Ben Deda is the CEO of FoodMaven and oversees the operations of the company. Ben has held senior and executive leadership roles at Vertafore, Galvanize, FullContact, and TruStile in operations, sales, marketing, and support. Ben is also a co-founder and board member for Denver Startup Week, the largest free entrepreneurial event in North America. Ben has an MBA from the University of Denver and a BS of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
FoodMaven is a socially conscious, for-profit company founded in 2015 to bring agility and flexibility to the U.S. food system. We leverage an innovative online marketplace and rapid logistics system to capture the millions of pounds of food lost in the system each year and sell it to waiting buyers — or donate it to hungry people. Our goal is to recover the $200 billion in lost revenue caused by wasted food each year by providing buyers and suppliers with a new avenue for sales and purchasing.
But there’s more to it than that. At FoodMaven, we believe that making a profit and making a difference can go hand-in-hand. Not only do we focus on environmental stewardship through our local logistics and zero-landfill policy, we also ensure that any food that cannot be sold is donated to food pantries in the communities in which we operate. FoodMaven is currently located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and we opened an office in Denver in July of 2017. We serve suppliers, buyers and nonprofits with superior service and high quality food. Now that we’ve perfected our operation, our next step is spreading nationwide in 2018, bringing our profitable, sustainable solution to cities across the United States .
Greg’s tech experience spans multiple industries including food, advertising technology, and health care. Named Denver Business Journal's "CIO of the Year" in 2011, he values the development of technology with a local purpose. He is a US patent holder for his work in advertising technology. Greg has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Jesse Last brings a decade of experience growing, managing, and financing domestic and international business across food, agriculture, and consumer packaged goods. At FoodMaven, Jesse leads the Supply Team in developing supplier partnerships, sourcing impact product, and ensuring consistent quality. Energized by FoodMaven’s mission, he works to build supply chains that reduce food waste and benefit both producers and consumers. Jesse holds a BA from Pomona College and an MA from Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar.
Ala Ahmad grew up in the food distribution business, making deliveries alongside her father who founded Jana Food Services, acquired by FoodMaven in 2020. She then went on to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from Texas Christian University before earning her Master’s at the University of Texas in Global Policy Studies. Ala brings five years of experience working in her family business to FoodMaven as the General Manager of FoodMaven Dallas-Fort Worth. She is very excited to be working with FoodMaven and returning to her roots of development in helping bridge the gap between food waste and consumers.
Jason leads the technology team at FoodMaven. He brings many years of software development, cloud computing and big data experience. Prior to FoodMaven he was the VP of Software Development for Oracle Data Cloud. He also has led technology teams at a few startups, including; Datalogix, Customer Science, Impower and Matchlogic. He received a BS in Finance from Oregon State University.
As the Human Resources Manager, Lori is responsible for aligning FoodMaven’s strategic business goals with employee and management needs. Prior to joining FoodMaven, Lori held Human Resources positions in the healthcare, manufacturing, publishing, and defense/aerospace industries. Growing up in a small Iowa farming community, Lori is passionate about seeing all food used with good purpose. Lori earned her BS in Human Resources Management from the University of Nebraska. She holds both the SHRM Senior Certified Professional as well as the HRCI Professional in Human Resources Certifications.
Lauren Baron currently serves as an Investment Manager for Walton Enterprises, LLC. Prior to this, she served as a Director at Perella Weinberg Partners for the Asset Management group. In this role, she was responsible for supporting the firm’s private clients by evaluating business and investment opportunities, as well as servicing various family office needs. While at Perella Weinberg Partners, she also served on the investment team, where she provided due diligence and portfolio management support for a variety of real estate, commodities, and natural resources strategies. Prior to joining Perella Weinberg Partners, she was a Research Analyst for Raymond James Financial’s Alternative Investments Group, a platform that serves the more sophisticated financial needs of high-net-worth investors from the firm’s Florida-based headquarters. In this capacity, she sourced and conducted due diligence on private equity, real estate, and hedge fund strategies for client portfolios. Previously, she interned as a research analyst covering venture capital and private equity investments at the state of Florida’s pension fund, the Florida State Board of Administration. Lauren also interned as an equity research analyst at Ft. Worth, Texas-based Luther King Capital Management. Early in her career, Lauren was a financial analyst at Harris Corporation, a defense contractor specializing in surveillance and communication technology, where she focused on government intelligence agency-funded projects. She graduated magna cum laude from Florida State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance. She has earned the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation.
Chris Onan is a co-founder and former COO/CFO at Galvanize where he raised over $85 million of capital to support Galvanize’s growth and expansion from a concept to eight campuses with locations including San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Denver, and Phoenix. He also led Galvanize’s fundraising efforts and manages Galvanize Venture Fund I, LP, which closed with $10 million of commitments and made over 60 investments. Prior to co-founding Galvanize, he was a partner with Appian Ventures where he worked with numerous companies, including Ping Identity, mPay Gateway and T3 Media. Earlier in his career, he had the privilege of working with Broadbus Technologies and Datalogix. He served on the board of directors of Spex and led the company through its recent sale / majority investment from J.S. Held. Onan also spent four years with LEK Consulting, an international strategy consulting boutique. He has a BA in Economics, Northwestern University.
Nancy is executive chair of the board of Flexential, a leading provider of data center solutions. The company currently serves more than 4,200 enterprise customers in 21 markets with 41 data centers and 13 cloud nodes. In addition, Nancy serves on the boards of the National Center for Women and Information Technology, where she is chair; Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network; National Cybersecurity Center and Startup Colorado. She has also been honored by the technology industry and her peers with numerous awards, including the Bob Newman Lifetime Achievement and Technology Business Woman of the Year awards, as well as the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) annual capital raise award.
With a long and varied entrepreneurial history in natural foods ranging from retailer to farmer to consultant, Walter Robb joined Whole Foods Market in 1991 and in 2010, was named co-CEO along with John Mackey at which time he joined the Whole Foods Market Board of Directors. In 2017, Robb transitioned his leadership focus to his role as Chairman of the Board for Whole Kids Foundation and Whole Cities Foundation. Robb also serves on the Board of Directors for Union Square Hospitality Group, The Container Store, FoodMaven and HeatGenie. Robb is an ardent organic advocate; he works his own organic garden and has served on the Board of Directors of the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Center for Education and Promotion. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 1976 and is a proud father and grandfather with two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren.
At the core of Albus Brooks’ identity is community development and servant leadership. Albus moved to Colorado in 1997 to study and play football for the University of Colorado. Sports Illustrated named him one of the Top 10 Hardest Hitters, and the NFL took interest in him before injuries ultimately ended his football career. Albus Brooks pursued his calling for community development by working with young people in Denver’s poor communities. He served as the Director of the Issachar Center for Urban Leadership, an organization that invests in Denver’s emerging leaders. In 2010 Albus worked to elect then-Mayor John Hickenlooper as Governor of Colorado, acting as the statewide Outreach and Political Director. This exposure to political leadership led him to seek public office, and in 2011 Albus defeated 38 opponents to become the youngest African American ever elected to Denver City Council. Serving two terms on Denver City Council, including two terms as Council President, Albus accomplished an ambitious range of progressive legislative victories with the goal of building a truly inclusive city. To address the affordability crisis, he co-created Denver’s first - and Colorado’s largest - affordable housing fund. To make Denver a more equitable place to grow up he funded and expanded the Denver Preschool Program, providing universal access to preschool for all 4-year-olds. He also decriminalized marijuana possession for those 18-21 years old, preventing thousands of young people from entering the criminal justice system. Albus Brooks received his M.B.A. from the University of Denver. He is now the Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for Milender White, a Development and Construction firm operating in Southern California and Colorado. Albus sits on multiple boards and commissions and has been a part of the following national and international fellowship programs: The Marshall Memorial Fellowship, the NewDEAL Leaders, and the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship. Although a rising global leader, it is in the heart of Denver where Albus feels most at home. He lives in the Cole neighborhood with his wife Debi and their three young children, Makai, Kenya and Kaya.
Lewis is a native upstate New Yorker who currently resides in California. He earned degrees at Cornell, UC Berkeley, and SFSU. He had two 20+ year careers, one as a Child and Family Therapist, the other as a Mathematics Educator. Currently he is developing music theory curricula. He is married to Mary Ford; their son Dan co-founded FoodMaven. Lewis has been on the board of directors since FoodMaven's inception.
Mr. Jason J. Buechel has been Chief Information Officer of Whole Foods Market, Inc. since January 2013 and has been its Executive Vice President since July 31, 2015 and served as its Global Vice President from January 2013 to July 31, 2015. Mr. Buechel has been Member of Advisory Board at HeatGenie, Inc since November 2017. Mr. Buechel has distinguished 12 year career at Accenture, where he served as a Senior Executive and Managing Director within the Retail Operations Practice. He was Partner at Accenture since 2009 and has worked with leading retailers in the strategic planning, delivery and operational management of IT and business capabilities. Mr. Buechel has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is an avid runner, adventure race competitor and traveler.
Mr. Camacho is currently the Director of the Innovation Centre for GlaxoSmithKline, a global healthcare company, where he leads GSK’s evaluation, development and validation of new solutions for the company’s product pipeline. Prior to joining GSK, Juan co-founded Orchestra Works, a media and technology company to inspire, guide, and build compelling and imaginative entertainment properties across digital and linear platforms to bring the family together partnering with companies such as Walmart, Coca-Cola, Unilever, and NBC Universal. Previous to Orchestra Works, Juan spent over a decade at Walmart holding several key leadership positions, most recently helping launch the Global eCommerce business unit, which oversees Walmart’s digital operations around the world. Previously, he spearheaded strategy and business development for Walmart International where he is credited with transforming the company’s business in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Mr. Camacho holds a B.A. from Stanford University.
Mr. Green was until recently the General Counsel for Grimmway Farms. During his 28 years with the company, Grimmway grew to be the largest grower, producer and shipper of carrots in the world. Prior to his time at Grimmway, Mr. Green was a Deputy in the Kern County District Attorney's office. Mr. Green currently serves an Adjunct Professor at California State University Bakersfield in their Agribusiness Law and Legal Environment of Business Department. He also serves and has served on various professional and philanthropic boards and organizations in the Bakersfield area, including the Bakersfield Homeless Center and Alliance Against Family Violence. Green has a BA from San Diego State University, a JD from the University of San Diego and an MBA from California State University at Bakersfield, where he was the 2006 Alumnus of the Year and has been inducted into the CSUB Hall of Fame.
Chef Brother Luck has been working in professional kitchens since the age of 14. During high school, he was awarded multiple culinary scholarships through competition cooking organizations such as C-CAP and The Art Institutes (Best Teen Chef 2001). After culinary school, Chef Luck continued to work in many fine dining kitchens around the world including Takitei and Kinjhoro Ryokans, located in Kanazawa, Japan. His latest restaurants, Four by Brother Luck and Lucky Dumpling, are based in FoodMaven’s hometown of Colorado Springs where he has received numerous accolades including “Most Cutting Edge Restaurant” and “Best Local Chef” by The Gazette and Colorado Springs Independent. Previously, Chef Luck has competed on season 16 of Bravo’s Top Chef, was a finalist on Food Network’s Chopped, and won his episode of Beat Bobby Flay where he won the judges over with his love of pork. Chef Luck is a graduate of The Art Institute of Phoenix.
Tim Ma is a critically-acclaimed chef and food & beverage consultant. Growing up in a family of restauranteurs, Tim's family pushed him towards an engineering career as he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Masters of Science from Johns Hopkins University. After a successful 12-year engineering career, Tim decided to pursue his passion for cooking and left it all behind - selling everything he owned and moving to New York City - to attend the French Culinary Institute, now the International Culinary Center. Following an externship at a 2-Michelin Star Momofuku Ko and cooking at the highly regarded Momofuku Ssam, Tim moved to St. Thomas, USVI to cook and formulate the plan for what would be his first restaurant. In 2009, Tim - along with help from family and friends - purchased a restaurant found on Craigslist with his last remaining credit card, remodeled it with his bare hands, and opened Maple Ave Restaurant on August 15, 2009. After a critical opening year as a first-time restaurant owner, Maple Ave went on to win the hearts of customer and critics alike. Fast forward to 2013, Tim opened his second restaurant, Water & Wall, to rave reviews and Maple Ave was ranked the #1 restaurant in Northern Virginia. Always on the lookout for a sandwich, Chase the Submarine - Tim's dream vision for a craft sandwich shop - was brought to life in November 2015. March 2016 saw the opening of Tim's first DC restaurant, Kyirisan, which offered creative Chinese-French cooking in a modern, home-like setting, winning awards such as Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand, and an annual recurring spot in Washington Post’s Best Restaurants Dining Guide. In September 2018, Chef Ma opened American Son, a restaurant located in Eaton DC which reimagines modern-day American cuisine and epitomizes what it genuinely is: a melting pot of diverse immigrant stories. Eaton DC is the first and flagship hotel under Eaton Workshop, a global purpose-driven company from founder Katherine Lo, at the intersection of culture, content, hospitality, wellness, and progressive social change. Lo hand-selected Chef Ma to bring to life her vision of offering new dining experiences that have a genuine point of view; and together, they are introducing a new culinary offering in Downtown D.C. that celebrates and explores what it means to be American today.