Vice President of Sales
With over 25 years of experience, Rody Oueis is one of the most knowledgeable, and well connected individuals in the natural and specialty food industry. From his earliest days working for a direct store delivery manufacturer, making bi-weekly treks from Eugene to call on and deliver to Seattle area independents and chains, to his most recent position with United Natural Foods where he consistently increased sales by upwards of 25%. Rody has made invaluable connections, many of which he is proud to call friends today. When Rody is not on the road or in a store reset, you can find him on the golf course or with his two amazing children at the pool.
As VP of Sales, Rody currently oversees coverage of all territories with a focus on the Southern Washington, Northern Oregon and Alaska areas.
Vice President of Marketing
David Victor started out his professional career with 10 years of management experience in the hospitality industry in Northern California. He then returned to college in the late 80’s and graduated University of Oregon with a Psychology major and was a clinical therapist for 15 years with Lane County Mental Health. David then began his career in the Natural Food Industry working for Advantage Sales and Marketing, calling on many key accounts in Oregon. David has come full circle with his career, he uses his skill set of understanding the Natural Food Industry, along with effective management skills, understanding human behavior, and problem solving skills, to create win-win situations for the people he works with. David took note of exactly what works well and how to build lasting relationships in the industry. He is compassionate, understands the needs of small businesses, and is able to effectively advocate for the vendors and retailers he works with on a daily basis. David, his wife Tracy, and their son Aiden, enjoy the many wonders of the outdoors in Southern Oregon such as hiking, bicycling, and golfing. You can often find them in the kitchen cooking great meals together.
David calls on all of our Southern Oregon retailers from co-ops to chains. David is also tasked with managing marketing and promotions with distributors, and coordinating industry trade shows.
Madeleine Morrow comes from a varied background including retail grocery, administrative, management, a decade in the computer industry as a certified Apple tech, and running her own business. She has a passion for food, from seed to table, with a focus on natural and organic products.
When Madeleine is not working, you can find her with her family in the garden, cooking something delicious, or volunteering at a local non-profit. She also enjoys painting, playing guitar, and singing bad karaoke.
Madeleine manages operations, data systems, and the back office team.
CFO & Director of Human Resources
Chris began his career in the Accounting & Finance profession following twelve years as a District Manager with Honey Baked Ham in Chicago. After relocating to Oregon in 2000, Chris served as a Controller for Aramark for 8 years. During his Aramark tenure, Chris earned the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Certified Financial Manager (CFM) certifications through the Institute of Management Accountants.
Always on a quest for continued self-improvement, Chris joined the University of Oregon as a Financial Manager while earning a Master of Public Administration degree. Soon following graduation, Chris began teaching and concurrently teaches Accounting and other business courses at Linn-Benton Community College and at Oregon State University. Chris is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and holds the Senior Career Professional (SHRM-SCP) certification.
Chris joined Grass Roots with a simple desire to be of service in a dynamic enterprise with tremendous growth potential. When he’s not “counting beans,” the former Marine can be found riding his bike on the gravel roads of the McDonald Forest near his home in Albany. Chris enjoys long walks most evenings with his wife Teresa and loves keeping up with his two grown children.
Americana Aulenbacher joins the Grass Roots team with her entrepreneurial spirit, business expertise and more than a decade of upper management experience. Americana started her career as a retail manager. At Target, she trained new employees and helped create the training manual for the introduction of produce. She managed, supervised and trained all regional, division and store managers on the new processes.
After graduating from CSU Sacramento in Business Marketing and International Business, Americana found her true passion in the health and supplements industry. Starting as Marketing & Operations Coordinator for a homeopathic medicine company she was soon promoted to General Manager, overseeing all operations and personally heading the finance, sales and marketing teams, providing market intelligence, identifying new opportunities and developing key relationships. Throughout her professional career, she has developed strengths in sales, communications, strategic-planning, team-building and compassionate leadership. Americana also serves as the Vice President on the board of a nonprofit offering services to people with special needs in the Eugene area.
When not busy networking or managing business operations Americana enjoys mountaineering, fly-fishing with her fiancé and long backpacking trips. She believes in the benefits of a healthy and active life for herself and others, which is one of the reasons she is so passionate about both her work and playtime.
Retail Sales Manager, Western Washington
Debbie Willcut has been in the food industry for over 20 years and has worked for both Food Brokers and Manufacturers. Debbie brings to Grass Roots Marketing extensive knowledge and has developed many long lasting relationships on all sides of the industry. Debbie lives in the Seattle area and will cover Western Washington. In her free time, Debbie enjoys attending all Seahawk home games, boating, travel, cooking, reading and working in her garden.
Retail Sales Specialist - HABA
Jesse Syverson, originally from Anchorage Alaska, comes to Grass Roots Marketing with 15 years of well-rounded experience & passion in the natural food industry. He is an established road warrior and has successfully sold products into hundreds of health food stores around the country.
He started at a small Co-op in Western N. Carolina as a receiver/buyer and then started representing a few manufactures in the SE region. He moved to the PNW in 2004 and started his own HABA/Supplement natural products brokerage. He closed the doors of his company in 2008, to work for a speed to market broker “IOCO” where he held a Western Regional Account Manager position for many successful innovative brands like Alter Eco, and Orgain.
After years of extensive time on the road he moved to Boulder, CO in 2012 in search of a deeper experience in the Natural Food Industry where he discovered and started working for a Master Broker, “Organic Food Brokers” and managed the western broker network for their principal brands for 2 years.
Moving along he most recently worked for a few manufactures directly as their Sales Manager/VP of Sales and finds himself back in the PNW to be close to his family and friends.
When Jesse isn’t working or making friends somewhere you can likely find him hanging out in the wilderness, spending time with family, the dogs, and preparing for his next concert at Red Rocks.
Retail Sales Specialist, Willamette Valley
Carson O'Brien grew up running, swimming, biking and camping in the Willamette Valley. Throughout his life, Carson has always been a part of a team. In high school he balanced school and work at a local grocery store while also participating in 3 varsity sports. Again, in college, Carson managed to balance academics, work and sports. He was a part of the track and field team at Western Oregon University where he received many honors. In 2012, he graduated with his bachelors degree in social sciences.
Carson continues to display excellent work ethic and has brought great value to the local businesses that he has worked for since graduating. Now, he brings over 5 years of experience in sales and account management to the Grass Roots Marketing team.
In his free time, Carson can be found with his wife, son and German Shepherd. They enjoy walking, hiking, and playing.
Retail Sales Specialist – E.Washington/N.Idaho/Montana
Janice comes to GRM after working the past 10 years for a national broker. Her skills are in conventional grocery, natural grocery, HABA, and sales. Janice knows the value of making friends in the industry and she prides herself in doing what is best for the retailers, while keeping her clients happy also.
When Janice isn’t working you can find her at many different sporting events but her favorite is Gonzaga basketball. She also likes going to concerts, going on cruises, and spending time with her adult son and his best friend’s daughter.
Retail Sales Merchandiser - Portland Metro
Splitting his early years between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest, Brent started out working in a conventional grocery environment where he excelled in customer service. He quickly advanced to become a member of the management team where he was actively involved with all areas of the store. He later progressed to the warehouse and distribution side of the industry.
Brent now lives in the Portland area where he raised his four children, and after recently becoming a grandfather, he looks forward to taking them camping and hiking and teaching them about nature and sustainability.
HABA Specialist – Oregon
Michelle Dee has been in the natural food industry for nearly 3 decades. She began her career in retail and quickly moved up to a buying position at a small bulk herbs and supplements store in Southern Oregon. At that time she also taught herbal tincture and salve making classes. She went on to expand her skills to head manager of a pharmacy where she focused on expanding the stores natural supplement section which consistently raised yearly profits. Michelle would often meet with distributors and reps and decided that was a career she wanted to pursue. Since that time she has racked up over 10 years of brand management in HABA and repping experience in the natural food industry. Michelle deeply values the many relationships she has made over the years and looks forward to new experiences in the field.
When she is not at work she is enjoying life in the country with her partner and their 4 Dachshunds. She loves hockey and at least once a year you will find them at a New York Rangers game.
Key Accounts Manager
Elizabeth has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and operations. She has worked in a variety of industries including entertainment, non-profit, financial, marketing, and personal care products.
After graduating from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Management, she first made a living producing live events then moving then to managing financial conferences for Dow Jones. Over time, she applied her core skill set to the HABA world taking on additional roles in sales, marketing and operations. Most recently she was the Marketing and Distribution Manager for the US arm of Hevert Pharmaceuticals, a manufacturer of natural medicines based in Germany.
Elizabeth has a passion for natural products that is fueled by her own quest for health. After suffering with chronic eczema, she discovered that this was linked to multiple chemical sensitives/allergies to ingredients commonly used in both prepared foods and personal care items. She became an avid label reader and a proponent for clean ingredients in both food and personal care products.
Originally from Chicago, she has lived in a variety of US cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. She stopped in Oregon on a road trip in 2001, fell in love with the scenery and decided to call it home. Elizabeth loves learning and her passions include studying language, music, theater, movies, travel, and cooking. In her spare time Elizabeth enjoys impromptu gatherings with family and friends, hiking with her dogs, attending live events and volunteering with animal welfare organizations.
Retail Sales Merchandiser
Mike McCabe brings 22 years of industry experience into his role with us at GRM. His path started with City Market in 1998 when he moved from his home state of California to Colorado. After moving to Spokane in 1999, Mike would spend the next 18 years working for a locally owned and operated grocery store. His time there allowed him to tackle everything from freight crew, to natural foods manager, all the way through to 3rd manager of store operations.
In 2018, an opportunity for Mike to try his hand at retail sales arose; he is very glad he chose to take on this new adventure. A career in retail sales allows Mike to excel in the areas he deems important; great customer service, building strong relationships, honesty, and going above and beyond to meet the needs of his clients.
Mike and his wife Dawn have been married for 17 years. Over time they have built a family of 2 children, Jacob and Grace, and 3 dogs: Riley, Luna and Gus. Mike is an advocate for fun. He is an avid sports fan whose teams include Angels baseball, 49ers football and of course Gonzaga Basketball. He thrives in the Spring, Summer and Fall when he can fish, camp, hike and just enjoy the outdoors in general.
Haba Specialist - Washington
Lyra Reese joins the Grass Roots Marketing team, following 14 years of experience in grocery retail. She spent twelve of those years dedicated to the growth and expansion of the natural and organic sales as a department manager. Prior to grocery retail, Lyra attended Spokane Falls Community College where she gained her education in Exercise Science and Physiology. During her second year of college, her passion and knowledge of fitness led her into personal training. Lyra’s experience in fitness that merged with her role in grocery retail, soon sparked her interest in a higher understanding of health and wellness. She continued to take nutrition-based courses at SFCC and used her education to better serve her community, along with giving her a hand up in her management position.
Lyra has a strong belief in using food as medicine. Her core values have always circulated around a healthy well-being. Whether it be in health and nutrition, physical fitness or interacting with people; she is always striving to curate a positive connection.
Born and raised in Eastern Washington, Lyra has spent all thirty-three years in Spokane, WA. She has always been fond of the west coast
In her free time, Lyra enjoys spending time with her friends and family, cooking, modeling, hitting the gym or the trails for a run and is always up for any outdoor sport or activity. Turn on some good music that she can dance with and you will see her in her truest element.
Sales Support Specialist
Ashlee Sprugel joined the Grass Roots team after a decade in the fitness field as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. She spent much of her time focusing on yoga.
Ashlee has long held a passion for health and wellness and is excited to develop an understanding of the food industry. In her spare time she likes cooking from scratch, attempting to find her green thumb by growing things, doing as many of the arts and crafts as she can get her hands on supplies for, and refinishing furniture to put in her booth she shares with her significant other at a local vintage shop. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Wa.