Leadership

Vision is beautiful

Bellisio runs on inspired vision. Our long-standing commitment to excellence and innovation, guided by dedicated and motivated leaders, keeps us looking forward. And our team keeps us moving in the right direction.

Our Leadership Team

JOEL CONNER, Senior Advisor

Mr. Conner has been involved with Bellisio Foods since Michelina’s was created, and his tenure and contributions make him an invaluable leader to our team. Today, as Senior Advisor, he leads the Company’s day-to-day management and focuses on developing and overseeing strategic growth objectives and charitable giving. Mr. Conner has also helped lead consumer marketing and international sales and has led efforts in building sales in the alternative retail channel.

A consummate businessman, Mr. Conner has been involved in many successful startup and turnaround companies, both public and private, and has served on the boards of organizations in banking, real estate, restaurant management, professional sports, and manufacturing. Mr. Conner has also served as Chairman of the Board of Regis Corporation. a $20 Billion NYSE Company, and the world's largest operator and franchiser of hair care salons with 13,000 salons and 60,000 employees worldwide. Additionally, Mr. Conner served on the Board of Directors of Provalliance, Inc., Europe's largest haircare company based in Paris, France.

Mr. Conner earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The Cornell University School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration in Ithaca, New York. He has a Doctor of Law-Honorabilia from Flagler College and has served as a lecturer and faculty assistant at the graduate and postgraduate level of five colleges and universities, including Cornell. Mr. Conner is also active in numerous civic and non-profit organizations, including: Enactus, Flagler College, Children’s Heartlink, and the Alan Page Education Foundation.

STEVEN YOUNG, Chief Executive Officer

Steve Young joined Bellisio Foods in 2021 in the company’s top leadership role. He is a globally experienced consumer products leader with demonstrated expertise in the foods industry.  Most recently, Steve was the Managing Partner for Sunrise Strategic Partners, a venture growth company for emerging CPG brands. Acting in the role of CEO for portfolio companies,  Steve led rapid growth and capitalization of emerging brands.  He built his career with General Mills, earning progressively responsible marketing and general management roles,  including Chief Marketing Officer for Cereal Partnership Worldwide, a joint venture with Nestle/General Mills in Switzerland, and Business Unit Director for Yoplait USA. He then led the successful integration of Annie’s, doubling the business in less than 3 years. Motivated by  “people first” business cultures, Steve is a graduate of the University of Montana and earned his MBA at UCLA.  He is an avid runner and bicycling enthusiast. 

JEFF TUTTLE, Senior Vice President – Chief Customer and New Business Officer

Jeff Tuttle joined Bellisio Foods in 2006 and is responsible for sales management and the company’s strategic growth initiatives and partnerships. He has over 30 years executive general management and marketing experience in the consumer products industry, working with Fortune 100 companies, as well as smaller companies.  He has led co-manufacturing businesses, launched several brands, and integrated acquisitions during his tenure with the company. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado College and earned an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  He enjoys a wide variety of music, being gifted as both composer and performer.

JOHN PLASO, Senior Vice President - Chief Marketing Officer

John Plaso joined Bellisio Foods in 2017 as brings a wealth of expertise and experience in the frozen foods industry.  Most recently, John was Vice President/General Manager with ConAgra Foods - Value Meals and Protein Portfolio. He was responsible for a $1.3 billion business, supporting Banquet, Hebrew National, Odon’s Tennessee Pride, and Kid Cuisine brands.  John has built his career in classic Consumer Packaged Goods, with rapid progression through sales, marketing and management with Nestle and ConAgra Foods. Beginning his career in plant production, John moved into sales, sales management and trade promotions with Nestle, most notably working on the Stouffer’s and Ortega brands.  Recruited then to ConAgra, John managed and integrated acquisitions, including Bertolli, PF Chang, and Marie Calendar’s Pies.  He also led new product development, third party relationships, and successfully developed and led teams. A graduate of Akron University and an MBA recipient from Kent State University, John has an entrepreneurial spirit, personally owning and managing several dry-cleaning outlets.  He combines large company experience with the scrappy nimbleness of small business. 

MARGOT MCMANUS, Senior Vice President - Chief People Officer

Margot McManus has an innate talent for bringing personalities together and creating a successful growth culture. Her infectious laugh has been a part of the Bellisio family since December 2012.  Margot has over 30 years of experience in human resources and training, half of which have been in the food industry. Experienced in mergers/acquisitions/divestitures, Ms. McManus has created HR functions in distribution, technology, and hospitality industries. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and History from the University of Wisconsin. Active in the community, Margotenjoys serving on the board of the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery and is a member of the Women’s Leadership Council and TeamWomen.

ANDREW SALISBURY, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Bellisio Foods Canada

Andrew Salisbury actively oversees our Canadian sales, marketing, finance, and operations support organization . He has over 25 years of experience in consumer packaged goods sales, as well as marketing and general management in food-related industries. Most recently, Andrew was Vice President – General Manager of Pinnacle Foods Canada and also held brand management roles at Hershey Canada and Nestle Canada.  He is a guest lecturer at various Canadian universities and enjoys playing a variety of sports, including golf, volleyball, and hockey.  Andrew holds a Honors Bachelor degree in Business Administration from Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University.

MIKE EVANS, Senior Vice President- Jackson Operations

Mike Evans oversees the Company’s largest manufacturing plant which is located in the town of Jackson in southeastern Ohio.  A facility spanning 16 football fields, the Jackson plant produces over 2 million meals a day and employs over 1,200 people. Mike’s responsibilities include supply chain, manufacturing, and warehousing. Prior to joining Bellisio Foods in 1994, he worked at Pillsbury and Campbell Soup in business unit management and manufacturing roles. A graduate of Morehead State University, Mike went on to earn his MBA at the University of Toledo.  A football coach and avid runner, he also volunteers his time to youth sports.

MIKE GERBER, Vice President- R&D and Quality

Mike Gerber leads the Research & Development and Quality Assurance for the organization.  An engineer by education, Mike began his career with EcoLabs international management training program and spread his wings into food development and manufacturing at the Schwan’s Company and later at Jack Link’s.  R&D creative innovation and a culture of Food Safety Quality are hallmarks of  Mike’s leadership.  A Division 1 swimmer and graduate of the University of Minnesota, Mike earned his MBA from St. Thomas University.  He coaches youth hockey and football.