Who We Are

The Action Brand Management brain trust started back in 2000. Steven Gelerman had just launched his Ian’s Natural Food brand and needed someone to work with him to build the company into a national presence. Steven had met Jeff Canner on an early business deal and asked him to join up. Jeff joined the company helped Steven build the Ian’s brand into a nationally recognized and distributed brand. Steven Gelerman sold Ian’s 34 months later. Steven and Jeff went their separate ways and worked with different brands. Steven and Jeff decided to bring their experiences in Sales, Marketing, Operations and Product development back together and formed Action Brand Management.

Steve Gelerman

Steve has been in the food industry for over 20 years. Steve has owned food companies, launched the Ian’s Natural Food brand and is an expert in operations, production, product development, broker networks, logistics and finance. Steve owned his own USDA facility and brings a high business acumen to the table to ensure that companies are taking the correct steps to success. Steven has also worked on Stacy’s Pita Chips, Cherrybrook Kitchen, Miss Jenny’s Pickles, Happy Baby, among a host of others.

Jeff Canner

Jeff has been in the food industry for the past 30 years in relevant roles and channels. Jeff has worked as an SVP and VP in sales, marketing, brand launches and product development in the retail food channel and as a Senior Director in the food service channel. Some of the brands that are on his list are Glutino, Ian’s Natural Foods, Good Tastes, Snap Infusion SuperCandy and Wellaby’s amongst others. Jeff has also worked with large Food Service establishments including Aramark and Sodexho.

Melissa Drahzal

Melissa is a seasoned finance professional with over 20 years of experience in manufacturing, service and software environments. She began her career as a CPA and spent 5 years auditing a wide range of clients before moving over to the private sector in Controller and then CFO positions. She teamed up with Steve Gelerman and Jeff Canner at Ian's Natural Foods, and is happy to be a part of the Action Brand Management team. Her expertise is analyzing and simplifying the budgeting and forecasting process.

Samuel Mullett

Sam is a food industry professional with sales and purchasing experience in all food categories. He has 10 years as a Category Manager for Cavallaro Foods. LLC. With specialty, natural, organic, kosher, in-store bakery, and international categories. He has 15 years as a purchasing manager for a food service redistributor. Prior to that he was sales manager for SM Flickinger and Scrivner, and Previously owned WorldWind Food Brokerage.

Julie Kligman

Julie has lead a successful career since 1987 as a Special Events Coordinator ranging from trade shows to telethons and fundraisers. We are excited to have her on board to help our clients work their way through the trade shows and consumer events. Through her years of experience she has earned high accolades from public relations professionals, corporate executives and celebrities for her skills and creative abilities. Now she has joined the ABM team and works diligently to bring our events to life.

Steven Scop

Steven is a creative and talented Information Technology/Marketing professional who is Founder and President of Visibility One. His background is in Information Technology (30 years), Internet Marketing/SEO, Web and Software Development. Steven has helped achieve Inc500 honoree status multiple times while working as the CTO/CMO for a credit card processing company. The partnership between ABM and Visibility One is a fruitful relationship that helps our customer base in many different facets.

Peggy O'Shea Kochenbach MBA, RDN, LDN

With more than 15 years of experience in marketing and public relations, Peggy specializes in developing strategic and impactful communications programs and messages for food & beverage and healthy lifestyle brands. She comes from a well-established career in the agency world, where she developed and executed multi-faceted communications programs and provided senior-level strategic counsel for global, national, local and niche clients alike. Her approach to successful integrated public relations programs, including brand positioning, message development, earned media outreach, social and digital engagement, product launches, influencer engagement, and owned channel integration has been highly successful in exceeding client expectations and resulted in many industry awards. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and admitted foodie, Peggy has also been widely quoted in local and national media as a trusted nutrition expert.

Cristin Carballo

Cristin has been in the Natural and Sport Supplement Industry for over 10 years. She began her career as a Personal Trainer in year 2000 assisting clients with healthy exercise programs. She knew the importance of exercise being hand in hand with a healthy diet which is how she began her growth into Natural Foods. She has helped launch new brands to the health and wellness market as well as grown sales for mature brands in Natural, Conventional, Independent Grocery Stores and Sport Supplement stores across the country. She lives and breathes the healthy lifestyle in Dallas, Texas.

Samantha Apter

Samantha Apter’s career in the restaurant and hospitality industry spans over 20 years and two continents. Combining the refined palate of a restaurateur and chef with the no-nonsense attitude and concerns of a working mom, Samantha is excited to work with Action Brand Management in developing exquisite, gourmet quality products for a mass market with a focus on utilizing whole and natural ingredients.

Jack Knott

Jack Knott is an experienced CEO and Managing Director with a record of success across a broad range of complex assignments involving business growth, startups, restructurings, acquisitions, mergers, integrations and turnarounds, both domestically and internationally. He has helped create over $1.5 billion of equity value. Jack brings an expertise in obtainging the correct capital structures, financing and banking relationships in order to properly grow a business.

Maureen Phelan

We are excited to introduce Maureen Phelan, Sales Director, Emerging Brands. Maureen brings with her 20 years of experience in natural, specialty, and supermarket sales management. She has extensive knowledge in brand management and natural product sales having worked at great companies like Evian, Tazo Tea, Ian’s and Glutino. She has successfully launched several new lines and has worked closely with brokers, distributors, and retailers to increase the visibility and turns of lines she represents. Maureen will be working to build Action brand’s retail presence in the northeast.

Tabitha Locke

Tabitha is our VP of Food Service, and has been in the Food Industry for twelve years. She has worked hard establishing relationships with Food Service Companies and National Distributors that service K-12, Universities, Healthy Cafes and Airlines. Personally, dealing with food allergies for years, has opened her eyes to promoting unique brands that benefit everyone! She is a firm believer that the Food Service industry deserves a well-balanced, allergy friendly menu that offers the variety consumers expect. Her client dedication stems from believing in herself, our company and our products. It is her goal to provide stellar products and service that provide profitable relationships for all of us. She resides in the sunshine state with her daughter and is grateful for every day.