Danielle Vigent

Danielle Vigent has 12 years of experience in process improvement, automation, scaling, and getting warehouses done. From >100 Million dollar project to helping a company size of 1, she loves to help businesses grow and overcome their operations hurdles. Her background is in Industrial Engineering and has spent her career in Southern California.

John Leech

Dr. John Leech holds a PhD in microbiology from University College Cork, with a focus on artisanal fermented foods. As a Research Officer with Teagasc, Ireland, he continues to investigate the potential health benefits of fermented foods. In addition to his academic work, John is an enthusiastic producer of a range of fermented foods, regularly brewing Kombucha and water kefir, and pickling various foods. To ensure that his research has real-world impact, John has worked on commercializing some of his findings, recognizing the importance of translating academic research into practical applications.

John Rubey

ohn is an experienced, passionate sales leader with a history of delivering results.  With more than 30 years of experience, he understands the importance printing and packaging have in successfully bringing products to market.

John started his career with RR Donnelley as an Account Executive, where he mastered his craft and enthusiasm for printing.  In 2007 he co-founded Square Peg Packaging and Printing and built an industry leading beverage packaging and printing distribution company.  Saxco acquired Square Peg in 2014 and as the Sales Director of the Southwest he still gets to bring all his knowledge, experience, and passion to customers throughout the region.

Samuel Mortensen

Samuel obtained his BSc and MSc in Plant Biotechnology from Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany. He obtained his PhD in Biology from Northeastern University in Boston, MA, USA. In 2020, he started a Post Doc with Professor Paul Cotter in Teagasc (the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland). His Post Doc work is focused on studying the microbial composition of fermented foods, in particular water kefir. Outside of the lab, he enjoys experimenting with various ferments at home as well.

Jake Ahles

I’m the founder of Foodtography Studio: a visual content marketing company specializing in food and beverage CPG brands, particularly those with an eye toward the future of food and beverage. For over 10 years we’ve worked with 100s of brands across the globe to help them engage their audience, accelerate sales, and gain market share.

From growing up with an Olympus OM-2 in one hand and a fork in the other, food and photography have been major parts of my life for as long as I can remember. From working as a professional chef to Co-Founding The FareTrade, a curated monthly subscription e-com company featuring award-winning chefs nationwide and their favorite small-batch artisan ingredients, I’ve combined this experience to found Foodtography Studio.

Gissel Marquez Alcaraz

I am an evolutionary biologist and wet lab scientist at ASU, working on attaining my Ph.D. in evolutionary biology. My research focuses on cooperation across different topics such as kombucha, the microbiome, and cancer.

Kirsten Richards

Kirsten is a Connection Catalyst. She is most known for teaching people how to master connections in every area of life and fit their career into their life while being more productive doing less.

She is an authentic soul that has lived the majority of her life with her foot on the gas pedal, making quick decisions that really did not align, seeking answers from others and pushing her way through life to exhaustion.

If you are seeking practical guidance on how to do less and be more aligned with your authentic self -join Kirsten in this breakout.

Johanna Denne

Johanna Denne is currently Beverage and Laboratory Coordinator for Metropolitan State University’s Beverage Analytics Lab. Prior to joining MSU Denver she was the director of production for Luna Bay Hard Kombucha and was responsible for overseeing R&D, quality assurance, forecasting and portfolio expansion. Prior to joining Luna Bay, she directed production for Crooked Stave Artisan beer project which is where her love for mixed culture fermentation began. Johanna completed her B.S. of Chemistry from Metropolitan State University in Denver and her M.S of Chemistry at the University of Colorado.

Nick Robertson

Nick Robertson is a PhD scientist studying yeast and the founder of Rare Combinations LLC. His journey in the brewing industry began in 2017 when he tried to start a brewery and ran into the common problem of controlling alcohol content in kombucha. Determined to find a solution, Nick developed an alcohol detector that is now being used by over 200 brewers worldwide. With his expertise and experience in using science to solve real-world problems in the brewing industry, Nick has become a valuable resource for kombucha enthusiasts looking to improve their brewing skills.

Kate Lubing

Kate has spent over 20 years in the Hospitality Industry, she lives it, breathes it and loves it. Kate spent several years in the Pacific Northwest where she graduated from an accredited Le Cordon Bleu’s Western Culinary Institute, majoring in Hospitality and Restaurant Management. For the next 12+ years she traveled, living all over the west, managing and working as a chef in the Food & Wine industry. Working as a GM & Operations Consultant, her journey brought her back to Salt Lake City. In summer of 2019 Kate found herself at a tasting of Han’s Kombucha. This is where Kate met her now business partner and closer friend, fell in love with all things Han’s Kombucha and her and Hannah started their journey in the kombucha industry together. They now own and operate a 5300 square foot brewery in downtown Salt Lake City with full production brewhouse, canning line and 1600 square feet of Taproom & Bar. Visit HK Brewing Collective, next time you’re in SLC.