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The GVH Family of Companies
2601 SE Loop 289 79404
Hours 8am-5pm M-F
Chief Executive Officer – Joseph (Joe) Earl Schmidt
Born September 25, 1963
Joe Schmidt was born and grew up in Spokane, WA. The youngest of seven children from a modest lower middle class family. As a young teenager Joe worked at a grocery store behind his house and learned the grocery business from a meat counter and checkout stand while attending Gonzaga Prep High School and throughout college. While still a student to Eastern Washington University, Joe was hired by a local food broker Mancini and Groesbeck and was quickly promoted to Account Manager. It was then that he was hired by Silverbow Honey Company as their National Sales Manager. Joe was the Sales Manager for Oregon Fruit Company and Hoody Peanut Company over several years before he was persuaded by father-in-law Buddy Furgerson to move to Lubbock, Texas and become the heir apparent of Gage Van Horn & Associates in 1994. Over the last 20 years Gage Van Horn (GVH) and its family of companies have been one of the fastest growing distribution companies in the United States. Joe Schmidt is currently the CEO and Managing Partner of Gage Van Horn & Associates, GVH Distribution, Miller Paper & Packaging, Blaine Industrial Supply and Oaks Distributing.
President – Sean Wright
Born August 27, 1972
Sean Wright was born in Encino, CA and grew up in Charlotte, NC and Plano, TX. The middle of three brothers, Sean graduated from Plano Senior High School in 1990. During high school, Sean worked at Tom Thumb Grocery as a baggage clerk, checker, and stocker. He moved on to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. After graduating college, Sean was in the process of moving back to Dallas, TX for an accepted sales position when he was approached by Joe Schmidt and Buddy Furgerson at Gage Van Horn & Associates. Sean accepted a sales role in Lubbock, with the focus being the growth of the Amarillo market. At the time Sean started calling on the Amarillo market, Gage Van Horn & Associates sold less than $100,000 annually in Amarillo. Today, Amarillo represents the largest market for the GVH Family of Companies with close to $40 million in business. Over the last 20 years, the GVH Family of Companies has been one of the fastest growing distribution companies in the United States. Coinciding with the company growth, Sean progressed from his original sales position, to General Manager in Amarillo, then to Senior Vice President, and finally to his current role as President and Partner of GVH Distribution, Miller Paper & Packaging, Blaine Industrial Supply, and Oaks Distributing. Sean has spent his entire professional career with the GVH Family of Companies. He lives in Amarillo, TX and is married to wife Kristy and his two children, Kylee and Caden.
Chairman of the Board – Charles (Buddy) Furgerson:
Born February 14, 1938
Buddy Furgerson was born in Cooper, TX and moved to Austin, TX shortly thereafter. He graduated from McCallum High School in Austin and attended the University of Texas for three years ultimately graduating from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management. Buddy worked for the American Steel & Wire division of United States Steel Corp. in Dallas, TX while finishing college. Upon his graduation in 1963, Buddy went to work for his father-in-law at Gage Van Horn & Associates, Inc. as a sales representative in Lubbock, TX. In 1975, Buddy became President of Gage Van Horn & Associates, Inc. When Mr. Van Horn retired. Buddy and his wife Beth purchases the company from Mrs. Van Horn upon Mr. Van Horn’s death in 1984. Now semi-retired, Buddy still actively serves as Vice-President and Secretary of Gage Van Horn & Associates, Inc. Miller Paper Company, Blaine Industrial Supply, Oaks distributing; and is a managing partner in GVH Distribution.
Vice President of Operations – Corby Bleckert
Corby Bleckert is a grocery guy; he has always been very passionate about the Grocery Industry. He started his career at a the young age of 15 with Albertsons and has done every job from a Courtesy Clerk to Store Manager. After leaving Albertsons, he worked as a Sales Manager at Unified Western Grocers to help Associated Food Stores (AFS) build a custom specialty foods program. The program was so successful that AFS recruited him to build an in house program for them. While at AFS he managed many processes and teams. He held the positions of Buyer, Trainer, Senior Category Manager, and Director of Center Store. Corby is a problem solver by nature; he recognized the need to develop internal systems to ensure proper spending and controls and increased the Grocery and DSD sales by 20% while reducing their inventory by over $10 million. He introduced the need to put checks in place to avoid over spending from vendors, this enabled GVH Distribution to replace the AFS current vendor and save AFS millions in over spending on store supplies. Joe Schmidt and Sean Wright recruited him to work with executives across the country to implement the GVH program, introduce an honest buying solution, and help companies recognize significant bottom line savings. Raised in Salt Lake City, Corby enjoys all that Utah’s outdoor lifestyle as to offer while spending time with his amazing wife and two beautiful daughters.
Chief Financial Officer – Clay Robinett
Clay Robinett was born in Lamesa, TX and was raised in Lubbock, TX. He attended high school at Coronado High in Lubbock. After high school, Clay then went on to graduate from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the Rawls College of Business. During college, he worked in the banking industry and took a job after graduation with Frost National Bank in Fort Worth, Texas. Clay later accepted an opportunity with PlainsCapital Bank in Lubbock and was excited to move back to his hometown. While working as a Credit Analyst for PlainsCapital, Clay met Joe Schmidt, President of GVH Distribution. After about two years of underwriting GVH’s financial needs, Joe offered Clay the Chief Financial Officer position for the GVH Family of Companies. Eager to accept the position as it posed exciting challenges with a fast growing company, Clay continues to successfully lead the financial aspect of the GVH Family of Companies.
Human Resources Manager – LeeAnn Zeman
LeeAnn Zeman was born and raised in Lubbock, TX. She graduated from Coronado High School in 2002. Right out of high school, LeeAnn started working for a local cable construction company as the Receptionist, and within two years moved her way up to the Accounts Payable department. Not long after, she took on the customer billing and the accounts receivable as well. In September 2009, LeeAnn decided it was time for a change and joined the GVH team as the Accounts Payable Representative. She quickly worked her way up to the Accounts Payable Manager position. In December 2011, due to her hard work and dedication, LeeAnn was given the opportunity to move into her current position as the Human Resources Manager. She spends most of her spare time with her husband, Jed, two daughters, Caedence and Skylar, and son, Keegan.
National Account Manager – Kyle Karnes
Kyle Karnes was born in New Orleans, LA and grew up in both Southern California and Texas. He has spent 17 years in the packaging/supplies business in the grocery, packer/processor, redistribution, C-store, jan/san and foodservice industries. He has extensive experience on both the distribution side of the business as well as the manufacturing side in the Southern California, Midwest, and Southwest markets. Kyle spent 12 years with Bunzl Distribution beginning as a commissioned sales rep in San Diego, then as the Sales Manager for Bunzl Papercraft Los Angeles, and later as the General Manager for Bunzl Papercraft San Diego. He was transferred to Dallas as the Sales Manager at Bunzl R3 Dallas, one of the largest Bunzl branches in the country, for the final 5 years of his career with Bunzl. For the next 4 years, Kyle was employed with Huhtamaki to gain experience on the manufacturing side of the business. During his time as a National Account Manager for the South and lower Midwest, he called on large National Accounts such as Sonic, 7-11, and Walmart to name a few. Kyle graduated from Katy High School outside of Houston, TX and met his wife of 22 years, Gina, while attending Stephen F Austin State University where they both graduated in 1993. Kyle & Gina have two daughters, Marina and Sophia. They currently live in Celina, TX just north of Dallas, but will be relocating to Southern California in the summer of 2017.
GVH Amarillo General Manager – Greg Lane
Greg Lane was raised in Amarillo, TX. He relocated to Dallas in 1996 where he attended and graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. While attending college, Greg began a career in the banking industry as a commercial credit analyst in Fort Worth. After graduating, he continued underwriting commercial credits for several years before he was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Commercial Lending. After being relocated back to Amarillo in 2005, Greg and took a position with a local bank as a Vice President of Commercial Lending. Due to the financial downturn in 2008, Greg exited the banking industry and secured a position as a retail merchandiser for GVH Distribution in Amarillo. Since joining the GVH Distribution team in 2008, he has steadily expanded his knowledge in the packaging and supply industry and is currently the General Manager in the Amarillo market.
GVH Utah General Manager – Heidi Mucha
Heidi Mucha was born in Salt Lake City and grew up in Layton, Utah. In 2002, she married her high school sweetheart, Chad, with whom she has three wonderful boys—Max, Jaxon, and Rexley. Her career began in the beauty industry, where she worked in artistry, education, and sales management. In November 2012, while finishing her bachelor’s degree in business administration, she took on a position with GVH Distribution as a temporary customer service representative to help pay for her schooling. Although it was an unfamiliar industry, Heidi quickly discovered that this was a company that she wanted to stay with. She took every opportunity that she could to learn more about GVH, their customers, and products, and continues to build on that knowledge every day. Within a few months of starting with the company, Heidi was moved into the merchandiser role, covering Southeastern Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Northern Utah. She continued to build relationships with her customers and vendors, and while pursuing her MBA in entrepreneurial studies, started to dive into the operational side of GVH. In June 2014, Heidi was made the first manager trainee in the company. She worked closely with the general manager and vice president of operations, Corby Bleckert, to learn how to manage and operate a branch of GVH Distribution on her own. In August 2015, the general manager position in Utah became available, which Heidi was thrilled to accept.
GVH Seattle General Manager – Jason Curry
Jason Curry was born and raised in Spokane, WA. He graduated from Gonzaga Prep High School in 2009. Following high school, Jason attended Eastern Washington University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Sociology. While attending Eastern Washington University, Jason worked for Fred Meyer, a Kroger company, for three years as a store clerk. In September 2014, Jason accepted the opportunity to work for GVH as a Manager Trainee at the Spokane branch. In November 2016, Jason accepted the opportunity to move to Seattle, WA to manage the newest GVH branch.
GVH Spokane General Manager – Don Torbenson
Don Torbenson was born and raised in Spokane, WA. He has 30 years in the hospitality industry as GM and owner of local restaurants. Don has also served as a Board Member on the Spokane Restaurant Association and as a member of the SERV SAFE Nationwide program. He spent the past 6 years at Northern Quest Resort and Casino as the Procurement Manager, Warehouse Manager, and Inventory Control Clerk Manager. His experiences provide outstanding connections to local food service businesses. Don is married with 4 children and 1 grandson. He is a full Ironman Finisher and enjoys time with his family and being out on the golf course.
GVH Illinois General Manager – Wayne Schmidt
Wayne Schmidt was born and grew up in Spokane, WA. He graduated in the late 70’s from Gonzaga Prep High School and began expanding his experience in the grocery industry. With over 30 years’ experience in the grocery industry, Wayne started his grocery carrier as a merchandiser with the food broker Mancini & Grosbeck. He was later transferred to Portland, OR as an Account Manager with Impact Sales representing specialty Foods, Hispanic Foods, and produce items. Wayne then accepted a Sales Manager position at Specialty Foods with Fleming Foods GMD covering Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. The success continued as Wayne transferred to Associated Grocers in Seattle, WA as a Category Manager when Fleming sold to AGI. In 2002, Wayne moved to Columbus, Ohio with his family and accepted the Retail Account Manager Position with Glazers of Ohio Distribution before opening GVH Distribution as the General Manager in Chicago Illinois in June 2012 where he continues to be a valued member of the GVH Family of companies.
GVH Alabama General Manager – Sean Skoglund
Sean Skoglund was born in Chicago, IL and grew up both there and in Ann Arbor, MI. Sean is the youngest of three children. During high school, Sean worked at a local grocery store in Saline, MI where he bagged groceries, stocked shelves, retrieved carts, and assisted guests with carry outs. After relocating back to Chicago and shortly after graduating high school, Sean began his career with Menards. What started out as a part-time warehouse position quickly turned into a full-time Warehouse Manager role for Sean. Sean was recruited by Wayne Schmidt in September 2012 to become the Warehouse Manager of GVH Distribution’s Chicago location. Through out his time in Chicago, Sean expanded his knowledge in the grocery supply and packaging industry and now resides with his wife and two sons in Birmingham, AL as the General Manager of the Southeast market.
Miller Paper Operations Manager – Jerrie Taylor
BORN IN MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA; shortly after Jerrie’s birth her family moved to Texas where her father was from. Jerrie was raised by a single father, who worked two jobs, and by her paternal grandmother, who helped her father. She went to school in Amarillo and in Happy, Texas. In school, Jerrie was known for her silliness and her athletic abilities as she played softball (her favorite sport to this day), basketball, ran track, and even tried to convince the coaches to let her play football (not acceptable back in her day)! At the age of 16, Jerrie had to leave school for a short time to work and help her father raise 2 of her siblings. Six months later, she enrolled in Amarillo College to take Business and Financial courses. Between birthing children and being married to a military man, it took her longer than planned to graduate from college, however, she is very proud to say that in 2003 she obtained an Associate’s Degree in Business! Jerrie worked as an intern for Amarillo College in the Business Department and Computer Lab while being a mom and a substitute teacher. After graduation, she accepted an accounting position at Amarillo College in their Facility Maintenance department. A couple years later, she decided to advance in the business world and obtain more responsibilities so she accepted a position in the Quality Assurance department of Bell Helicopter. Later on, Jerrie transitioned out of the planes business and into the trains business where she worked in accounting for a railcar repair shop for the next 7 years. Jerrie has now been with Miller Paper for 3 years; she started as a temp in customer service, moved into inside sales, and then into her current position as the Operations Manager. In August 2017, she remarried and is now a mom of 2, step-mom of 2, and a very proud Grandy of 4!!!
Miller Paper Sales Manager – Larry Lopata
Larry Lopata was born October 7, 1970 in Los Angeles, CA and grew in Orange County, CA. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. Larry grew up in the janitorial supply industry, and after graduation, he worked for a janitorial sanitary supply company in Salt Lake City, UT. In 2000, Larry move to the Dallas area and worked for different manufactures from cleaning equipment to chemicals. He has covered different markets from the West Coast, Midwest and the entire country. After 20 years in the business, Larry came to work for GVH Family of Companies in July 2015. He is in charge of sales for our janitorial supplies division. In his free time, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and root for his Alma mater!