Brew Talks Asheville 2016
Co-Founder, Executive Chair, New Belgium Brewing
Kim Jordan, co-founder and ex-CEO of New Belgium Brewing, has developed expertise at the intersection of business, the environment and community building to create one of the most respected craft breweries and innovative businesses in America. Employing humanistic philosophy that is integrated with a systems perspective, tenants of her training in Social Work, Kim has guided and influenced New Belgium’s culture with progressive policies like employee-ownership, open book management, environmental stewardship and philanthropic giving. In her twenty-plus years as an entrepreneur, Kim has had the opportunity to speak in front of thousands of people in the business, nonprofit and academic worlds about how to create a vibrant and rewarding work culture that enhances the company’s bottom line as well as her coworker’s and customer’s lives. After 25 years of growing and leading New Belgium, 15 as the company’s CEO, Kim is now in the role of Executive Chair of the New Belgium Board of Directors. She’s looking forward to watching her management peers and coworkers take New Belgium into new and exciting territory. Kim continues to be involved in New Belgium at the strategic level and to advocate for progressive business practices while she works with her family at the New Belgium Family Foundation, and relearns how to live at a more relaxed pace.
Leah Wong Ashburn
Family Owner, President, Highland Brewing
Leah is a second-generation family owner of Highland Brewing Company. Her father, Oscar Wong, founded the company in the sleepy town of Asheville in 1994, when Leah was two years out of school. After being turned down by her father for a job, she found a career in the printing industry in Charlotte, always with an eye on Highland and a drop of ownership. She turned down the same brewery job years later, as she enjoyed city life and financial success. But life priorities change, and in 2011, fleeing the nice income and abundant free time, she joined the family business. Leah began at Highland as a sales representative and board member, eventually moving into Marketing and Administrative leadership. Today she serves as President, living happily in Asheville with her husband Brock with occasional visits from her two terrific stepdaughters.
Co-Founder, Hi-Wire Brewing
As is typical with small, growing companies, Adam wears 100 hats at Hi-Wire. The best way to describe his day-to-day responsibilities is that he tackles Hi-Wire's finance, legal and internal communication, while his business partner concentrates more on beer innovation and logistics. Together, the pair jointly work on future strategic growth strategies. Visiting Asheville since he was nine years old, Adam always dreamed of living here. In late 2012, he finally had the opportunity and moved to Asheville to pursue, what was at the time, a dream position - working to develop commercial real estate, specifically affordable housing. His business partner, and former college roommate, Chris had been living in Asheville for a couple of years by then - working as a pharmacist but itching for something more satiating. After rounds of home-brewing and several (several) pints of craft beer together, they realized their mutual passions of both craft beer and entrepreneurship. When an opportunity do act upon those ambitions and start a craft brewery in Asheville came about, the duo both recognized the chance to fulfill those dreams…and Hi-Wire was born.
General Manager, New Belgium Brewing
Jay Richardson leads New Belgium’s east coast operations in Asheville, NC. In additional to pragmatism, clarity and passion, the core of his leadership philosophy is nurturing trusting relationships with those he encounters. Joining New Belgium in 2003 as the IT Director and member of the senior leadership team, Jay has become familiar with many aspects of the business. He served as the steward of New Belgium’s strategic planning process and as Production Director, prior to accepting the honor of piloting New Belgium’s second facility in Asheville. Prior to joining the New Belgium family, Jay gained 11 years of IT consulting, management and leadership experience with Hewlett-Packard, Mrs. Smith's Bakeries, and Andersen Consulting. He graduated Mississippi State University with an honors bachelor degree in electrical engineering and a minor in mathematics.