Rich helped create over $3 billion in enterprise value as CEO of American Italian Pasta Company, The Meow Mix Company and Freshpet. He has deep operational experience across multiple disciplines, having helped build each of these organizations, including marketing and sales, manufacturing, supply chain and distribution, and innovation infrastructure, and he has supervised the design and construction of seven manufacturing facilities. With CPG start-ups, one home run can be a lifetime achievement. Rich has helped achieve three of them.
Tim has four decades of CPG marketing and brand-building experience, was vice chairman at two of the world’s largest global ad agencies, Y&R and Dentsu, and co-founded a data analytics company. He has served on the boards of eight manufacturing, marketing, and education companies, including American Italian Pasta, Meow Mix and Freshpet, spent 5 years as a CEO, and has done business in over 50 countries. He earned his BA at Dartmouth and MBA at Columbia University.
Prior to joining Factory, Keith worked for eight years with Fortress Investment Group, where he was a portfolio manager responsible for the day-to-day operations of a real estate portfolio in the U.S. and Europe. In his time with the firm, he was responsible for the management of over $3B in invested capital and over $8B in total asset value. Keith earned his MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and holds a BS in chemistry from UCSD.
Pot Roast (aka Potsy), a specialist in tasting dog food, plays an integral role in every meeting with emerging pet food companies. But she is equally adept at opining on human food. Be careful what you spill!
Sales & Business Development
Brian is a seasoned CPG executive whose experience spans all sales disciplines, including cross functional annual planning, category management, trade and shopper marketing, distribution strategies, third-party agency and broker leadership, and DSD. He spent 26 years with Nestle, where he rose to vice president of sales for the pizza and snacks division, and he served three years as EVP of enterprise client services at Advantage Sales and Marketing. Brian has a BA in Marketing from San Diego State University.
Leland has 10+ years’ experience in investment banking and private equity investing in the consumer and retail sectors. Prior Factory, Leland worked at AUA Private Equity Partners, Wild Oats and Guggenheim Securities where he completed transactions in food and beverage, restaurants and e-Commerce. Leland has an MBA from Columbia University.
Michael has over seven years’ experience in Corporate and Investment Banking. Prior to Factory, Michael worked at Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Deloitte Corporate Finance and Israel Discount Bank, where he completed both middle market and large cap M&A and capital markets transactions in the Consumer & Retail and Industrials sectors. He also served in the Golani brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces from 2010 – 2012. Michael holds a BBA from The George Washington University, where he was a 4-year letter winner on the Men’s Division 1 golf team, and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Before joining Factory, Christoph worked at Emil Capital Partners, a consumer-orientated venture capital and growth equity firm based in Greenwich, CT. At Emil, Christoph focused on managing the firm’s current investments as well as sourcing new deals. He has a BA in economics and European history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Donna has worked in consumer brands with Rich Thompson for over 17 years, first as executive assistant at Meow Mix, then as senior executive assistant at Freshpet, and now as director of office operations at Factory, where she works with the partners in managing the day-to-day activities of the company.
Erin has worked on better-for-you CPG brands for over 15 years. Most recently, she led the snacks division at the Hain Celestial Group, where she worked on natural channel brands like TERRA Chips and Garden of Eatin’, and spent 4 years in leadership roles at B&G foods. Prior to that she led marketing for Balance Bar’s successful turnaround while working at a private equity-backed firm. Erin holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Ben has over seven years of experience in shopper marketing. He has worked with a variety of CPG companies including Nestlé Waters North America, Heineken, Unilever, and Mars Wrigley. Prior to joining Factory, Ben led the grocery channel shopper marketing team at TWINOAKS, a shopper influence agency, for its client Beiersdorf, a company whose brands include NIVEA, Aquaphor, and Eucerin. Ben earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Susquehanna University.
Megan handles social media engagement, posting, and reporting for Factory’s brand partners. Her background in data research and analytics gives her a keen eye for spotting the latest social trends and knack for measuring results. Prior to joining Factory full-time, Megan served as an intern with the social media and digital marketing team. She graduated from DeSales University with a double major in finance and business administration.
Barbara has diverse experience in consumer insights, business development sales, event planning, and digital marketing. Prior to joining Factory, she spent time interning for a local Lehigh Valley CPG startup before moving on to a business development role at Oracle. She now uses her marketing degree from Penn State University and analytical skills to conduct market and consumer research for our brand partners, including fielding taste tests in our on-site consumer insights lab. She enjoys digging into the data that our brand partners rely on to set their marketing strategies. Barbara grew up in Abu Dhabi, UAE but her hometown is Allentown, PA.
Kim earned a BFA from Pennsylvania State University and holds a Certificate in Digital Media from Moore College of Art. Over the past 10 years she has contributed to a variety of creative teams- developing, designing, and coordinating the production of home goods, largely in the kitchen category.
As an experienced designer with a passion for product development, Kim has found a thrill in project coordinating and building rapport between customers, teams, and vendors alike. She believes every problem is an opportunity to identify a creative solution!
Eric has 15 years’ experience in all aspects of visual branding, including illustration, design, advertising, social media, and, especially, photography. His passion is visual storytelling, with a focus on creating visual content around locally sourced food and beverages.
Tim earned his undergraduate degree in film, video and animation in 2001 and has spent every waking hour since shooting and editing. He’s been a cameraman on MTV videos, TV shows, and commercials, a soundman on feature films and podcasts, and a video news editor at MSNBC. He has also set and managed multiple studios.
Nicole worked in product photography for several years, first at Saks Fifth Avenue and then at Cigars International, before joining Factory. She’s a versatile photographer who can bring brands to life for ecommerce and social media. Nicole earned a B.A. in fine arts with a concentration in photography from Kutztown University. Her personal work ranges from photojournalism to abstract art.
Nicolette is an experienced commercial photographer and editor who uses her editing and retouching skills to make our brand partners’ products shine in every piece of content our studio produces. In her last role, she helped build and lead a new photography studio in PA for Henry Schein, a medical products company. Nicolette holds an associate’s degree in specialized technology from Antonelli Institute, a graphic design and photography school formerly located outside of Philadelphia.
Shannon has written creative copy for a variety of industries — including retail, higher education, publishing and news media, the performing arts, home improvement, and more. She has a passion for words and people, and has woven together a career that has allowed her to work on marketing campaigns and public relations while always keeping the consumer top of mind. Most recently, she worked as a content manager at Lafayette College, helping to tell the stories of a legacy institution in the Lehigh Valley. Shannon holds a B.A. in Communications from Kutztown University and M.S. in Communications and Marketing from Franklin University.
John has over 15 years of experience in graphic design, creating on both the agency and client sides. His multidisciplinary skills span digital and traditional media, and his experience includes print and packaging design, digital solutions, brand identities, and integrated campaigns. As a design-focused problem solver, John, a Lafayette graduate, leans on his background with B.S./B.A. degrees in economics and business, civil engineering and environmental science, and, of course, visual communications.
An artist whose talents include drawing, calligraphy, and photography, Jane’s passion is design. She earned a B.A. in graphic design, with a minor in mass communication, from Lehigh University, has experience as a designer in the food industry with Zavino Hospitality Group in Philadelphia, and was a senior designer at Fusion, a student-run design agency at Lehigh that does work for local businesses.
Liz is an accomplished graphic designer with a particular talent for branding, typography, and illustration. She works closely with the digital marketing team to create social media graphics, email newsletters, and digital advertisements for Factory’s brand partners. Prior to joining the Factory staff, she won a branding contest sponsored by Factory and subsequently served as an intern in the graphic design department. Liz graduated from Moravian College with a B.A. in graphic and interactive design and a minor in business management (marketing track).
Cory is the project manager for all graphic and packaging design projects at Factory. She liaises with internal stakeholders to manage the design team’s workflow and ensure projects are completed accurately and efficiently. She also procures materials, assembles packaging prototypes, and crafts sales and influencer kits. Before joining Factory, she worked as a photo researcher and editor for a number of magazines, as an archivist for photographers, and as an executive assistant, also at a magazine.
Trey is a graphic designer with experience in UI/UX, branding, and advertising. He earned his B.F.A. honors in graphic and interactive design from Moravian College. While in college, he was president of the Moravian chapter of the Kappa Pi International Art Honor Society and of Studio South, Moravian’s student-run design agency. Prior to joining the Factory team. Trey worked at Discover Lehigh Valley, the destination marketing board for the Lehigh Valley.
Shannon has over 10 years’ experience in ecommerce, online merchandising, and website management at major retailers, including Party City, Lord & Taylor, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. She helps Factory’s brand partners develop and refine their ecommerce strategies, handling everything from launching and managing ecommerce sites through forecasting and reporting. Shannon earned her B.A. from Kutztown University.
Product Development & Sourcing
Pat provides comprehensive perspectives and solutions from “concept to shelf,” leveraging his experience in brand management, global sourcing, product development, and retail integration. He has worked with manufacturers, retailers, and brand development agencies, including Gillette, Dial, H-E-B Private Brand, and Daymon Worldwide. Pat has been involved with the development of thousands of new products, including over 800 items for the re-launch of Wild Oats Organic, which went from inception to $100M in 18 months. Pat has a B.S. in finance and accounting from Boston College and holds an MBA in general management.
Linsey is a Certified Research Chef (CRC®) with 12 years’ experience working in innovation and new product development for food companies, with a focus on the natural, organic, and free-from spaces. Specializing in idea-to-shelf product development, with expertise in nutrition and formulation, she has helped bring over 300 new products to market in retail and foodservice. A chef by training, she puts a culinary spin on nutritional formulation. Linsey is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute, earned her B.A. from Harvard, and holds an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Linsey is also the host of The Ingredient Panel podcast, where a food scientist, a chef, and a food product developer discuss what's in your food, why it's in your food, and why that matters.
QA, Food Safety & Co-Packing
Analee has almost three decades of quality assurance experience, specializing in food safety and regulatory compliance, third-party auditing requirements, and certification body bylaws. She has provided insight and guidance to operations in dairy, grocery, meat, confectionary, and aseptic beverages. Analee has a project management professional certification and a B.S. of food science from Penn State University.
Marcy has more than twenty years’ experience in supply chain, manufacturing, and continuous improvement. Marcy manages our relationships with co-manufacturers—frequently traveling to be on-site for production runs—and leads efforts to improve efficiencies, product quality and cost savings. Most recently, she was the director of manufacturing for Godiva Chocolatier, where she oversaw all aspects of manufacturing and packaging operations.
Dylan is a graduate of Penn State’s food science program, where he did research on the quantities of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables. While at Penn State, he also worked for Happy Valley Vineyard and Winery, where he was tasked with adding potassium metabisulfite to wine, tested the wine for hydrogen sulfide, and performed backsweetening, a process of adding sugar to wine before bottling. Dylan interned with Factory’s research and development department before joining the team full-time in 2020.
Jim has a deep knowledge of all things packaging: development, commercialization, materials, sustainability, and production efficiency. In his previous role as a senior packaging engineer for Godiva Chocolatier, he created packaging for approximately 150 new SKUs annually and spearheaded a packaging standardization project that saved $2 million in materials costs year-over-year. Jim earned his bachelor’s degree in packaging engineering from Michigan State University.
Finance & Accounting
Marla is a CPA and financial executive with over 25 years of experience in financial accounting and reporting, budgeting and planning, and treasury. Most recently, she was senior vice president and controller for the U.S. division of the Hain Celestial Group, where her responsibilities included integrating the back office functions of acquired businesses. Marla is a strong leader and problem solver with deep operational, financial, and managerial experience in the food industry. She holds a B.A. in accounting from Binghamton University.
Andréa is a financial professional with 12 years of experience in general accounting, budgeting, treasury, financial planning, and banking. Most recently, she worked as a senior accountant for a global medical device organization, where her specialties included benefit plans and asset accounting. Andréa holds an MBA from DeSales University.
Asad has 17 years of professional accounting and finance experience in the manufacturing sector, including CPG. His areas of expertise include general accounting, month- and year-end closings, inventory reconciliation, cash flow, budgeting, and tax reporting. Asad holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce with a major in accounting from the University of Mumbai, India. He is currently working to complete his Certified Management Accountant License from the Institute of Management Accountants.
Michelle has over 15 years of accounting experience, specializing in accounts payable and general accounting. She keeps invoices flowing and the books reconciled for Factory and our brand partners. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance.
Michael is a Software Solutions expert who carries an arduously earned amount of wisdom and broad scope of experience in NetSuite Software and business solutions. Industries served range from Health Care, Digital Signage and Media, Food Banks, QSRs, Restaurants, Manufacturing, Software and Farming. Prior to exploring his entrepreneurial side, he was the Vice President of Global SaaS, Operations & Technology for Scala, Inc., overseeing the continuous development of the Scala SaaS offerings and the development and implementation of Enterprise Technology Investment Strategy. Prior to Scala, Michael was the Director of IT at Neoware Systems, Inc., a publicly held company that was the leader in the thin client industry. During his tenure at Neoware, Michael successfully led global ERP and CRM implementations, directed the construction of the SaaS product line, developed numerous internal systems, and initiated many other major business process improvements.
Kyla brings over six years of experience in managing retail and e-commerce operations. She currently serves on the board of directors for Lehigh Valley Roller Derby. She earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Dickinson College.
Supply Chain & Logistics
John has almost three decades of supply chain and logistics experience. Most recently, he was director of North American distribution, logistics and customer service for Godiva Chocolatier where he was responsible for overseeing multiple third-party distribution networks consisting of multi-channel fulfillment, including retail, wholesale, CPG and ecommerce. John helps our Factory brand partners ensure that their supply chain and logistics infrastructure is optimized by providing strategic and tactical support for distribution processes, inventory management, and cost savings.
Mike has over 30 years of experience in logistics, distribution, inventory control, and supply chain management across various industries. Prior to joining Factory, he spent 16 years as a senior operations manager for a third-party logistics company where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations for Godiva Chocolatier and other major brands. At Factory, Mike assists our brand partners in establishing operational procedures using business analytics to streamline their processes and deliver cost savings to the bottom line.
Chad has over 13 years of CPG experience between Nestlé USA and Mars Wrigley, including seven years of progressive responsibility in demand planning. In his most recent role at Mars Wrigley, he led a team of four demand planning managers with responsibility for all seasonal and display forecasting. With his extensive expertise in both supply and demand planning, Chad helps our brand partners hone their forecasting accuracy and supply chain efficiency. Chad received his undergraduate degree from Bloomsburg University and his MBA from Moravian College.
Yadira has ten years of experience in supply chain operations, project execution, inventory planning, and streamlining business processes. In previous roles at FLSmidth Inc., where she was promoted several times, she was responsible for managing supplier relationships, negotiating package agreements, and ensuring on-time delivery of equipment and supplies. Focused on continuous improvement projects, she boosted efficiencies by incorporating descriptive and real-time analytics into business intelligence tools, which resulted in significant cost savings. Yadira holds a degree in computer information technology with a concentration in application development from Northampton Community College and is currently in the process of earning a bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College.
Tyler has seven years of merchandising experience in retail operations with Giant Food Stores, where he specialized in non-perishables and inventory control. His knowledge base includes Six Sigma and Minitab software, a certification in SAP, and understanding of forecasting techniques and ERP systems. Tyler graduated from Penn State Lehigh Valley with a degree in project and supply chain management.
Human Resources & Information Technology
Jessica brings with her years of HR leadership experience in the manufacturing and hospitality fields. She enjoys crafting and curating HR departments that promote a team-first culture. Jessica is a SHRM certified professional and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and minor in HR Management from Bloomsburg University.
Elias is an experienced IT manager and network administrator. He provides technical support for the Factory team and our brand partners across over two dozen hardware and software platforms. Elias earned his B.S. in applied science and technical leadership from Bloomsburg University.
Kristi is a true facilities management professional. She spent the 20 years as facilities and space planning manager at Rodale Inc., where her responsibilities included property management, employee and vendor relations, space planning, and operations support. Kristi earned her degree in business administration at Muhlenberg College.
Heather’s background is in residential and commercial facility care. A Lehigh Valley native, she has the primary responsibility for the appearance and sanitation of the Factory facility. Her high standards, attention to detail and always-upbeat attitude are valued by everyone on the Factory team.
Charlie has been cooking professionally for over 20 years. He spent a decade in the kitchens of area country clubs before joining Kutztown University to oversee dining and then making his way to Factory. He enjoys cooking homestyle favorites and experimenting with new culinary trends equally, which means there are always plenty of delicious lunch options for the Factory team and our guests!
Amanda spent the past decade cooking her way across the country. She’s worked in food trucks in North Carolina, baked pastries in Colorado, and cooked up dinners at the Grand Canyon. Finally back home in the Lehigh Valley, she helps prepare breakfast and lunch for the Factory team and our VIP guests!