American Beverage Association Announces Election Of Members To Its Board Of Directors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Beverage Association (ABA) today announced the election of 10 members to its Board of Directors.

Those elected for an additional term are: Wendy Clark, president, Sparkling Brands & Strategic Marketing, Coca-Cola North America The Coca-Cola Company; Ralph Crowley, president and CEO, Polar Beverages; William B. (Billy) Cyr, president and CEO, Sunny Delight Beverages Co.; Matthew Dent, president and COO, Buffalo Rock; J. Alexander M. (Sandy) Douglas, president, Coca-Cola North America The Coca-Cola Company; Walter (Walt) Gross, sr. vice president, On-Premise G & J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers; J. Frank Harrison, III, chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated; Jeffrey (Jeff) Honickman, CEO, Pepsi-Cola & National Brand Beverages, Ltd; Jim Johnston, president, Beverage Concentrate Sales and Latin American Beverages Dr Pepper Snapple Group; and Kirk Tyler, president, Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

American Beverage Association logo

“I could not be more pleased to congratulate these fine industry leaders on their continued service on ABA’s Board of Directors,” said Rodger L. Collins, chair of ABA’s Board of Directors and president of Packaged Beverages Dr Pepper Snapple Group.  “With the valuable insights and knowledge each of these members bring to the table, I am confident that the Board will be successful in meeting the needs of our customers, consumers and communities with innovative products, policies and programs.”

“Our Board of Directors serves as the guiding arm of our organization, which is critical to our success as an industry,” said Susan K. Neely, ABA president and chief executive officer.  “These are proven leaders inside and outside of the boardroom and we are lucky to have them at the helm of our organization.  Together we will continue to do great things.”

Members of ABA’s Board of Directors serve a four-year term and participate in semi-annual meetings that help shape association policy and initiatives.  With the re-election of these members, ABA’s Board of Directors continues to have 28 members. 


Wendy Clark

The Coca-Cola Company

Ms. Clark is president of Sparkling Brands & Strategic Marketing for Coca-Cola North America. In this capacity, she leads the Sparkling Category Business Unit and the Strategic Marketing organization, including Brand Strategy and Innovation; Media Connections, Investments and Assets; and Content and Design. Cited by AdAge magazine as “one of the most important women in marketing,” Ms. Clark has received recognition including: New York Women in Communications Matrix award (2014); Fast Company magazine’s top 10 list of Innovative Business Disruptors (2011); Advertising Women of New York Advertising Woman of the Year (2011); American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Achievement (2007); and the first client-side marketer to be a jury president at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity (2015). Ms. Clark is an Advisory Board member of, a Board member of the American Beverage Association and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Atlanta International School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Florida State University.

Ralph D. Crowley Jr.

Polar Beverages

Mr. Crowley serves as president and CEO of Polar Beverages, a fourth-generation, family-owned business based in Massachusetts and the largest independent soft drink bottler in the United States. A former chair of the Board of Directors of American Beverage Association, he currently serves as Treasurer. Mr. Crowley is also on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Food Association, UMASS Memorial Hospital Foundation, Legal Sea Foods Board of Managers and the Seven-Up Bottlers Association – of which he is a past president. Past directorships include chairman of the New England Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 2004-2005 honorary chair of the Special Olympics Massachusetts Winter Games and president of the Massachusetts Soft Drink Association. Mr. Crowley holds an undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and a master’s degree from Clark University where he currently sits on their Visiting Committee.

William B. (Billy) Cyr

Sunny Delight Beverages Co.

Mr. Cyr is the president and CEO of the Sunny Delight Beverages Company (SDBC).

Prior to joining SDBC in 2004, Mr. Cyr spent 19 years at Procter & Gamble (P&G), rising through the marketing organization to ultimately become the vice president and general manager of P&G’s North American Juice Drink business and Global Nutritional Beverages. Along the way, he managed brands such as Crisco, Folgers, Duncan Hines and Jif.

Mr. Cyr currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Beverage Association, the Board of Directors of the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association – where he also serves as Secretary/Treasurer, and the Board of Directors of the Dan Beard Council Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Cyr received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2010 Award in the consumer products category in South Central Ohio and Kentucky. He also received the Dealmaker of the Year Award in 2010 from the Association for Corporate Growth. In 2011, Mr. Cyr and Sunny Delight were honored with the Good Scout Award from the Dan Beard Council for the company’s extensive contributions to the Cincinnati community. Mr. Cyr is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in history and East Asian studies.

Matthew Dent

Buffalo Rock

Mr. Dent is the president and COO of the Buffalo Rock Company, where he is responsible for the company’s overall operations, including 10 divisions servicing Alabama, western Georgia and the panhandle of Florida. Mr. Dent began his career with Buffalo Rock serving as an intern during his junior year at the University of Alabama, where he subsequently received his degree in marketing from the Culverhouse College of Commerce. He quickly rose through the ranks of Buffalo Rock, holding the positions of corporate general manager of Marketing & Strategy; vice president of Corporate Development, Marketing & Strategy; and executive vice president and COO. Mr. Dent was named president and CEO of the company in 2011. He has served, and is currently serving, a number of organizations locally and nationally including the American Beverage Association, Pepsi-Cola Bottlers’ Association, Alabama Beverage Association, Dr Pepper Bottler Marketing Committee, Shoal Creek Golf Club, Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, United Way of Central Alabama and The Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek Golf Club. Among other accomplishments, Mr. Dent was named finalist in Birmingham’s 2012 Top CEO Awards, as well as 2007 Top 40 under 40 by the Birmingham Business Journal.

Alexander M. (Sandy) Douglas Jr.

The Coca-Cola Company

Mr. Douglas is president of Coca-Cola North America. Mr. Douglas began his career at the Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) in 1984 working in a variety of sales and sales management positions. He joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1988 as a district sales manager for the Foodservice Division of Coca-Cola USA. He has held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility in Coca-Cola USA, including vice president of Coca-Cola USA, president of the North America Retail Division and senior vice president and chief customer officer of The Coca-Cola Company. In 2006, he was appointed president of the Coca-Cola North America Group and was subsequently appointed senior vice president and global chief customer officer in 2013. Mr. Douglas is active in beverage and consumer product industry organizations and serves on the Boards of the American Beverage Association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. He also serves on the charity leadership boards of the East Lake Foundation and Morehouse College. Mr. Douglas is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

Walter (Walt) Gross Sr.

G & J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers 

Mr. Gross is senior vice president, government affairs and on-premise for G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Inc., which he joined in 1975. G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Inc. is the largest family-owned and operated Pepsi franchise bottler, employing more than 1,600 people at 11 locations in Ohio and Kentucky. The company’s portfolio includes Pepsi-Cola, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Pepsi Next, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, Mug Root Beer, Dr Pepper, Crush, Tropicana Fruit Beverages, Amp and Rockstar energy products, Starbucks Frappuccino and iced beverages, Lipton Teas, Ocean Spray, Aquafina Water products, SoBe energy beverages, Gatorade and Muscle Milk products. Mr. Gross is on the G&J Pepsi-Cola Board of Directors and is president of the Mallard Cove Homeowners’ Association. He previously served on several Boards, including the Central Kentucky Blood Center, the Cardinal Hill Hospital, the Lexington Transit Authority and the Cardinal Valley Family Resource Center. He holds a degree in psychology from Miami University.

 Frank Harrison III

Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated

Mr. Harrison officially began his career with Coca-Cola Consolidated in 1977, but his roots in the Coca-Cola system date back to 1902 when his great-grandfather J.B. Harrison first introduced Coca-Cola to the Carolinas. Mr. Harrison is a fourth-generation family leader of what has become the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler. He has served in a variety of operational and leadership roles throughout the company until becoming chairman and CEO in 1996. In 2008, Mr. Harrison and his late son James Franklin Harrison IV co-founded With Open Eyes, a public, nonprofit ministry dedicated to equipping leaders throughout the world who serve those in need, share the message of Jesus Christ and disciple believers. Mr. Harrison has personally led multiple teams to the war-torn country of Sudan, just one of the countries where With Open Eyes is currently focusing its efforts. He serves on the Boards of the American Beverage Association – of which he is a past chairman, The Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte and the Youth Commission International. He graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in business administration and obtained a master’s of business administration from Duke University.

Jeffrey (Jeff) Honickman

Pepsi-Cola & National Brand Beverages, Ltd.

Mr. Honickman is CEO of a group of beverage bottling and distribution companies collectively known as Honickman Affiliates. He began his career with the family-owned soft drink business in 1981. After serving in various capacities, he assumed his current position in 1990. Under Mr. Honickman’s direction, the organization expanded into the malt beverage distribution business through a series of joint ventures. Together the companies operate more than 1,000 routes from more than 20 distribution centers. The soft drink distributing companies include the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Companies of New York and South Jersey as well as Canada Dry Bottling Companies located from New York to Richmond. These companies distribute and/or manufacture leading brands from PepsiCo, Cadbury, Arizona, Glacéau and others. Mr. Honickman serves on the Board of Directors of Comcast Corporation, and serves on industry-related Boards including The American Beverage Association and The Seven-Up Bottlers Association. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Germantown Academy. Mr. Honickman holds an master’s degree in finance from Drexel University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from George Washington University.


James “Jim” Johnston

Dr Pepper Snapple Group

Mr. Johnston is president of Beverage Concentrates and Latin American Beverages for Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (DPSG). In this role, he leads an organization that includes route-to-market and fountain foodservice teams in the U.S. and Canada. In 2009, he assumed responsibility for all DPSG brands and businesses in Latin America. Mr. Johnston was named president of Beverage Concentrates in late 2007 after serving as executive vice president of Sales since 2005. During his previous 13 years with the company, he held numerous leadership positions in sales, strategy, licensing and field marketing. He joined DPSG in November 1992 as manager of Marketing Services, progressing through the business as division marketing manager and vice president of Field Marketing before holding senior vice president positions over System Marketing, Franchise and Licensing and Strategy. Earlier in his career, Mr. Johnston was director of Client Services for Information Resources, Inc. in Darien, Conn. Previously, he held a number of positions of increasing responsibility in both sales and marketing during 14 years with New York 7UP Bottling Company and its predecessor, Joyce Beverages, Inc. A native of Larchmont, N.Y., Mr. Johnston earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Providence College. 

Kirk Tyler

Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company

Mr. Tyler has served as president of Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company since 1991. Founded in 1909, the Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company is an independent bottler and distributor of Coca-Cola products for southwest, central and south central Iowa. It has been privately owned and operated by the Tyler family for three generations. The company currently employs more than 180 people and is actively involved in communities across Iowa through sponsorships of various projects, organizations and celebrations promoting quality of life for Iowans. Mr. Tyler serves on numerous Boards, including the American Beverage Association, the Iowa Soft Drink Association, the Coca-Cola Bottler’s Association – of which he is a past chair, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, the Rotary Club of Des Moines A.M., the Iowa Association of Business & Industry – of which he is a past chair, the Mid-Iowa Council Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement of Central Iowa. Mr. Tyler holds a business administration degree from Dana College in Blair, Neb.


The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.