Updated Briess COVID-19 statement

Staff Bios and Photos

  • Ryan O'Toole
    President/COO
    • Joined Briess
      November 2015

      Education
      Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida

      Profile
      Ryan began his career with Kerry Ingredients 20+ years ago, performing various roles throughout the company and country. He has a broad background and robust knowledge of the food and ingredients industries. Starting at Kerry as a Quality Assurance Technician and Production Supervisor, he became fluent in the production processes of food manufacturing. As he continued his career, his roles included Quality Assurance Manager, Technical Manager, Operations Director, and finally Vice President of Operations. His focus throughout these roles included ensuring facility adherence to budget, capital expenditures, customer service, quality and safety.

  • Bill Schaeffer
    Vice President of Sales & Marketing
    • Joined Briess
      June 2020

      Education
      Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing, Management, and Finance from Mankato State University, Minnesota.
      Master of Business Administration from St. Cloud University, Minnesota.

      Profile

      Bill Schaeffer brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in the Food and Ingredients industry to Briess. Throughout his career, he held various executive leadership roles including Vice President of Sales for National Accounts with The Schwan Food Company and most recently, Vice President of Sales for the Food Service and Ingredients Division at Sargento Foods, Inc. Bill’s passion is for building relationships, developing product expertise, and leading the Sales and Marketing team to deliver the best customer partnerships in the industry.

  • Mike Scanzello
    Director of Brewing and Distilling
    • Joined Briess
      July 2015

      Education
      Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA

      Profile
      After graduating from Kutztown University in 1995, Mike began his career at Stroh’s Brewing Co. in Allentown, PA. Over the next 6 years Mike would hold several positions in both the QA and Brewing Departments. In 2001, after the brewery in Pennsylvania closed, Mike moved to Wisconsin, accepting a position with Cargill at its Jefferson Junction Malthouse. In 2007, Mike transitioned from operations management to the commercial side of Cargill’s malt business, becoming an Account Executive with its Specialty Malt Products Group. In July of 2015, Mike brought his talents to Briess and joined as the National Distillery Manager. In February of 2016, Mike was promoted to Director of Brewing and Distilling.

  • Shawn Kohlmeier
    Sales Manager - Food Division
    • Joined Briess
      May 2012

      Education
      Bachelor of Science Degree with a double major in Business Administration and Business/Economic Comprehensive from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville

      Profile
      Prior to joining Briess, Shawn worked at Red Arrow Products, a manufacture of natural ingredients for the prepared meats industry, in its marketing department. His career has been focused on customer intimate sales and marketing and product management. His technical knowledge and understanding of the food industry gives him the ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders across Briess from the supply chain, to the farmer, to the consumer. He is passionate about promoting a product line that focuses on solutions while meeting the needs of an ever-changing consumer group.

  • Steve Carter
    Vice President / CFO
    • Joined Briess
      November 2019

      Education
      Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from University of Wisconsin – Madison; Masters of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

      Profile

      Steve began his career in public accounting at Arthur Andersen & Co., obtaining his CPA and gaining experience in accounting, auditing, controls, and financial reporting. From there, Steve’s career focus turned to private industry, ending in senior financial roles at Saranac Glove Company, Kleen Test Products Corp., and SC Johnson & Son, Inc. Steve spent more than 20 years at SC Johnson, in roles including Business Controller, Finance Director – Canada, Senior Director – Product Supply Finance, CFO – Babyganics, and Vice President – Corporate Controller. His focus throughout has included delivering strong business results through cross-functional partnerships, working with manufacturing teams to develop more efficient operations, maintaining a top-notch accounting proficiency and control environment, and developing strong Finance teams.

  • Ron Schroder
    Marketing Manager - Food Division
    • Joined Briess
      May 2019

      Education
      MBA Marketing from the University of Minnesota. Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Business Administration and German Language from Calvin University

      Profile

      Since beginning his career at Kimberly-Clark, Ron has worked over 30 years in marketing management at a variety of food ingredient and consumer packaged goods companies. His experience includes strategy, P&L management, innovation, leadership, and advertising. At Briess, Ron is focused on the Food division and is responsible for communication and building the brand.

  • Bob Hansen
    Manager of Technical Services
    • Joined Briess
      May 2001

      Education
      Bachelor of Science Degree with a double major in Biochemistry and Applied Math and Physics from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Attended Siebel Institute courses

      Profile
      Prior to joining Briess, Bob was a brewing consultant, and brewer and consultant for Water Street Brewery, Milwaukee. At Briess, Bob commisioned a 500bbl brewhouse in the new Briess Extract Plant, and established a new pilot brewery. In addition to extensive R&D, Bob also provides technical support and recipe formulation assistance to customers. Frequent presenter to brewing and food industry groups.

  • Wiwid Paramita
    Technical Sales Specialist
    • Joined Briess
      February 2018

      Education
      Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Bogor Institute of Agriculture in Indonesia. Master’s and PhD in Food Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison

      Profile

      Wiwid has 18+ years of experience in research, product and technology development. She has worked directly with many food manufacturers, brand owners and equipment suppliers to develop technical and functional solutions for new food innovations. Her broad background and knowledge include meat systems, breading, seasonings, nutritional bars, cereals, snacks, and extrusion. Her proficient understanding of customers’ products, formulations and processes are key to finding solutions and building strong partnerships. 

  • Dan Bies
    Technical Services Rep, Pilot Brewery
    • Joined Briess
      November 2007

      Education
      Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Attended brewing courses at Seibel Institute and microbiology courses at Silliker Laboratories

      Profile
      Prior to joining Briess, Dan gained experience as a chemist and lab leader in several industries. At Briess, Dan is responsible for performing malt analysis, microbiological testing, brewing and R&D projects, including new product development and process improvement. Dan manages the pilot brewing and pilot plant operations and commercialization of new products in the extract plant. Recent projects include gluten free beer, malta, fermented malt beverage base and downstream beer color and flavor adjustment products. He regularly helps formulate recipes for home and craft brewers and has published articles, posters and given presentations in support of the craft brewing industry. Prior to joining the technical service staff, Dan was an analyst in the malting lab.

  • Jordon Geurts
    Technical Services Associate
    • Joined Briess
      October 2013

      Education
      Jordon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology and Organismal Biology from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh

      Profile
      Prior to Briess, Jordon worked with the USDA in its Cereal Crops Research Unit as a Lab Technician in the Barley Malt Quality Lab in Madison, WI. In his role at the USDA he specialized in small batch and pilot malting. In his current role at Briess, he provides technical support services for quality assurance, quality control and R&D projects.

  • Scott Heimerl
    Technical Services - Pilot Plant Operator
    • Joined Briess
      April 2012

      Education
      Master of Beer Styles and Evaluation — Siebel Institute of Technology, Chicago, Fundamentals of Microbiology for Food Industry Professionals, Deibel Laboratories

      Profile

      Scott’s training includes completion of the HACCP workshop from AIB International, implementing SQF Systems through SGS North America, FSPCA Preventive Controls for human foods via the FSPCA as well as Internal Auditor, Introduction to GFSI, and Principles of HACCP online training with Vinca LLC. He has worked at Briess for more than seven years in the Extract facility in roles of increasing responsibility from Operations to Quality Control & Assurance. In his current role of Technical Service Associate – Pilot Plant Operator, he supports the company through Technical Service. His role is focused on internal support of pilot plants while continuing to assist and provide insight to our Production and Quality teams. 

  • Erika Flores
    Technical Services Representative
    • Joined Briess
      September 2017

      Education
      Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison

      Profile

      While studying microbiology, Erika worked in an E. coli and slime mold research laboratory. Her favorite microbe is the slime mold Dictyostelium purpureum because it looks like a microscopic field of purple flowers! She started her foray into the food industry in a food safety laboratory, testing customer products for pathogens and indicator microbes. Prior to Briess, Erika was a quality and laboratory supervisor with an ingredients company and focused on standardization for production, sanitation, and laboratory functions to minimize mistakes and maximize repeatability. Erika provides Briess technical support to quality systems, labeling, and food safety. She is currently working on earning her Master of Science in Food Safety through Michigan State University. 

  • Mike Killelea
    Division Manager - Brew East
    • Joined Briess
      January 2016

      Education
      Completed the 28-week Craft Brewer’s Apprenticeship program offered by the American Brewers Guild

      Profile
      Mike brings more than 10 years of professional brewing experience to Briess. He began his career after completing the American Brewers Guild apprenticeship program, followed by a brief internship. Following that, Mike was hired as a brewer at Legend Brewing Company in Richmond, VA, where he worked for 6 ½ years. For the past 3-½ years, Mike was the head brewer at Center of the Universe Brewing Company in Ashland, VA. In addition to brewing, Mike is also the founder of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, serving as Guild Chairman for its first four years.

  • Mike Illig
    Brew Central Division Manager
    • Joined Briess
      December 2019

      Education
      Associates Degree in Business Management, MBAA Beer Steward program and Introduction to Practical Brewing from UC Davis

      Profile

      Mike brings more than a decade of experience from various facets of the Craft Brewing industry to Briess. After 5 years as a Craft Beer Manager at one of the major distributors in central MN, he spent more than three years as a Sales Manager with a large central MN craft brewery. From there, he transitioned to Account Manager and National Distribution Manager roles for a large maltster in the US. His many years of experience in multiple arenas of the industry bring comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the industry's unique trends, needs, and culture.

  • Dan Burick
    Division Manager - Brew Mountain
    • Joined Briess
      November 2015

      Education
      Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern Colorado

      Profile
      Dan comes to Briess with 26 years of professional craft brewing knowledge in both pub and production brewing. Dan started brewing beer at Squatters Pub Brewery six weeks after it opened in 1989. He brewed for about a year before attending brewing school at the Siebel Institute of Technology. In 1997, in partnership with the Doemens Brewing Academy in Munich, Germany and Siebel Institute of Technology, Dan completed a course in Bavarian Brewing Technology. Soon after, he became Director of Brewing for the Utah Brewers Cooperative, which operates two brewpubs and one packaging facility for the Squatters and Wasatch brands.

  • Michael Forncrook
    Division Manager - Brew West
    • Joined Briess
      April 2019

      Education
      Associate of Liberal Arts, De Anza College — Cupertino, California
      Studied Mandarin Chinese at Tunghai University, Taiwan

      Profile

      Prior to joining Briess, Michael spent 5 and a half years internationally helping PBCraft Brewing Ingredients build their sales team and e-commerce marketplace in East Asia. Prior to helping PBCraft, Michael worked for 15 years in Software development in Silicon Valley where he combined his passion for Homebrewing and Technology.

  • David Frumkin
    Division Manager - Food Northeast
    • Joined Briess
      January 2018

      Education
      Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communications from St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA

      Profile

      Prior to Briess, David was the Eastern Region Sales Manager for CHS Inc., in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. CHS is a manufacturer of soy protein for the food and beverage industries. During his tenure at CHS, he was instrumental in recommending appropriate protein ingredients for applications at numerous companies. David bolstered his expertise as the Director of Global Business Development and Marketing for the Life Sciences Research Office in Bethesda, Maryland. There, he fused science and business relationships which led to technical assessments and reviews for the food and beverage industries. He carries the philosophy that science and business should co-exist in his role as Division Manager for food ingredients here at Briess. 

  • Martin McKinney
    Division Manager - Food Southeast
    • Joined Briess
      October 2016

      Education
      Martin has an Economics Degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

      Profile

      During his career he has managed a broad array of custom, value-added, food solutions for CPG, foodservice, and beverage manufacturers.  He has extensive ingredient and product application knowledge and enjoys identifying and developing new opportunities for his customers.  He is also dedicated to understanding your well-planned objectives and direction to present tailored solutions that help you reach your goals.

  • Dona Leonard
    Division Manager—Food Central
    • Joined Briess
      February 2014

      Education
      Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture with a focus is food science and animal science from University of Tennessee

      Profile
      Dona has 20+ years in technical sales concentrating on value added and functional ingredients across the full range of applications in the industrial food and animal nutrition industries. For 21 years prior to joining Briess, she worked as a broker/distributor which later became a manufacturing company. During her last 8 years as a broker/distributor, she gained extensive knowledge of the Briess lines. Dona’s focus on relationship building is key to understanding customer needs, which has proven to be a catalyst for growth both professionally and personally.

  • Suzanne Hammer
    Division Manager — Food West
    • Joined Briess
      January 2020

      Education
      Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco

      Profile

      Suzanne has an extensive career in the food ingredients industry.  She started her career with Guittard and Ghirardelli chocolate companies in sales, sales management, and marketing.  She worked for DCV, Inc (a DuPont/ConAgra joint venture) food division in sales and supply chain.  DCV specialized in food preservatives, oat fiber, and choline salt.  Before joining Briess, Suzanne spent her most recent years in sales and business development for Red Arrow Products/Kerry Ingredients. At Briess her focus will be providing superior technical and sales support to the western portion of the US.

  • Ryan Wessley
    Regional Distributor Divisional Manager
    • Joined Briess
      November 2016

      Education
      Bachelor of Science in Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management with emphasis in Wine, Beer & Spirits from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, WI.

      Profile

      Ryan has 12 years of beer industry and wholesale distribution experience acquired during his positions with Leinenkugel’s Brewing Company, Miller Coors, and Anheuser Busch. He previously oversaw the import, craft, and specialty (non-domestic) beer divisions and enhanced portfolios. In addition, he worked with territorial sales representatives to expand their knowledge of product placement, brand optimization, and brewery relations. Ryan is very passionate about the brewing industry and offers a genuine approach to building customer relationships. With expertise in point-of-sale and distribution marketing, Ryan enjoys collaborating with the Briess team to develop outstanding wholesaler experiences, while identifying key opportunities for the homebrew and distributor industries. Be sure to take a look at one of his homebrew recipes in our monthly blog! 

  • Jason Batterman
    Quality Manager - Ingredients
    • Joined Briess
      April 2006

      Education
      Bachelor of Science Degree with a double major in Soil Science and Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Earned an Accredited Environmental Studies Certificate

      Profile
      Prior to joining Briess, Jason worked for Kelling Laboratory in Madison, WI, in its vegetable plant and cereal crop research program. In his role at Briess, Jason focuses on quality support of the Extract Plant and Insta Grains® facilities. He is responsible for quality approval of process improvements, reviews root cause analysis of deviations, provides customer and regulatory audit support, and oversees the Extract Plant analytical laboratory. Jason is a WDATCP Certified Laboratory Analyst, is an AIB Trained HACCP Participant for the Extract Division, and is a member of the Extract Plant Food Defense Team.

  • Betsy Roberts
    Quality Manager - Malting
    • Joined Briess
      June 2009

      Education
      Bachelor of Science Degree with double major in Biochemistry and Food Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison

      Profile
      Experience in both the malting and food industries. Prior to coming to Briess, Betsy worked as a Quality Control Supervisor for the J.M. Smucker Company. Betsy started her professional experience in the malting industry, gaining experience in both malting production and quality analysis while working for Anheuser-Busch and the USDA Cereal Crops Research Unit Barley and Malt Division. Betsy started with Briess in the Technical Services Group, driving various projects to improve malt quality, including method validations and new method development. She has served as a company regulatory resource, allergen technical resource, and product analysis resource, as well as provided quality training and developed procedures in various areas of the Briess quality system. In her current role, Betsy is responsible for assuring product quality at each of the three Briess malthouses, as well the barley operation. She also manages the two malt analytical labs in Chilton and Manitowoc. Betsy is a member of the ASBC, MBAA and AACC.

  • Penny Pickart
    Senior Sales Consultant
    • Joined Briess
      September 1996

      Education
      Course work at Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, WI. Completed Siebel Institute brewing course.

      Profile

      Penny is a trusted and highly-sought advisor to the brewing industry. Her passion for the brew industry and continued education through Siebel Institute of Technology as well as MBAA courses have helped her develop expertise in malt and beer sensory over her 20 years of experience. Penny is always willing to jump in with both feet with brewers to trouble shoot brewhouse performance issues and her customers seek her out due to
      her malt characteristic expertise to assist in recipe formulation. Further, that expertise has led her to be a judge at competitions nationwide including GABF and World Beer Cup.