Edward began his foodservice career in 1974. He spent four years in restaurant operations and management. Edward then worked in the retail deli/bakery business, where he set up and managed in-store operations for a 14-store chain. He had a 13-year career in the wholesale bakery industry and then did consulting work for foodservice distributors and manufacturers for 5 years.
In 1996, Edward helped to begin a foodservice marketing group that became the largest pizzeria distribution network in the United States. Edward has possibly sold, marketed, and tasted more pizza than anyone in the United States over the last 20 years.
A dynamic speaker, Edward captures audiences with a mixture of fun, facts and personal challenges for improvement. A well-known and respected sales trainer, he has developed several programs for food sales representatives designed to increase sales and improve customer relationships.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Md., Edward’s career in the food industry spans more than 40 years. He holds a B.S. in Economics and an M.S. in Administrative Management and enjoys the outdoors, hiking, reading, playing the bass guitar and volunteering on behalf of organizations that feed the hungry.
Leonard Sbrocco has over 25 years of experience working for multiple media outlets in the San Francisco Bay Area, including as a Publisher, Ad Director, and Online Manager at various newspapers.
Since 2008, he has provided marketing expertise to more than 25 companies as a partner at Big Cat Advertising, where he specializes in online and email promotions. Previously, he was the Director of Business Development at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was responsible for creating and managing new products, generating $20 million in ad sales in three years.
He has had significant success marketing restaurants through innovative campaigns, such as specialty magazines and websites. Most recently, Sbrocco has focused on building sales through referral-based email marketing services and social media.
Sbrocco also co-founded a golf and travel website and was editor of a leading market research website. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served six years as a U.S. Army officer.
Kristen is a Global Marketing Leader with extensive experience building and strengthening both large, well-known brands, and smaller, entrepreneurial products. She is a spirited public speaker, motivator, team-obsessed leader, and known for her contagious enthusiasm. She uses her highly positive, energetic outlook, and 25 years of brand marketing and advertising experience to help companies achieve their goals.
Some of Kristen’s accomplishments include: Leading the innovation, product positioning, design and marketing strategies for brands such as Dunkin Brands Inc., Baskin Robbins, Mattel, AT&T Wireless, Macy’s, and for smaller, innovative start-ups. She has developed key partnerships with well-known players in the industry (Netflix, DecoPac, Build-a-Bear, Sony Entertainment) to build brand relevance, reach new demographics, extend share of voice, and to increase revenue. She has driven retail and indirect and B2B marketing strategies in highly competitive markets.
Kristen loves to travel and is fluent in conversational German. When not working, she loves hiking, spending days at the ocean, wine tasting, cooking, adventuring with her husband and two boys and lovable Labrador named Bodhi!
Matt Fry joined the The Food Connector in an internship position in January 2019. A student-athlete at nearby Dominican University of California, Matt worked for a year and half in a part-time position, developing his skills in website management, digital marketing strategies, and content creation.
Matt graduated in 2020 with a BA in Marketing and Sales and has transitioned into a more featured position within The Food Connector.
Matt has leveraged his recent college coursework and internship experience to form strong copywriting techniques for email marketing campaigns, digital newsletters, and website content with a focus on lead generation. His other responsibilities at The Food Connector include content creation, social media management, and database management.
Matt has spent over 15 years honing his golf skills, earning a spot on the Dominican Men’s Team in 2018, and he continues to compete at Dominican as he completes his MBA. Matt lives in Laguna Niguel and enjoys college football, wine tasting, and running.
Noah Alper is a consultant specializing in entrepreneurial strategy, and executive coaching. He is the author of Business Mensch–Timeless Wisdom for Today’s Entrepreneur. His experience includes concept creation, branding,marketing, retailing, and sales management.
A serial entrepreneur, Noah Alper is the founder of six ventures, including two mega-successful food businesses—the West Coast Noah’s New York Bagels chain and Bread & Circus, once the Northeast’s largest natural foods chain and now part of Whole Foods Market. Six and a half years after founding Noah’s New York Bagels, he sold the business for $100 million. At that time, it was the largest kosher retailer in the United States.
Noah has been a guest speaker at Google, the E2 Detroit Entrepreneur’s Conference, the “EO” Entrepreneur Organization, the League of Women Voters and many national and local business and community groups. He has been a guest lecturer at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the University of Wisconsin School of Business,UC Davis School of Management, Babson College, and a student advisor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BA in Economics, and grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. He currently lives in Berkeley, California.
A UC Berkeley engineering grad working over 20 years in Silicon Valley. Ron has had many rolls starting as a printed circuit board test engineering manager and working up to manufacturing program management for many companies, including Sun Microsystems. He has moved on from Silicon Valley and for the past ten years has rekindled his passion for software design and development. Ron now brings his software and managerial skills to website design and development to the food industry.
Now with years of website development, Ron now specializes in WordPress theme development, hosting setup and security, site analytics and SEO, and all facets and tools to bring a customer’s website vision to life.
Ron loves to discuss website development, to mentor and to teach WordPress, and when time and weather allows, is an avid golfer.