Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wis., this week announced several personnel changes.

  • In the Consumer Products Division, Sargento hired Bob Strickland as national customer business manager for Costco and Laura Meyer as customer research manager. Vince Juneau was promoted to consumer research manager for Walmart and Sam’s club team.
  • In Food Services, Tony Benedict was promoted to executive corporate chef and Zachariah Kuczynski as food service development chef. Sargento also hired Jim Lardy as senior national account sales manager.
  • In Innovation, Gary Wigand was hired as associate development chef.
  • In the Development Department, Ryan Scannell was hired as senior food scientist in research and development department.
  • In the Food Ingredients Division, development chef Glenda Murray became a Certified Research Chef through the Research Chefs Association.

Consumer Products Division
Bob Strickland will be responsible for managing sales responsibilities for the 10 divisions of Costco within the Consumer Products Division, reporting to Michael Vasily, director of alternate channels. He will work from his home office in Seattle. Prior to joining Sargento, Strickland held the position of national key account manager for Reckitt Benckiser Inc. in Parsippany, N.J.

As customer research manager, Vince Juneau will analyze sales data and shopper marketing information to enhance decision making. Juneau started his career at Sargento in 2008 following graduate school. In 2010, he was promoted to senior sales analyst and received a Chairman’s award.

Laura Meyer will be responsible for analyzing Nielsen data and shopper marketing information to measure trade promotion effectiveness and provide recommendations for improving customer profitability. She will utilize shopper marketing data to better understand purchasing patterns, buying habits and brand selection among key consumer segments. Prior to joining Sargento, Meyer was a customer insights-senior analyst at Johnsonville Sausage Co. in Johnsonville, Wis.

Food Service Division
Jim Lardy will be responsible for sales activities in Michigan, Wisconsin and the West Coast, reporting to Mike Sokol, vice president of Food Service sales. He will work with customer procurement, research and development, culinary, supply chain, marketing and senior management teams to increase sales and profit. Prior to joining Sargento, Jim held the position of director, national accounts for Campbell Soup Co. in Downers Grove, Ill.

Tony Benedict will further support the Innovation team and the Food Service Division, reporting to Ulrich Koberstein, culinary director. He will assume greater responsibility and help guide and develop culinary support. Tony joined the Sargento family in 2006 as a development chef and was promoted to corporate chef in 2010. His culinary educational background includes a degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and culinary certification from The American Culinary Federation Educational Institute.

As development chef, Zachariah Kuczynski will be responsible for creating new concepts, product applications and finished products for Food Service customers and consumers. He also reports to Koberstein. Before Sargento, Kuczynski held the position of instructor, technology administrator and sous chef at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Mich.

Gary Wigand, as associate development chef in Innovation, will create new concepts, product applications and finished products for Sargento Culinary Solutions customers and consumers, reporting to Koberstein. Prior to joining Sargento, Gary held the position of executive chef at The American Club in Kohler, Wis.

Research and Development Department
As senior food scientist, Ryan Scannell will be responsible for new product development on Food Service projects, scale-up of new products and proactive research and development, reporting to Ryan Long, research and development director—Food Service.
Prior to joining Sargento, Ryan was the brewing manager at Anheuser-Busch in Columbus, Ohio.

Development Chef Glenda Murray Earns Certified Research Chef Credentials
Glenda Murray, development chef supporting the Food Ingredients Division, became a Certified Research Chef through the Research Chefs Association. This certification qualifies Glenda as a professional excelling in the practice of Culinology, the blend of culinary arts and food service. A Certified Research Chef is highly-regarded in the food industry and by the most respected food companies in the world. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions that primarily test baseline knowledge of food science and culinary arts.