Reed Glidden, Persistent Entrepreneur, President and Founder
My career in food started when I was 13 on a Tasty Freeze truck. My father, John Glidden, bought the truck while he was still on active duty as a career enlisted man in the US Air Force. I did everything on that truck from making banana splits, handling the cash, to servicing equipment. My dad hired someone to drive it. It wasn’t exactly the natural food industry, yet on that truck I started my lifelong habit of learning by doing and jumping into the deep end.
My mother, Norma Glidden, brought me up on Adele Davis recipes. With that good start I’ve now been a natural foods vegetarian all of my adult life, right in the middle of hard-working America. Before my career in natural foods I drove trucks, including an eighteen-wheeler in the Utah salt mines. Later, I founded a union construction company in Fairbanks, Alaska. Throughout all the hard work, my mentor, the pioneering herbalist Neva Jensen, helped me survive and thrive in chemically dangerous work environments such as industrial construction work on the Alaskan pipeline. Neva Jensen also introduced me to yoga. I practiced yoga for decades and I still live by its core principles. I also became a best-in-class weight lifter in Alaska in the early eighties.
I was also privileged to serve as a union steward and later as the owner and founder of a union construction company. At 37, I was ready to leave the rough and tumble world of big construction. It was time to find the right livelihood. I was bound and determined to create a business I loved that also helped people. I moved from Alaska to work with a small natural foods brokerage in a sunnier, warmer city, a regular hot spot compared to Fairbanks: Chicago, Illinois.
When I got there, the natural foods industry was about the size of the cat food industry at that time. No one had heard of a natural food brokerage. I was barely making $900 a month in commissions, but I was persistent. Once again I was in the deep end, learning by doing. Every scrap of time, money and energy went into the business. Within five months, I owned it. To my joy and good luck my brother, Roy, was willing to leave his career as an industrial electrician and millwright to join me. As the company grew he moved to Florida and opened up a Southeast Region. Within two years I had five employees selling into an eleven-state area the size of Europe. I’m lucky to have a stellar collaborator and partner in my brother, Roy!
Ten years later my food brokerage, Choice Marketing, had 80 employees operating in 38 states. Eventually I sold parts of the company and gave ownership in the remaining regions to my best manager, Kathy Murray, and tried to retire.
Early retirement was great for the gardener and musician in me. It was hell on the entrepreneur and food advocate. I had the itch. There was no cure. I was going to start up another business and of course it had to be in natural foods. This time I wanted to start a brand and not just sell brands for other entrepreneurs. It had to be something I believed in. As I searched for ideas I began to notice that many snack companies had begun using beans as an ingredient. Well, beans and rice are my favorite meal. So, the process began. During the start-up phase my wife and co-founder, Liza Braude-Glidden, got tired of hearing me talking about and researching how to improve tortilla chips by using beans and rice instead of corn, so she whipped up a batch. They tasted great. Those first home-cooked chips were pretty darn close to the chips that are now being sold around the country as Beanfields Bean & Rice Chips!
There’s a plaque about the Glidden clan in downtown San Antonio and another one in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Gliddens have been inventers and founders, including venerable ancestors who invented water-based paint, barbed wire and the typewriter. I guess we’ve always got to be doing something. Since there’s no cure for stopping an entrepreneur, I'm happy I ended up in the natural foods industry helping people appreciate my favorite foods, beans and rice. I love promoting beans, one of the most sustainable and water-efficient protein sources on the planet. Another important place of fulfillment for me is creating jobs for good Americans. Doing well by doing good and finding better ways to snack is way more fun for me than being retired. I hope you have as much fun eating Beanfields chips as I’m having making them!
Roy Glidden, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President of International Sales and Product Development
(Sales Professional and Natural Foodie)
I’ve always loved food. I love to create it, grow it, and I even love to shop for it - call me food crazy. I think it’s my mother’s fault. I grew up in a natural foods eating family, we ate healthy foods partly by choice and partly out of necessity. Feeding five hungry children on a US Air Force Sergeant’s wage took some creativity. It just so happened that some of the most affordable foods, were also some of the healthiest, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, rice, and yes, beans, lots of beans!
Some of my fondest early memories are of my mother taking me, the youngest of five children, with her to do our family food shopping at the local food co-op, military commissary or local grocery store. I learned early on how to spot a good value and to see through the fancy marketing of empty-calorie foods. My mother taught me the value of eating healthy as I participated in preparing family meals. I took notice as she ground wheat berries into whole wheat flour for our bread, made soups and casseroles from scratch, and always kept plenty of whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables (many from our own garden) in our pantry and on our kitchen table.
After an early career as an electrician/instrumentation tech/millwright, including work on the Alaska pipeline, I decided to pursue my true passion and began my career in natural foods. It was 1989 and I joined my older brother, Reed, to start Choice Sales and Marketing, a natural foods brokerage in Chicago. At Choice Marketing Midwest and then later at Choice Marketing Southeast, I helped pioneer such iconic natural food brands such as Natural Path Cereals, Eden Foods, Bob’s Red Mill, Garden of Eatin’ Chips, Stonyfield Farm Yogurt and many others. Eventually we sold Choice Marketing Midwest and Southeast.
In 2005 I was hired by Galaxy Nutritional Foods (Go Veggie!), the world’s leading brand of lactose-free and dairy-free cheese. During my 6+ years as Director of Natural Sales for Galaxy Foods, I further developed my understanding of how to successfully develop, market and sell natural and vegan foods to all classes of trades and all types of consumers.
Then in December of 2010 I decided to reunite with my brother Reed and his wife (my sister-in-law) Liza Braude-Glidden, to start Beanfields Snacks. We had this crazy notion that we could make delicious tortilla chips out of just beans and rice.
From day one with Beanfields, I’ve been involved in developing the Beanfields Snacks brand, from product development and package design, to building a sales and marketing strategy, a distribution and broker network, and putting together our dynamic Beanfields sales and marketing team.
Starting and building Beanfields Snacks has been a lot of hard work, but it has been a labor of love. Fortunately, I have been surrounded by supportive, hardworking and talented people. Beanfields truly is a team effort and a big part of that team is family.
Family-owned is part of our company logo and it certainly is true. But more than just owned, Beanfields is our family business, our family is involved in every facet of the business and the business is a major part of our lives. It starts with my brother Reed and me, we are more than just business partners, we are also great friends. We feed off of each other’s energy and ideas. My sister-in-law Liza is the driving feminine spirit that keeps us all grounded and moving in the right direction. In addition to the three founders, my brother Mark is our Director of Operations; his wife (my other sister-in-law), Evelyn, is our Certification Manager; my brother Gary, sister Kathleen, niece Elizabeth, nephew Jeff, and Liza’s niece Emma are all Beanfields brand representatives.
Good food and the natural food industry are now life-long passions that I feel privileged to be a part of. I owe a debt of gratitude to my supportive family and friends, and especially to the fans of our Beanfields chips that have made my dream of creating healthy, nutritious snacks a reality. I am a living example that anything is possible if you work hard, are willing to risk it all and dare to dream.
Liza Braude-Glidden, MA, Executive Vice President of Culture and Sustainability and Co-Founder
(A Mystic in the Marketplace)
Liza Braude-Glidden, MA, is called the Betsy Ross of Beanfields, because she was the first to roll out and cook a batch of what would someday become Beanfields’s artisan blend of Beans and brown rice. Today, Liza works closely with her husband Reed, Beanfields’s founder and CEO. “Running Beanfields together is an important part of who we are as a couple,” Liza says. “We have an entrepreneurial relationship and we work closely with Reed’s brother Roy, head of sales—so it’s a family affair!”
Part of the attraction was and is a mutual passion for entrepreneurship. Liza had been a part owner in a number of small community centered businesses before marrying Reed, and then helping to found Beanfields. The first of Liza’s businesses was a construction company that built small subdivisions of affordable energy efficient homes. Liza has also been active in a number of non profits, Including Social Venture Network and The American Sustainable Business Association.
Liza comes from a family that’s been avid natural food fans for four generations, since the Battle Creek days. Her father, Marvin Braude, was one of California’s first environmental politicians. So Beanfields values of promoting health, sustainability and ethical business practices come naturally to her. Liza attended California Institute of the Arts and Lesley University. Her background in the arts, education, and writing make her a powerful partner in Beanfields’s marketing campaigns.
Amrit Khalsa, Chief Financial Officer /Chief Operations Officer
Everyone thought I was crazy – especially my parents. I was graduating from the best university in the world (MIT was ranked #1 in the world by topuniversities.com), with a PhD in one of its strongest areas (Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering). Instead of going to work for Boeing or NASA or General Electric, I was going to work for a food company.
The day after defending my thesis (“Endwall Blockage in Axial Compressors” if you really want to know), I got in my car and drove across the country to Eugene, Oregon to be the IT Manager for Golden Temple Natural Products (the manufacturer of Yogi Tea herbal teas, Peace Cereals, Golden Temple granolas, Sweet Home Farm cereals, Wha Guru Chews, and Sunshine oils).
Throughout my last year at MIT, I knew that I didn’t want to stay in engineering, and I had been searching for something else. I considered making big bucks as a quant on Wall Street, but that thought just left me cold and uninspired. I was feeling the first stirrings of what was to become a lifelong driving motivation – the need to contribute something useful to the world with my business efforts. Working just to make a living held no appeal to me. What could be more boring than waking up each day just to make a paycheck?
About 9 months prior to graduating, I had an opportunity to work with Golden Temple Natural Products, which I jumped at - getting into the natural food industry. After 11 years with Golden Temple Natural Products and its parent company, I was looking for my next career move. I contemplated and pursued some other socially responsible business opportunities, but felt called to stay in natural foods. So I moved to LA and was the CEO of Essential Living Foods for 3 years, before coming to Beanfields. When I met the Beanfields team, I saw that they shared my passion for making a difference.
As a Kundalini yoga teacher, I also train yoga teachers on weekends. Being part of a flexible collaborative team at Beanfields helps me raise my kids and pursue my passions while making a good living and doing good. Sometimes my son or my daughter comes to work with me, so I appreciate the family style of the Beanfields team. These things keep me interested. I love to eat natural and organic foods, and I love applying my time, energy and expertise to making the world a better place – one chip at a time. My 7 year-old son eats almost a whole six-ounce bag of Beanfields Chips every day, so I'm glad they are so much better for you than regular chips!
John Honeck, Executive Vice President of Sales
In his role, assumed in April 2016, John oversees all aspects of Sales both Domestic and International which includes management of a direct sales force, DSD and broker teams. He is also responsible for driving the strategic sales vision and the go-to-market approach.
John is a highly successful sales, licensing and retail marketing professional with 30 years of increasing responsibilities working for startups and Fortune 100 companies generating over $6 billion in retail sales while leading diverse cross-functional groups to record-breaking results. A conceptual thinker with superior leadership skills and expertise in sales, licensing, promotions, trade marketing, sourcing/product development, strategic planning, category management and the recruitment and training of winning sales and customer teams.
Prior to joining Beanfields Snacks, some of John’s career highlights include developing Disney’s strategies in the grocery, drug, club and value channels where he developed first-ever direct to retail deals which led to a $100 million-a-year kids' food business, a $50 million-a-year pet business at Kroger and a $100 million-a-year seasonal business at Walgreens.
While at Adidas America, John tripled the sales at Finish Line while leading the sales and marketing team. He led the sell-in and introduction of Adidas apparel as well as a store-within-a-store concept at 10 Finish Line stores. John began his career at Procter & Gamble where he consistently delivered strong results while never missing a forecast in 14 years.
John graduated with a B.S. in Finance from Marquette University and an MBA in Marketing, Management & Strategy and International Business from Northwestern University – Kellogg Graduate School of Management.