|1988 Cornell University , BS , Agricultural Economics|
|1993 Vanderbilt University , MBA , MBA in Finance, Marketing & Operations|
Smoke is an accomplished leader and successful entrepreneur in the beverage & technology industries. He has spent the last 20 years leading or advising many of the leading brand owners and distributors on their "go-to-market" strategies, market execution plans and capital raising/investments. Smoke has raised $100s of millions publically and privately, made 19 acquisitions or sales/divestitures and started 8 companies.
Current and Past Boards and Leadership
Serial Entrepreneur and Beverage Industry Innovator.
Smoke has a strong track record of taking ideas from initial concept through the business development process, rewarding clients with clear and concise strategic goals and deliverables. In 1991, he created Cameron Springs Company, which later became the leading bottled water brand in its markets in the Midwest, and eventually sold to Nestle in 2000. Smoke also founded eSkye.com in 1999. eSkye developed and deployed technology for the global beverage industry and currently is the leader in connecting brand owners to key national accounts, led by their initial success with Wal-Mart. He set up offices in Madrid, London, Bangalore and Oslo. Smoke acquired 6 other software companies under eSkye and sold the global winery software division to publicly traded Constellation Software in 2007.
In 2005, he founded WITS, the Wine Industry Technology Symposium. In 1997, Smoke backed financially and operationally, the creation of United States Beverage USB- which over time, imported and marketed over 12 million cases of key beer brands in the US. In 1997, Smoke created NWS Michigan, which captured 60% of the State of Michigan's liquor business and now ships over $400 million of spirits and wine. He founded Endeavor Corporation, which became a leading boutique consultancy in Category Management for the beverage industry. In 2006, Smoke founded Taliera Holdings, a company set-up to acquire and build beverage brands. Taliera acquired Red Eye Brand in 2008 and has re-branded it and launched it in multiple markets across the US. In 2008, Smoke Co-Founded Wine 2.0 the innovator in social networking and events in the wine industry with a focus on the next generation wine consumer.
Vision, Impact & Industry Leader
In 1988, NWS was a $150 million single state wine & spirits distributor. Smoke led the strategic thinking and execution at NWS, which created a $1 billion plus multi-state wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverage distributor. Smoke created the Council for Leadership Development with some fellow up-and-coming leaders of WSWA to foster leadership for the long term. In addition to his extensive board activity, Smoke is a frequent public speaker and advisor on strategic, market, financial and legislative issues of the beverage alcohol industry and entrepreneurship. His clients or business partners have included: Anheuser-Busch, Credit Suisse, Diageo, Heineken, Pernod Ricard, Allied Domecq, Bass Brewers, Grolsch, Fortune Brands, Seagram, Sierra Nevada, Pete's Brewing, Stroh's, Foster's, US Tobacco, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Trinchero Family Estates as well as 100s of other winery clients from North America to New Zealand. In addition, Smoke has advised investment banks, Credit Suisse, Dematteo Moness and others and many hedge/investment funds on their global beverage investment strategies. Smoke is the recipient of numerous awards and honors in leadership and community service and is an active member of YPO. He is an Eagle Scout and serves as a frequent parent leader in the Crossroads of America council.