Ben Shanley, Vice President Distributor Development, Coca-Cola Refreshments USA

Tagged in Board of Directors Leadership Manufacturer Members

If there's one word to describe Ben Shanley it's "optimistic." He has spent 29 years with Coca-Cola reinforcing the brand's mission to refresh the world and inspire moments of optimism. Ben also views the future of foodservice with an optimistic lens, recognizing the industry's importance for U.S. employment and career growth. Get to know him.

What is your position/title, in your words?
Vice President Distributor Development. I'm responsible for our partnership with foodservice distributors in bringing value to customers and consumers through our beverage category leadership.

Share a story about your first job in foodservice.
My first job in foodservice was working at an Arby's restaurant in Roseville, MN. What I remember most are the people - those that took the time to train me, those that I served and my coworkers. It reinforced what I know and live today: This is a people business. I enjoyed the interaction with people who came to the restaurant to have a meal with friends and family or just to relax, but it was also the foundation for me personally to learn about running restaurants.

What's your favorite meal?
Bone-in ribeye.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

What is your industry passion?
I believe in giving back to the industry that I have benefited greatly from in my career. Whether that is by being active in industry boards such as IFMA's, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), NYC & Company, Inc., or by being a recruiter/mentor to future leaders of this terrific industry.

What is your advice to a person new to the industry?
Explore as many opportunities to learn as you can and then leverage that diversity to create a successful career.

What do your customers appreciate most about your company?
Not only is there a clear mission of refreshing the world and inspiring moments of optimism, but is a focus on creating value for all of those who come in contact with our brands. Finally, we take seriously our commitment to Live Positively in our communities, marketplace, workplace and environment.


IFMA featured members are selected based on their accomplishments in the food industry. Recognized as leaders, they are the people moving the industry forward with big ideas and even bigger goals. Know someone who fits the bill? Tell us.

Login To Gain Access To This Content
Nov 06

Presidents Conference

The IFMA Presidents Conference is the place “Where Leaders Meet.” The 54th annual premier top-to-top forum, co-hosted by the NRA and IFDA, brings together influential leaders of foodservice from the operator, manufacturer and distributor communities.

Michael Cannon, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Surlean Foods

Managing the growth and development of the sales, marketing and R&D teams at Surlean Foods is quite the task, but somehow Michael finds time to help shape many of IFMA's programs. His motto, "Don't let 'perfect' get in the way of 'better'" helps him stay on task and continuously seek improvement. Get to know him.

Joe Bybel -- Senior VP, Marketing and R&D, Ventura Foods

Maintaining a strong work ethic and keeping an eye on the details are two key traits needed for success in foodservice, according to Joe Bybel of Ventura Foods. In addition, Joe believes providing simpler and more natural products will continue to be a top priority needed to meet complex consumer demands. Get to know him.

Robert A. Corscadden, VP Marketing & Innovation U.S. Specialty Channels, Kellogg Company

Bob notes that one of the greatest innovations in foodservice over the past decade is reality food shows, which have turned cooking into drama and competition. People are now learning about foods and ingredients they never knew existed and are challenging operators to provide dishes that mirror what they see on TV. Get to know him.

Richard Ferranti, Executive VP and COO, Rich Products

"Why not?" is a simple question that has opened up a world of opportunity for Richard Ferranti. From establishing businesses in emerging markets like China, Brazil and India to leading the North American business for Rich Products, he's a foodservice guru with all the right stuff. Get to know him.

Mads Houlberg, President, Unilever Food Solution

As president of Unilever Food Solutions, Mads Houlberg considers himself the leader of an entrepreneurial team and company. He is passionate about giving foodservice professionals a chance to build their careers. He believes social media is extremely important to the industry. Get to know him.

Gretchen Sussman, Vice President - Foodservice North America, CSM Bakery Solutions

Gretchen develops and communicates clear and actionable strategies, while also removing barriers to her team's success at CSM Bakery Solutions. Further, she also prioritizes getting to know customers and offering value-added solutions to improve business results. Get to know her.

Kent Walrack, President & Chief Operating Officer, Lyons Magnus

Kent has a keen understanding of teamwork and loyalty after spending nearly 30 years working his way up through Lyons Magnus. He takes great pride in being part of a dedicated core management team and cultivating talent throughout the organization. Get to know him.

Mike Villano, VP/GM Foodservice, Basic American Foods

Mike Villano is no stranger to hard work. After getting his start in foodservice managing seafood restaurants in Manhattan, he learned quickly what types of challenges operators face on a daily basis. This foundational knowledge and his "no shortcuts" approach helps him ensure Basic American Foods' customers thrive in the restaurant business. Get to know him.

Rick Kirkpatrick, Vice President, Sweet Street Desserts

As vice president of sales & marketing at Sweet Street Desserts and an active IFMA board member, Rick relies on foodservice industry events and social media to build lasting relationships with foodservice leaders, fellow board members and his customers. Get to know him.

ConAgra Foods Leader William J. Caskey Receives IFMA’s Distinguished Foodservice Executive Award

In tribute to his dedication to the foodservice industry and his service on the IFMA Board of Directors, IFMA awarded William (Bill) J. Caskey of ConAgra Foods with a Distinguished Foodservice Executive Award.