Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Oral History Project

 
 
About the Project
Interview Transcripts
Resources

Interview Transcripts

Video still of Jeff Baus

Jeff Baus
Partner, Price Waterhouse
Following his graduation from UCLA in 1959, Jeff Baus served with the US Navy on the USS Ranger CVA 61 aircraft carrier until 1961.  He then went to work for Price Waterhouse, where he became a partner in 1974. In 1980, Baus became the Price Waterhouse partner responsible for auditing of the Dreyer’s Grand financial statements from 1980 to 1990. Baus retired from Price Waterhouse in 1995
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Jan Booth
Vice-President, Marketing
Jan Booth graduated from the Vanderbilt University of Kansas in 1972. She went on to Harvard Business School, where she was one of nine women in a class of ninety, graduating as a Baker Scholar in 1978.  Booth was recruited by Dreyer’s in 1980, where she helped shape the strategic plan for brand and geographic expansion through the Dreyer’s transition to a publicly-held company, until her departure from the company in 1988.  In her interview, Booth discusses the cultural shift around women’s roles in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, the leadership dynamics at Dreyer’s Grand, and product development.

Video Still of Bill Collett

Bill Collett
Treasurer
Bill Collett graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1972. After receiving his MBA in finance from the University of Minnesota, Collett worked in the San Francisco finance industry through the 1980s, gaining both transaction and treasury experience.  In 1987, Dreyer’s hired Collett as its first treasurer.  In the interview, Collett describes his twenty years at Dreyer’s, including acquisitions and geographic expansion, factory building and campus expansion on College Avenue, and the power of Grooves and Hoopla to corporate and community culture.

Video Still of Sherrie Cornett

Sherrie Cornett
People Support, The Grooves
In 1988, Sherrie Cornett began working for Dreyer’s in Seattle as it expanded into the Northwest market, working on schematics, category management, and market expansion.  In 1995, she took on the task implementing the Grooves training program in the Northwest.  Cornett moved to the corporate campus in Oakland in 1998, where she worked in People Support. In her interview, Cornett discusses in great detail the tenets of the Grooves, as well as the challenges and strengths of putting Grooves philosophy into practice.

Photo of Janet Cronk

Janet Cronk
Wife of Rick Cronk
Janet Cronk was born in Palo Alto, California. She grew up on the San Francisco Peninsula and received her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Social Sciences from the University of California at Berkeley in 1969. A committed supporter of Cal for many years, Janet has made a significant impact on the campus through gifts of both time and resources. She has been a trustee of the University of California Foundation, chair of the Friends of Cal Band Fund and member of the Letters and Sciences Executive Board. She received the Trustee’s Citation in 1997 and the Wheeler Oak Meritorious award in 2002. Janet has been married to W. F. (Rick) Cronk for 46 years and is the mother of three Eagle Scouts (Jeff, Chris & Rob).

Photo of Rick Cronk

Rick Cronk
Co-owner
W.F. “Rick” Cronk and his business partner, Gary Rogers, purchased Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream in 1977. At that time, Dreyer’s operated exclusively in the San Francisco Bay Area and had annual sales of $6 million. At the time of his recent retirement, Dreyer’s was the nation’s largest manufacturer and distributor of premium and super-premium ice cream brands with annual revenues that exceeded $2 billion. Cronk received his Bachelor of Science in 1965 from the UC Berkeley School of Business Administration (now the Haas School of Business). He then participated in the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1983. Active with many civic and business organizations, Cronk dedicates much of his free time to World Scouting and the Boy Scouts of America, as well as focusing continued attention on improving California’s K-12 public school education system.

Photo of Jo DeJean

Jo DeJean
Personal Assistant to Gary Rogers
Jo DeJean came to Dreyer’s in 1988 as Personal Assistant to Gary Rogers. In addition to supporting Rogers’ personal organization and work at Dreyer’s, DeJean worked on the Grooves Taskforce as well as other Grooves-related projects.  She has continued to work as Rogers’ personal assistant following his departure from Dreyer’s.

         

Video Still of Tom Delaplane

Tom Delaplane
Vice-President, Sales
Tom Delaplane joined Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream in 1983. In 1986, he became Vice President of Sales and Distribution and led the expansion of Dreyer’s into the Midwest and Eastern United States.  Delaplane was promoted to Executive Vice President of Sales and Distribution nation-wide in 1991. During his twenty-three years with Dreyer’s, he played a critical role in the expansion of the brand, perhaps most importantly in building the national direct store delivery (DSD) system central to Dreyer’s success.  He was also one of the two lead negotiators involved in the merger between Dreyer’s and Nestlé S.A. After leaving Dreyer’s in 2006, Delaplane co-founded The Boardwalk Group, LLC for which he serves as chairman.

 

Stan Fabian
Senior Vice-President, Sales
Stan Fabian came to Dreyer’s with extensive experience in sales and distribution, having worked for two decades in the consumer packaged goods industry, first with Alleghany Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company and then for Coca-Cola Enterprises. He joined Dreyer’s in 1991 as the Division Manager for the Northeast, where he was responsible for sales and distribution through eleven markets, including playing a key role in positioning Dreyer’s (as Edy’s brand) in the New York market. Fabian became the Senior Vice President for Sales and Distribution – Eastern Division in 2004, as well as a member of Dreyer’s Leadership Team. He was also the lead “Grooves” trainer for four years. In 2008, he took over as CEO of Ciao Bella Gelato, Inc.

Photo of Mary Gochnauer

Mary Wold Gochnauer
Manager, Retirement Programs, Employee Benefits & Services, and Corporate Administration
Mary Wold Gochnauer joined Dreyer’s in 1982, where she worked on a variety of key projects, including creating guidelines and best practices for managers, designing the employee pension and savings plan, and coordinating and planning “Dreyer’s University” from its inception. Within these varied activities, her central focus was the development, refinement, and expansion of Dreyer’s unique work culture as the company went through massive growth – including the company policy to not have a Human Resources Department. In her over two decades at Dreyer’s, Gochnauer took responsibility for many of the issues typically handled by Human Resources, such as employee training, workman’s compensation, EEO regulation compliance, health and benefits, while avoiding the bureaucratic infrastructure and slowdowns that typically accompany those necessary corporate tasks.

         
Photo of John Harrison

John Harrison
Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Official Taster
John Harrison came from a multigenerational family of dairy farmers. Harrison studied chemistry and food science at Memphis State University before going to work for his father’s dairy company. In 1982, Dreyer’s hired Harrison to develop new flavors to augment their fifteen flavors at that time. During his years with Dreyer’s he developed seventy-five new flavors that went to market, including cookies and cream. Harrison became so central to Dreyer’s flavor development that his taste buds were insured for one million dollars. After thirty years with Dreyer’s, Harrison retired in 2010.

Video Still of Rae Hunter

Rae Hunter [in process]
Personal Assistant to Rick Cronk
Rae Hunter joined Dreyer’s in 1992 to support Rick Cronk with administrative work including the “Hoopla” awards for the Grooves program, and other Dreyer’s initiatives. She continues to work for Cronk in his retirement, as he serves on the board of several organizations, including the John Muir Health Foundation board and the Boy Scouts of America National Executive board.

Video Still of Tyler Johnston

Tyler Johnston
Executive Vice-President, Marketing
J. Tyler Johnston graduated from the University of California, Berkeley prior to receiving his MBA from the Kellog School of Management at Northwestern University.  After working in brand management and business development at Kraft, Inc. and General Mills, Inc., Johnston joined the Dreyer’s leadership team. In his twenty years at the company, he led brand development of many flagship brands, including Dreyer’s, Edy’s, Häagen-Dazs, Drumstick, Dibs, Skinny Cow and Nestlé.

Video Still of Diane Mc

Diane McIntyre
Public Relations
Diane McIntyre graduated from the College of Notre Dame in 1968. After working for the Mayor of Sacramento and Security National Bank, McIntyre was hired by Dreyer’s in 1982 to work in consumer relations. She worked in that field for twenty-nine years before moving into Brand Communications under Nestlé in 2011. In the interview, McIntyre recounts establishing a customer relations department, improving mechanisms for customer feedback, developing publicity campaigns, “Flavorology,” and forming of the Dreyer’s Foundation.

Dave Mutzel
Dave Mutzel was born in Camden, New Jersey and is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin. He worked for Gary Rogers and Rick Cronk at several of their restaurants from 1974 until 1977. Shortly after Rogers and Cronk purchased Dreyer’s in 1977, Mutzel joined the company as a distributor. He was business partners with Rogers and Cronk in MKD Distributing, based out of Seattle, which helped pave the way for Dreyer’s Direct Store Delivery system. He became part of Dreyer’s executive team as the sales manager in 1982, and worked in this role until 2005. In his interview, Mutzel discusses helping Rogers and Cronk build their restaurant business,  laying the groundwork for the Grooves, conducting market research for Dreyer’s,  beginning his own distribution and manufacturing companies, his business partnership with Rogers and Cronk, Direct Store Delivery, and changes in cultural and personnel after Dreyer’s was sold to Nestle.

Video still of Bob Nealis

Bob Nealis
Vintage House Restaurant, Director of International Sales in 2006
Bob Nealis came to Dreyer’s in 1980 as the Assistant to the Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, who at the time was Rick Cronk.  Prior to this, Nealis had worked with Cronk and Rogers in their joint restaurant venture.  Nealis supported Cronk’s work at Dreyer’s, including the introduction of Mud Pie and preparing and analyzing sales tracking reports. In 1982, Nealis’s work shifted to Sale and Marketing, primarily developing relationships with partner brands for which Dreyer’s managed distribution and limited sales.  He also increasingly took responsibility for Dreyer’s small but emerging international business.  After a twenty-six year career at Dreyer’s, Nealis retired as the Director of International Sales in 2006.

Video still of Bill Oldenburg

Bill Oldenburg
Executive Vice-President of Operations
Bill Oldenburg graduated from the University of Washington in Communications in 1964. After a short stint in the reserves, Oldenburg graduated from Stanford Business School in 1971. He then spent fifteen years at Levi Strauss and Company, where he was a Vice President and General Manager. In 1985, Oldenburg was recruited to be the Vice President of Manufacturing, working closely with John Thomason.  After leading the operations integration of Nestlé and Dreyer’s, as well as over-seeing the manufacturing of all of Dreyer’s products, and Nestlé and Häagen-Dazs branded products, Oldenburg retired in 2006 as Executive Vice President of Operations.

Video still of Rhonda Ramlo

Rhonda Ramlo
Vice-President, Marketing and DSD
Rhonda Ramlo graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in economics before getting her MBA from Harvard Business School. She then took a position at Oakland-based Clorox in marketing and branding. Ramlo joined Dreyer’s in 1994, where, over the next decade, she helped to expand Dreyer’s across the nation as well as taking a leading role in DSD expansion and partnerships.

Video stlll of Dave Ritterbush

Dave Ritterbush
Vice-President, Marketing
David Ritterbush graduated from San Diego State University in 1990. In 1991, he was hired by Dreyer’s as the Regional Marketing Manager – West, Southwest Division. Over the following sixteen years, Ritterbush was promoted to the Senior Vice President of Marketing – Packaged Products. While at Dreyer’s, Ritterbush played a central role in several key products; these include the national introduction of Dreamery, Dreyer’s new premium brand in 1999, the management of the Super Premium portfolio (including Dreamery, Godiva, and Whole Fruit), and the integration of the Häagen-Dazs brand into Dreyer’s portfolio.

Video still of Brian Rogers

Brian Rogers
Executive Director, Rogers Family Foundation
Brian Rogers, the son of Gary and Cab Rogers, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and is currently the Executive Director of the Rogers Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization committed to improving student outcomes and creating educational systematic change in Oakland, California. Under Brian’s leadership, the Rogers Family Foundation has been the philanthropic leader of educational reform in the city of Oakland by helping to establish organizations such as the Oakland Educational Funders, the Oakland Charter Collaborative, the Oakland Literacy Coalition, and Great Oakland Public School Leadership center.

 

Cab Rogers [Available in The Bancroft Library]
Wife of Gary Rogers
Cab Rogers grew up in Hillsborough, California and attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied history. While in college, she met and married Gary Rogers. Gary Rogers served two years in artillery before the couple moved to Boston where Cab taught high school history while Gary attended the Harvard Business School. In this interview, Cab Rogers recounts her family’s early years of working long hours and raising small children, Vintage House restaurants, purchasing Dreyer’s, and the relationship between family life and Dreyer’s.

Photo of Gary Rogers

Gary Rogers
Co-owner
T. Gary Rogers was born and raised in California and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1964. After serving in the military for two years, Rogers attended Harvard Business School, where he graduated in 1968 as a Baker Scholar. Rogers then took a position with McKinsey & Company in San Francisco. In 1972, William “Rick” Cronk asked Rogers to partner with him on a restaurant venture called Vintage House. The restaurant chain failed, but Cronk and Rogers went on to purchase Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream in 1977 for $1,000,000. The business was sold to Nestlé in 2003 for $3.2 billion. In addition to overseeing the massive growth of Dreyer’s from a small local company to the largest premium ice cream distributor in the nation, Rogers was known for creating an extremely positive working environment, embodied in “the Grooves” which shaped the corporate culture of Dreyer’s.

Video still of Dori Shafer

Dori Shafer
Senior Executive Assistant
Dori Shafer began her career as a file clerk at Chemical Bank in San Francisco, where she worked her way up to Administrative Secretary between 1975 and 1982 before moving to Liquid Air Corporation.  Shafer served as Senior Executive Assistant at Dreyer’s from 1987 to 2010. In addition to administrative organization, Shafer also worked on the Grooves Committee as well as implementing Grooves hoopla events such as factory visits from Santa and MOAP (Mother Of All Parties).

Video still of Jeff Shields

Jeff Shields
Sales Administration, Vintage House
After working for years in the restaurant industry, Jeff Shields graduated in accounting from San Jose State University in 1978. He was then recruited for a position as head accountant with Cronk’s and Rogers’s Vintage House restaurant venture. As the chain declined, Shields transitioned to their new business, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream. While at Dreyer’s, Shields worked to open the Midwest markets, developed and managed partner relationships, and was part of the sales administration group that established consignment sales relationships with grocery stores. After twenty-five years, Shields retired from Dreyer’s in 2003.

Video still of Uwe Tapfer

Uwe Tapfer
Creator of Slow Churned Ice Cream
Uwe Tapfer was born and raised in Germany, where he attended university and received his master’s degree in Chemical Engineering/Food Science and Bio-Engineering. After working in coffee and baked confections in Europe, Tapfer went to the U.S. to help M&M/Mars develop frozen snack products, specifically the equipment that could make higher quality products more cost-effectively. In 1995, Tapfer was hired by Nestlé/Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream. There he led the development of break-through extrusion technology, and introduced new manufacturing equipment that allowed for reduced fat ice cream to maintain the same feel and flavor as full fat products—what became known as “Slow-Churn” ice cream. Slow-Churned ice cream became Dreyer’s largest equity within four years.

Video still of John Thomason

John Thomason
Vice-President, Manufacturing
John Thomason graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in dairy manufacturing. Upon graduation, he was hired as the West Coast general manager of the Oakland-based Borden Ice Cream Company. He then went to work at Vitafreze, Foremost, and Hagstrom and, in 1960, became Vice President of McFarlane’s Candy and Ice Cream. Thomason was hired at Dreyer’s in 1970 as “vice president, general manager, ice cream maker, truck driver, fountain manager, and dish washer.” Thomason stayed through the purchase of Dreyer’s by Gary Rogers and Rick Cronk, and helped teach Rogers about the business of ice cream manufacturing. He played a critical role in raising manufacturing standards at Dreyer’s until his retirement in 1994.

Video still of Greg Wolflick

Greg Wolflick
Labor Lawyer
Greg Wolflick graduated from the University of Arizona, Tucson with a degree in business in 1977. He then went to work for Union Oil in Los Angeles, while earning his law degree. He went into private practice in 1983 with a focus on employment law. In 1984, he joined Dreyer’s to write an affirmative action plan, and went on to be the primary legal counsel for employment issues. In 1990, Wolflick founded his own firm, Wolflick & Simpson. Wolflick was active in key moments of Dreyer’s development, including expansion into new states, issues around unionization, and running intensive training sessions on legal issues for Dreyer’s employees around the country.

 


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