Regional Manager: Rocky Mountain + Southwest
Ashlee was born and raised in Boulder, CO, where the natural beauty and culture of health and wellness helped to shape her world outlook and ultimately bring her to the Natural Foods Industry. She has a BA from Colorado University in International Affairs and earned her MS from Penn State, where she studied Geography with an emphasis on global food systems. Her passion for all things food easily translated to the broker world, where she has worked with Colorado-based natural retailers for the last four years. She has expertise calling on Natural Grocers, Whole Foods Market, Pharmaca, and Lucky's Market, and is always eager to expand her knowledge and build relationships with new retailers.
In her free time, Ashlee nurtures her obsession with food by working to deepen her knowledge and understanding of ethnic ingredients, techniques and flavor profiles. She also has a keen interest in helping things grow, keeping an outdoor garden and tending her indoor "garbage garden" composed of items often thrown away but with a little help can be productive again. Whether in rain, sunshine, or snow, she can also be found outside with her husband and her dog, Jack
Danny Jimenez was born in Los Angeles, CA. He started his grocery career in 2007 at Whole Foods Market. During his time at Whole Foods, he worked as a buyer in several departments including Bulk, Grocery, Frozen, and Dairy. He also participated in many store resets and store openings such as WFM Del Mar in San Diego along with WFM Arroyo in Pasadena, CA, where he stayed to become an Associate Grocery Team Leader.
In 2017, Danny was given the opportunity to work with Presence Marketing as a Retail Representative. After two years at Presence, Danny’s wife received a great career opportunity in the great state of TX, so his family left sunny Southern California and moved to Houston where they both currently work and reside.
Danny loves to spend his free time with his family, watch movies, play board games, BBQ, and collect shoes.
Gary began his journey in the grocery industry as a stocker for a local grocery store in the Dallas Fort Worth/North TX region during his high school years. As he worked his way up, he had the opportunity to work in all departments before being promoted to Assistant Manager. From there, Gary became interested in distribution and started his next adventure working for a regional distribution company servicing independent stores in Central TX.
After years working with a distributor, Gary had the opportunity to begin his growth into the natural grocery business with Tree of Life/KeHe as a Sales Representative, and watched the natural products industry explode for the next two decades. Gary moved on to become a Territory Manager for an independent natural foods brokerage company, covering the Central Texas territory, working with both major retailers and independents.
An Austin, Texas resident since 1999, Gary is an enthusiastic member of the community and enjoys fishing the local lakes, occasional trips to the coast, and spending time with friends and family.
Heather Smith was born in Las Cruces, NM. She brings with her 15+ years experience in the retail/customer service industry. Her CPG career started 4 years ago at Basemakers in the DFW area as a Field Representative and was quickly promoted to an Area Manager. She has experience calling on Whole Foods Market, Central Market, Natural Grocers and Sprouts focusing on building relationships and creating brand visibility. She loves a challenge and has a passion for learning and helping others to succeed.
Outside of work Heather is a very dedicated sports mom spending her weekends at Basketball Tournaments and Football Games. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, dining at local restaurants, playing games with her son and catching a nap whenever possible.
Territory Manager (Wellness + Grocery)
Joseph began his career in the coffee industry, discovering his passion for fair trade farming, organic products, and different approaches to sustainability, while also caffeinating the masses. He had the opportunity to step into the Natural Industry and expand his expertise by working for an independent natural foods and wellness brokerage company as a Territory Manager for close to a decade, covering north Texas, Oklahoma, North Louisiana, and Arkansas.
Joseph currently resides in Dallas with his wife and kids, two Great Pyrenes and three cats, who run the house. He enjoys teaching pottery at the local Craft Guild, learning about stage combat, and building Star Wars Legos in his free time.