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“I want to bathe in my favorite barbecue.”

When it comes to creating Brand Love, there is no matchmaker quite like Dan. He wields strategic know-how like Cupid’s bow and hones sharp insights into pinpoint-precise arrows that target audience’s collective derriere. In other words, Dan knows what makes the evolving food culture tick. He’s refined his craft for over three decades, both as client and agency guy. In 1988, Dan founded Stricevic & O’Connell – a small marketing firm that quickly blossomed into the Food Marketing Division of Bozell Worldwide. Today, along with overseeing the strategic and creative direction on all major Foodmix accounts, Dan speaks nationally on marketing issues and is involved in several food industry associations.

Dan O’Connell – Founder/CEO


“forget the life preserver, throw me a wheel of P’tit Basque.”

How does one get to “Brand Love” from “Brand Like” or “Brand We’re Just Friends”? That’s where Sara comes in. She is Brand Love’s true muse – overseer of the entire Brand Love-building experience. Sara is tirelessly invested and committed to each of Foodmix’s clients – whether she’s crafting a marketing communications plan or collaborating on a client’s future goals and ways to exceed them. Beginning with her years at Nakano Foods, followed by leading the charge for Rich Products at O’Connell, Norton & Partners, up until her current position here at Foodmix, Sara has earned every bit of her esteemed reputation in the food and food marketing industries.

Sara Hagen – President


“loving a brand at the age of 6 and sharing it with your grandkids at 60.”

Every Lothario needs a wingman. When it comes to the team of brand love creators here at Foodmix, Steve is that guy. He’s a behind-the-scenes bigwig, overseeing the financial and day-to-day operations of this finely tuned agency. And he’s available to share his financial acumen to help grow clients’ businesses as well. Combine that with his extensive IT and Internet management skills and it’s no wonder Steve has been considered an invaluable asset, ever since his days as a CFO at a communications behemoth and as an officer of major agencies and holding companies.

Steve Megel – Chief Operating Officer


“I believe in two food groups: Bread pudding and 'other '.”

Every company needs a brand advocate, and who better to serve in that role than Nadine? She’s our client development guru who knows how to move our clients from “brand like” to “Brand Love.” Whether she’s attending industry conferences, serving on marketing boards, or scouring media outlets for news, Nadine can spot someone who could use a little Brand Love in their lives. She understands what clients need because she has worked on all sides of the business, from media planning/buying to account direction to TV production. She has won accolades and awards for her work with respected brands including ConAgra, Maybelline, Dial Soap, Humana and more.

Nadine Baarstad – VP, Client Development


“I will fight anyone who disagrees that Gummi Bears are the world’s finest food.”

When it comes to love, we’ve all heard how important communication is. When it comes to Brand Love, that need for clear and powerful communiqués is extremely magnified. Fortunately, there’s Peter. Peter is a masterful marketing wooer, making sure the right message gets to the right people in the most effective and proficient manner. With over 15 years of agency experience including long stints at OMD and Starcom, Peter has perfected his skills regarding the oversight, execution and measurement of all communications (external and internal) via paid, owned, earned and shared platforms.

Peter Baughman – Vice President, Communications


“Brand love is salty snacks over salty people”

When it comes to creating Brand Love, how you say it is as important as what you say. That’s where Hutson comes in. With the ability to visualize a good idea early on, Hutson is able to create, guide and coax brand love to life with focus, patience and intuition. Hutson got his start at JWT Chicago where he worked on all the brands he grew up eating. From there he headed to Philadelphia and New York where he held creative leadership positions working on food and beverage brands such as McCormick Spices, Ortega Tacos, Dietz & Watson, Yuengling Beer, Turkey Hill and many others. Although he’s won his fair share of awards, Hutson would gladly trade all of them for a roasted pork sandwich from John’s in Philly.

Hutson Kovanda – Executive Creative Director

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