

Latham is an industry veteran with 30 years of supermarket and retail experience. He has worked with Ahold USA, Giant Food of Maryland and US Foodservice during his career. In addition to business development, Latham has spent his career in strategic sourcing, account management and supply chain management roles.

Latham holds a verifiable record of success in achieving significant cost reductions for businesses and driving organizational efficiencies. He has designed and led major corporate change initiatives and consulting engagements. He currently serves on the board of directors for Market USA Federal Credit Union, The Gaels Field Hockey Club and the Chesapeake High School Athletic Boosters.

Latham has served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Maryland, University College. He is a Certified Purchasing Management Professional (CPM) with lifetime certification.

• Christina Romas, director of business development with Park City Group

Romas has been with Park City Group (PCG) for more than two years and currently oversees all new business development for both Park City Group and ReposiTrak. She works directly with the company’s wholesaler/retailer/supplier customers and prospects to educate them on PCG services and solutions.

Prior to joining Park City Group, Romas worked in both the media/publishing and IT industries. She most recently spent five years at Source Interlink Cos. as a director of sales, managing scan-based trading magazine programs within the convenience store class of trade. At Source Interlink she also worked with large retailers such as The Home Depot and Winn-Dixie, managing everything front end related—from manufacturing checkout fixtures to negotiating placement of product on checkout fixtures. Prior to Source Interlink, Romas was a top sales person at Gartner where she sold IT services/subscriptions to technology provider companies.

Romas holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Florida. She resides in Chicago.

• Brad Thomas, VP of sales, South, with Mom Brands

Thomas’ past experience includes: Frito-Lay, 1986-1996; Nabisco, 1996-2000; and Kraft Foods Gobal, 2000-2011.

“I am honored to be working on the ROFDA Advisory Group,” he said. “Independent retailers are very important to Mom Brands. We are proud to partner with ROFDA members to provide category solutions to serve your growing customer base.”

Thomas lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife of 22 years, Cathy. They have three children: Lauren, a junior at Texas A&M University; Rachel, a freshman at Texas A&M University; and Jack, a high school sophomore.

 

About the author

Kristen Cloud

A former newspaper editor and publisher, she once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, she is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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