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People on the Move: Chester's Chicken, Pilot Co. & Smoker Friendly

Mars Inc., Ovention, Ritter Sport USA and The Vollrath Co. also made personnel changes and announcements.

NATIONAL REPORT — Retailers, wholesalers and suppliers in the convenience store industry are only as good as their management teams and employees. In this special roundup, Convenience Store News runs down the most recent executive changes at the top in the industry.

[Read more: People on the Move: ADS-TEC Energy, Georgia-Pacific & Grabango Co.]

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Bill Rice headshot
Bill Rice

Chester's Chicken

Quick-service restaurant concept Chester's Chicken brought on board Bill Rice as its new executive vice president and head of sales, operations and supply chain. 

Rice will be responsible for ensuring team members have the resources needed to achieve Chester's growth goals while continuing to support existing franchise partners. He has already begun working against several first and second quarter projects for this year, including a supply chain optimization study, adding new menu items and equipping the team with new sales tools.

"We continue to prioritize investing in the Chester's leadership team and Bill is the perfect complement," said Alexis Lobodocky, Chester's general manager. "He brings extensive expertise in supply chain, an area of opportunity that will drive gains for the Chester's brand and Chester's operators."

Rice joins the company after a short retirement preceded by nearly four decades of experience in foodservice supply chain management, most recently as a senior vice president at Krispy Krunchy Foods, where he championed a redesign of the company's supply chain network. He also previously held leadership roles at Intl. Traders Inc./MBM Corp., Performance Food Group and Kraft Foodservice Corp.

Mars Inc.

Mars Inc. appointed Blas Maquivar as global president of health and wellness at Mars Snacking, where he will oversee the company's expanding health and wellness portfolio, including brands Nature's Bakery, Trü Frü and KIND. He will also continue to nurture the division and globally scale its existing brands while remaining an attractive destination for founder-led brands, the company stated.

A 14-year veteran of the company, Maquivar joined Mars in 2010 as general manager, Mars Chocolate Mexico. He then served in several senior leadership roles across the Snacking business, most recently as president of global emerging markets (GEM), where he led more than 140 fast-growing markets including Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central America. During his tenure, the silo experienced double-digit growth of 11% year over year.

[Read more: Mars Makes Multiyear Investment in Manufacturing Facility]

Gabriel Fernandez, general manager of Mars Wrigley Mexico, will succeed Maquivar as GEM president. Fernandez has been with Mars since 2005 and has held regional and corporate leadership roles in Latin America, Europe and North America.

Joe Arvin
Joe Arvin


Ovention, a subsidiary of Hatco Corp., hired culinary veteran Joe Arvin as its corporate chef. 

In his new position, Arvin will be responsible for supporting active customers and prospective customers on menu development and operations challenges, executing trade show logistics and developing marketing content.

"Ovention is not only gaining a culinary expert but also a trusted partner who shares our vision for foodservice innovation and customer satisfaction. We are thrilled to welcome Chef Arvin to the Ovention team and look forward to leveraging his experience for continued success and growth," said Casey Reilley, director of Ovention.

Arvin is a two-time Culinary Federation gold medalist, three-time Chicago Fight Club champion, and has finished in sixth and 23rd place at The World Food Championships. He has made multiple television appearances on the shows "Big Brother," "Cutthroat Kitchen" and "The Taste with Anthony Bourdain." He has worked alongside several foodservice manufacturers and has proven success in business management and growth.

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Gary Hoogeveen
Gary Hoogeveen

Pilot Co.

Pilot Co. brought on board Gary Hoogeveen as the new president of Pilot Energy. 

Hoogeveen brings more than 20 years of industry and business experience to the role, where he will be responsible for overseeing the company's integrated fuel supply chain, including upstream infrastructure and asset management; business development; fuel procurement; logistics; and transportation. In addition, he will steward the ongoing development and innovation of electric and alternative energy solutions.  

"We're excited to welcome Gary to our team. I've known Gary for a long time, and he is an experienced and talented leader who will bring a trusted voice and perspective to an important part of our business," said Adam Wright, Pilot CEO. "Our energy team will continue to be foundational to our ability to reliably serve customers and navigate the alternative fuels transition."

Prior to joining Pilot, Hoogeveen served as CEO of Rocky Mountain Power. He also previously held several management roles as part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Chris Avery headshot
Chris Avery

Ritter Sport USA

Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. brand Ritter Sport USA appointed confectionary industry veteran Chris Avery as its new vice president of sales.

Avery comes to the company with more than 20 years of experience in the candy and confectionary space, leading sales for national candy companies including Haribo, the Wrigley Sales Co. and the Ferrara Candy Co. He most recently served as vice president of sales at Haribo of America.

"I am thrilled to welcome a sales executive as highly regarded as Chris to our growing team," said Ralf Hilpuesch, Ritter Sport CEO. "In his remarkable career, Chris has continuously demonstrated his ability to build exceptional teams, implement successful sales strategies and deliver sustainable growth."

As part of his responsibilities, Avery will lead the company's new Chicago-based operation's sales efforts, focusing on building the organization's brand among its retail partners and customers across the country. His near-term focus will be on building out Ritter Sport USA's sales team and selling strategy, utilizing his experience from his work with Wrigley and Ferrara. 

Smoker Friendly

The Cigarette Store LLC dba Smoker Friendly named Dan Gallagher as its new president. He has acted as executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO) at the retail tobacco and fuel company for more than 32 years and will continue his duties as COO while serving as president. 

[Read more: Smoker Friendly Adds 50-Plus Sites in Indiana]

He succeeds his brother, Terry Gallagher, Jr., who had served as president, CEO and chairman of the board since the establishment of the LLC in 1991. Terry Gallagher Jr. will remain at Smoker Friendly in his positions as CEO and chairman.

"Dan has been instrumental in the growth of Smoker Friendly since its inception and key in establishing the great culture we have in this company," said Terry Gallagher, Jr. "Those of you who have worked closely with Dan know he is very deserving of this role and extremely capable of leading this company."

Dan Gallagher started his professional career as an area manager with Best Petroleum before spending several years at Gasamat Oil Corp./Smoker Friendly in managerial and supervisory roles. He moved away from the company in 1994, acting as operations manager at Alternative Fuels Inc., before returning to Smoker Friendly as the vice president of operations in 2002, subsequently becoming COO in 2012. 

Brad Nye headshot
Brad Nye

The Vollrath Co.

Brad Nye joined The Vollrath Co. as senior vice president of operations. In this role, he will be responsible for leading and managing the entire Vollrath operations organization, including U.S. manufacturing, supply chain, environmental health and safety, and distribution.

"We are thrilled to welcome Brad Nye to our organization. Brad brings a fresh perspective and valuable experience and expertise to Vollrath. He shares our values and has a deep understanding of the importance of people in driving a company's success," said Erik Lampe, Vollrath president and CEO. "We have full confidence that Brad will be essential in driving innovation, efficiency and growth across Vollrath's global facilities and organization."

An industry veteran, Nye most recently held the role of vice president of manufacturing at Sub-Zero Group Inc. He previously served as vice president of operations at Alliance Laundry Systems and spent an extended tenure at Toyota North America in roles such as general manager of Stamping and Die Fabrication. 

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