BIOGRAPHIES

Charles Matthaei

Mr. Charles Matthaei

Chairman

Charles Matthaei has spent his entire life promoting the health benefits of whole grains. His family’s baking heritage extends back to 1686 in Marsburg, Germany. In 1927 his father, William, acquired the Roman Meal Company integrating the Roman Legionnaires diet of whole grains into his two bakery operations. In 1947, Charles Matthaei entered the family baking business after serving as an officer on the USS Missouri during World War II. He would become the driving force behind the Roman Meal Eating Plan, one of the first national efforts that emphasized the initial U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines. This helped establish the foundation for baked goods as an essential element for a healthy lifestyle. He also was the catalyst for taking Roman Meal products to international markets in Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

His leadership efforts and professional involvement extend beyond overseeing the ongoing development of the company. It also includes membership in the American Association of Cereal Chemists, The American Bakers Association and is a 55-year member of the American Society of Baking. In 2008, Matthaei was officially inducted into the American Society of Baking Hall of Fame.

William Matthaei

William  L.  Matthaei

CEO and Director

William (Bill) Matthaei has worked for Roman Meal Company for over thirty years.  As CEO of this family-owned corporation in Tacoma, Washington, Bill is responsible for company oversight.  He is also Chairman of Dakota Specialty Milling Company, which has its principal operations in Fargo, North Dakota.  In the past, he served as Deputy Executive Secretary with the Pacific Salmon Commission, as well as three years with the U.S. Navy where he earned the rank of Lieutenant.

Bill's education includes a BA in Economics, an MMA in Fishery Management from the University of Washington, an MBA from the University of Denver, and study toward an MS in Cereal Chemistry and Technology at North Dakota State University.

Bill is an active member of American Bakers Association, American Association of Cereal Chemists, Association of Washington Business, Tacoma Rotary Club, and sits on the board as a director of the Tacoma Pierce County YMCA.

Favorite activities includes spending time outdoors with family and friends.  He is actively involved in Pacific Northwest natural resource management issues, and maintains memberships in the Nature Conservancy and American Fisheries Society.

Gary Jensen

Gary Jensen

President

Mr. Jensen is directly responsible for all aspects of the company’s day to day operation including marketing, collaboration, innovation, quality and finance. He is also a Representative Director of Roman Meal Japan, K.K.

Prior to joining the Roman Meal Company Gary was the Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Sara Lee Bakery Group.  In this role Gary was responsible for marketing all of Sara Lee’s domestic bakery products.  He managed a variety of related functions including market research, brand management, new product development, promotions, marketing services and public relations on branded products.

Gary began his career at Sara Lee/Earthgrains in 1986 as a Group Marketing Manager.  He has also served as V. P. Sales & Marketing of the Diversified Group, Sr. V.P. Sales Western Region, and Sr. V.P. National Accounts. 

Before joining Earthgrains he worked thirteen years in various sales and marketing roles for Pepperidge Farm, Inc.

Gary earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration at the University Of Texas at Dallas.

He is an active member and elder of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and has chaired several standing committees as an officer of the church. 

Gary is a member of the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry and he has been a member of the American Bakers Association Marketing Committee for many years. 

Gary also serves on the advisory board of Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri and is a member of the Sigma Beta Delta B National Honor Society in Business, Management and Administration

He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Linda, for 40 years.  Together they have one son, Christopher, who is an attorney practicing law in Amarillo, Texas.  And they are the proud grandparents of two beautiful girls.

Sheri Wakeman

Sheri Wakeman

Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Sheri D. Wakeman is chief financial officer and senior vice president, administration of Washington-based Roman Meal Company and its subsidiary, Roman Meal Japan K.K. She was named corporate treasurer in 2007.

Wakeman is responsible for the organization’s accounting and control, business planning and analysis, internal auditing, treasury and tax operations. She also oversees human resources, administrative services, and information technology.

With broad experience at Roman Meal Company in accounting, finance, and information systems, Wakeman has held key management positions including information systems manager, budget manager, controller, and vice president of finance.

Wakeman is a member of the Association for Financial Professionals and the Society for Human Resource Management. She is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, which is a highly selective international honor society for business.

Wakeman earned a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in business administration from Pacific Lutheran University.

Jack French

Jack F. French

Vice President of Customer Collaboration

Mr. French is responsible for domestic bakery sales activities, focusing on building relationships with bakery customers and retailers.

With over 25 years of sales and baking industry experience, French has a knack for identifying market opportunities and developing strategic solutions. Prior to joining Roman Meal Company, French served as Regional Vice President for Bimbo Bakeries U.S.A. He is also a veteran of Campbell Taggart, Inc., Bimar Foods and Butterkrust Bakery.

French graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing. He currently resides in Hurst, Texas.

Dr. Finney

Dr. Patrick Finney

Vice President New Product Innovation

Patrick Finney was born in 1941 in Manhattan, Kansas.  From the age of nine until 23 he worked part-time and summers in the Grain Science Department and Wheat Quality Laboratory, Kansas State University.  There, Patrick cultivated his intense interest in science and human nutrition and, as a four-year varsity tennis letterman, his life-long interest in sports physiology/medicine.  By choice, his mode of transportation was his used Raleigh 10-speed bike which he rode or carried everywhere.

After he received a Bachelor of Mathematics and a Master of Philosophy, Patrick taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Iran while learning Farsi.  Thereafter he taught mathematics in inner-city Philadelphia before returning to complete a PhD degree in Grain Science, Kansas State University, having completed its two-year research phase in Mysore, India, studying “The impact on quality of Mexican semi-dwarf wheat cultivars introduced in India during the Green Revolution.”  Whereas the Iranian experience helped diversify his thinking, the Indian experience truly transformed his understanding of how food nutrition and life-style impacts health and well-being.  Both cross-cultural experiences solidified his interest in international cuisine and strengthened his lifelong commitment to study human nutrition.

After a two-year post-doctoral teaching and research position at Kansas State, for ten years Dr. Finney researched cereal science and nutrition at the Western Wheat Quality Laboratory, Washington State University.  During those ten years, daily, Patrick rode his bike up and down the Pullman, Washington hills—or jogged to work—since he never owned a parking permit.  Then for 17 years he directed the Soft Wheat Quality Laboratory, at the Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center, Ohio State University.  There he helped raise three athletic- and health-minded daughters while enhancing his exercise schedule with scores of road races and triathlons.  While researching for nearly 30 years, Dr. Finney published more than 100 articles in numerous scientific journals, including seven book chapters.

Early 2003 Dr Finney joined Roman Meal Company as Senior Scientist and Vice President of Thought and Product Innovation where he continues his lifelong commitment to whole grain nutrition and production of 100% whole-grain foods.  His love of bicycling has not diminished. 

Steve Buckholdt

Steve Buckholdt

Vice President, Quality Assurance & Regulatory

Graduated from University of Washington with B.S. in Forest Sciences. Spent 28 years in flour milling industry.

During those 28 years, he acted as corporate Quality Assurance Director with responsibility for all quality functions at multiple milling facilities. His chief responsibilities included sourcing, purchasing, and maintaining all laboratory equipment, evaluating wheat quality with goal of providing optimum milling and baking attributes. Steve also acted as advocate for bakery customers to make sure that their needs were fulfilled by flour mill products.

Currently, Director of Quality and Regulatory Affairs for Roman Meal Company. Main duties include 1) guiding activities of Bakery Service Technician as well as Quality Assurance Specialist at main office 2) creating and maintaining all product scoring systems 3) devising corrective action plans for product improvement 4) participating in new product development 5) chief contact with mix supplier concerning all aspects of mix formulations, costing, quality concerns, ingredient sourcing,etc. 6) participate in industry quality and regulatory forums to make sure that voice of Roman Meal Company is heard within industry and that all Roman Meal Company packaging and promotional materials are on firm legal ground.

Maria Vicencio

Maria Cecilia O. Vicencio

Group Marketing Manager

Maria Vicencio joined the Roman Meal Company in 2006. She is an experienced brand manager with a passion for driving marketing strategies and innovation processes that impact brand equity and sustainable profitability. Her international experience is diverse as she lived and worked for global companies in the Philippines and United States for the past 14 years. Prior to joining Roman Meal, she led successful integrated marketing campaigns and launched new line extensions for global brands like San Miguel Beer, Unilever Wall’s Ice Cream and Wyeth’s Promil Infant Milk Formula.

Her primary responsibility at Roman Meal is focused on leading and collaborating with the international team to aggressively grow export revenue in markets such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Bahamas, Bermuda and Guam. Included in Maria’s role is providing value-added consumer insights based on primary and secondary research for the United States business. She is also a member of the management team that defines and implements the short- and long-range plans of the company.

Vicencio studied at top universities in the Philippines. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Tourism Business Management from the University of the Philippines and took MBA units at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

Vicencio helps in community projects with her husband and two kids. She serves as a secretary to a Christian church and a Sunday school teacher for seven- to nine-year-old kids.

Akiko Netto

Akiko Netto

International Executive Assistant

Akiko Netto joined the Roman Meal Company in Tacoma, WA in 2007 as the International Executive Assistant for the C.E.O. and President. She manages U.S. and International trademarks and works as a Japanese-English interpreter and translator, corporate meeting planner, acting secretary for the Board of Directors, and active member of the company’s international team.

From the first day of her career, Netto has thrived in an international business environment. Prior to joining Roman Meal Company, she worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo as an on-site travel counselor for American Express International, Inc. Her responsibility was to make official, diplomatic travel arrangements for U.S. diplomats, attaché and delegation members. While she worked at the Embassy, she developed her planning and organizing talents to meet high-quality service standards and deepened her understanding of American culture. She moved to the United States in 2000 and worked for a Japanese trading company in Seattle as an Assistant Sales Manager, where she broadened her knowledge of import/export business and Japanese business protocol.

Netto was born in Tokyo, Japan. She earned a B.A. degree in English Literature at the Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan and completed a Global Business Management Program at the University of Washington.

Her unique bicultural working experiences and bilingual skills have been contributing to the Roman Meal Company’s understanding of the Japanese customers and market.

 

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