Bill Weiland Jr., the vice president of natural channel sales for Suja, is leaving the leading cold-pressed juice company at the end of the month to embark upon a new career in the armed forces.
Weiland Jr., discussed his career pivot during a call with BevNET last week, where he described a longtime passion for the military as “a calling that’s been burning inside me for the last few years.”
“I’ve been in the industry my entire life – going to trade shows since I was a kid, doing Whole Foods resets since Whole Foods was Wild Oats – and it’s been great,” said Weiland. “But I found myself thinking a lot about the best way for me to give back to our country and I saw that the military exemplified all of the greatest characteristics and hobbies of myself.”
The son of Bill Weiland Sr., founder of independent natural and organic foods broker Presence Marketing / Dynamic Presence, Weiland Jr. first began working with Suja in 2012 during his time as midwest sales manager for Presence, in addition to becoming an early investor in the company. In 2013 he left Presence to work full time at Suja, where he began as vice president of east coast sales before moving into the role of vice president of natural sales.
Weiland indicated he plans on taking some time off to travel before beginning the process of enlisting in the U.S. Army’s Officer Candidate School (OCS), which he expects to begin “late this year or early next year.” Upon completion of boot camp and OCS, Weiland will be commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Army. Weiland also expressed his interests in becoming “an elite soldier” and wanting to enroll in the U.S. Army’s Ranger school, Airborne School, as well as its Delta Force special forces division.
Taking on Weiland’s role at Suja is Gretchen Uschold, who joined the company at the top of 2016 after 14 years at Stonyfield Farm, where she most recently held the position of director of sales for the natural and specialty channel.
In an e-mail to BevNET, Suja co-founder and CEO Jeff Church called Weiland “a pivotal member of the Suja family across many roles, as investor, broker, and VP of Natural Sales.”
“He believed in Suja from the early days and we are incredibly grateful for his contributions,” Church added. “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Harvest Hill Hires Doug Gillespie
Greenwich, Conn.-based private equity firm Brynwood Partners has hired Doug Gillespie to lead its beverage portfolio company Harvest Hill. Gillespie replaces former president and CEO Sal De Prima, who’d held the post since Harvest Hill’s formation in 2014.
A 25-year veteran of consumer-facing businesses, Gillespie heads to Harvest Hill from Jarden Corporation, where he held the position of president of Jarden Home & Family North America. Prior to his tenure at Jarden, Gillespie worked at several CPG companies including Frito-Lay, Brown-Forman and Munchkin.
Based out of Stamford, Conn., Harvest Hill Beverage Company’s stable of brands includes Juicy Juice, Little Hug and Daily’s.
Kravitz Joins Celsius Board of Directors
AQUAhydrate CEO Hal Kravitz has joined the board of directors of fat-burning functional beverage brand Celsius. Celsius president and CEO Gerry David said the addition of the longtime Coca-Cola executive to the company’s board “will be extremely valuable as Celsius continues to expand worldwide. Kravitz coming aboard follows other hires of note at Celsius, namely the recruitment of former Lacroix executive Vanessa Walker as executive vice president of sales and marketing and John McKillop as national director of sales for the fitness channel.
Coke Promotes Diane Wallace
The Coca-Cola Company has promoted Diane Wallace to vice president of retail marketing for Coca-Cola North America. Wallace, who has been with the company since 2003, most recently served as general manager of sales and marketing for the company’s Walgreens business unit. Prior to joining Coke, Wallace held sales and marketing positions at Quaker Oats and Eastman Kodak.
Reliant Nabs Sarah Conklin to Lead Marketing Division
Reliant Hydration has hired Sarah Conklin to lead marketing efforts for Reliant Recovery Water. Conklin joins the Washington-based company after spending nearly four years at Starbucks, working as senior brand manager and later marketing director for the company’s CPG tea brands Tazo and Teavana. Prior to her time at Starbucks, Conklin worked in a variety of marketing positions at the Kellogg Company, Bel Brands, and Friendly Ice Cream Corporation. According to a company press release, Conklin will be responsible for “the execution of key tactics, ongoing optimization of marketing levers such as packaging optimization and development of the innovation pipeline as Reliant Recovery Water continues to grow.”
Jeff Culbertson Joins True Drinks
True Drinks, maker of children’s bottled water brand Aquaball, has hired Jeff Culbertson as the company’s new vice president of sales. A 20-year veteran the Kraft Heinz Company, Culbertson’s most recent role at the company saw him overseeing the Albertsons National Customer Team. According to True Drinks’ press release he managed a team of over 280 employees and revenue lines in excess of $5 billion during his time at Kraft. True Drinks CEO Kevin Chairman celebrated the addition of Culbertson in the release, saying along with his network of retailers and experience in DSD sales, his “attitude and energy will transform our entire sales team.”