BENSENVILLE, IL — Fortune International, LLC (“Fortune” or the “Company”), the country’s leading processor, distributor and importer of quality seafood, meats and gourmet products, today announced the appointment of six senior executives to further strengthen and expand the Company’s financial, operational and marketing capabilities.
Fortune named Joel Jorgensen as Chief Financial Officer, Richard Deferia as Chief Revenue Officer and Kevin Hoople as Chief Information Officer, all reporting to President and CEO Sean O’Scannlain. The company also named Ethan Farber as Vice President of Marketing, Steven Gwozdz as Vice President of Frozen Seafood and Trey Kidd as Market Vice President of Texas.
“We are very pleased to announce the addition of six exceptional new senior executives to our leadership, corporate and regional teams at the start of 2024,” O’Scannlain said. “We continue to attract the industry’s very best talent, which allows us to invest in and build stronger customer relationships, accelerate business momentum and drive growth into new markets. I look forward to supporting my new colleagues in their new responsibilities. This is an exciting way to start off the new year.”
As Chief Financial Officer, Jorgensen will oversee overall financial and operational management at Fortune, as well as play a key leadership role in strategic business planning, M&A execution and integration. He brings over 15 years of financial executive experience in food distribution and packaging to Fortune. Previously, Jorgensen was Chief Financial Officer at B2B Industrial Packaging, LLC in Addison, Ill., where he led and supported the acquisition of 16 companies and built out the company’s leadership, treasury and HR functions. Before that, he was CFO at Harvest Sherwood Food Distributors in Detroit, Mich. He received his B.A. in Accounting from the University of Northern Iowa.
As Chief Revenue Officer, Deferia will lead and support the continued national expansion of the Fortune Fish & Gourmet distribution business. He has over 15 years of experience in the food and restaurant industries, starting his career as a chef before transitioning into sales and marketing. Before Fortune, Deferia spent 13 years at Sysco, starting his career as a Marketing Associate before working up to Regional Vice President of Sales Mideast Region. Prior, he was an Executive Chef at Dockside Jack’s and JB’s Wharf in Michigan. Deferia received a Degree of Culinary Arts from the French Culinary Institute and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame.
As Chief Information Officer, Hoople will be responsible for overseeing Fortune’s IT, information security teams and strategy, with an initial focus on data collection infrastructure. He has been an IT executive in the food and distribution industries for over 20 years. Prior to Fortune, he spent 14 years at Lawson Products, starting as a Director of ERP Integration & Deployment and rising eventually to Chief Information Officer. Before Lawson, Hoople spent 10 years at Reyes Holdings L.L.C. and Martin-Brower L.L.C. He received his B.A. in management computer systems from the University of Wisconsin.
Farber, as Vice President of Marketing, brings nearly 20 years of experience in brand and creative strategy, strategic planning and business insights to the Company. Prior to joining Fortune, he was Senior Vice President and Partner in Creative Planning at FleishmanHillard in Chicago. Before that, he was Executive Vice President and U.S. Head of Planning at BCW Global, formerly Burson-Marsteller, for nearly six years. He is an alumnus of Bowdoin College.
Experienced in front-line retail operations, Gwozdz is a senior food industry leader with expertise across fresh commodities and other categories. Before joining Fortune, he was a Category Manager III of Seafood Merchandising at Stop and Shop Supermarkets. Gwozdz also spent three years as Category Manager III of Meat Merchandising at Giant Food Stores and, before that, as a manager of meat merchandising at Price Chopper/Market 32. He is an alumnus of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Mass.
Based in the Greater Houston area, Kidd is a proven sales and operations leader with over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. Before joining Fortune to oversee Texas operations, he was General Manager for three years at BakeMark, a manufacturer and distributor of bakery ingredients. Prior to that, he spent nearly 22 years at Sysco, rising from a marketing associate to Vice President of Field Sales for the Southern Market. He received his B.S. in agriculture from Texas A&M University.
Fortune International, LLC
Fortune International, LLC, is the parent operating company of Fortune Fish & Gourmet, a full-service processor and distributor providing white-tablecloth restaurants, private clubs, elegant hotels and gourmet retail stores with the finest quality fresh, live, and frozen seafood and gourmet foods. The company handles more than 18,000 unique products daily and delivers to more than 35,000 customer locations throughout the United States with a fleet of refrigerated vehicles, and nationally through FedEx and common carriers. For more information, visit www.fortunefishco.net.