Nicole has been obsessed about local economic sustainability for as long as she can remember! When it came time to decide on a career, she decided to focus on food co-ops and independent natural food stores. She has worked on over 250 projects all over North America and is the only person in the industry that combines Store Planning & Design, Interior Design, Marketing and Branding to create unique shopping experiences and efficient operations.
Maria has been working in the architectural industry since 2001. She has the knowledge and experience to successfully execute and manage creative design solutions for complex buildings from conception through completion. As an avid environmentalist and food junkie, her passion is to help natural grocery stores and food co-ops flourish across the country.
P.J. Hoffman has 46 years of experience in the grocery industry, starting at age seventeen stocking shelves at a local supermarket. In 1988, after fifteen years in both conventional and natural foods retailing, P.J. founded the wholesaler-based retail services program that eventually became UNFI Store Development Services, providing design and equipment procurement services nationally. Also long active in food co-ops, he recently finished a five year stint as a Business Development Director with National Co-op Grocers. P.J has been a designer in over 450 projects and has a strong background in store operations and merchandising.
Riley is one of those people who speak code. By the time he was in high school he was teaching himself how to code games and develop websites. In college he focused on web development and IT. Now he runs our Web Development team and improves upon our client's web presence daily.
Kevin O’Donnell has had a long and esteemed career managing boutique hotels and country clubs around the U.S. For the past 5+ years he has been working with natural foods grocery stores to improve their operations and sales. He is a graduate of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University and has been in the prepared foods industry for over 30 years. Kevin is a lifelong industry professional who believes in paying it forward and also teaches Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts at Northern Vermont University. He applies his operational knowledge on a day to day basis as the Operations Manager at Hunger Mountain Food Co-op in Montpelier, VT.
Joel has over 30 years’ experience in leadership training, team-building, and project stewardship. Joel calls himself a process improvement geek and prides himself on helping teams work smarter and more efficiently to achieve better results and productivity. Joel draws on his experience working with Fortune 500 companies, international non-profit organizations, and a wide variety of co-ops, including dozens of natural food grocery stores. Joel has a variety of approaches and tools he utilizes, including Servant Leadership, MBTI Personality Type (Myers Briggs), Policy Governance, and Simon Sinek’s work, but the only thing Joel is dogmatic about is that an element of fun is vital to any serious endeavor. Joel leads our Education and Training Division, working with boards, store owners, management teams, and staff.
For Heather, it all started with blueberry picking as a girl. After an early career as a designer in the nonprofit sector, Heather moved into food and never looked back. Since then, she worked in marketing and design with Lexington Cooperative Market, then as Marketing Manager for the startup East Aurora Co-op Market.
Throughout her career she has worked with organizations to develop strategic, cohesive programs and communications to achieve targeted, measurable results. She has worked on startup strategy, owner engagement, systems generation, capital campaigns, planning, event creation and communications development. Heather is passionate about mission-forward business, community building, and branding from the inside out. And blueberries.