A Del-Val Food Ingredients Brand

Bio of Rick Cavanaugh

 EXECUTIVE PROFILE of Rick Cavanaugh

35+ year track record leading both large enterprise and small manufacturing companies through critical transition stages to create market-driven, cost-effective operations that delivered strong top and bottom line results in strong and weak economic cycles. Built and led high-performance organizations, and achieved many “firsts” in continuous process improvement, world-class manufacturing, customer service excellence, competitive marketing and new product innovation.  

  • Proven Expert in the formulation and production of Yeast Raised Donut Products
  • Demonstrated unique blend of vision, creativity, strategic planning, fact-based decision-making and decisive action to surmount complex and ever-changing business challenges.
  • Applied hands-on leadership, and developed and executed clear strategic and tactical plans to achieve immediately and sustainable revenue, profit, corporate value and shareholder earnings. 
  • Anticipated and capitalized on new business opportunities and market trends to open up new market channels, launch new products, and advance competitive position and market share.
  • Applied a systematic, disciplined approach, lean principles and performance measurement systems continuously improve planning, resource allocation, capital investments and fiscal management with an equal focus on the top and bottom-line results.
  • Fostered business cultures that encourage innovation and empower teams to perform beyond expectations in maximizing efficiency/productivity and commitment to the customer.  Exceptional team building and motivation skills.


Partner– Ingredient Experts DBA KEY BLENDS, Mount Laurel, NJ 2011 to Present

Privately held company founded in 2007 as an R&D/distribution operation with custom manufacturing specializing in sweet baked goods.

One of the original founders.  Devised original and refined business models, people/processes structures and financial/operational controls in anticipation of and response to dramatic changes in the market landscape, economic climate, and customer demands.

The customer base is International.  Experience in Canada, Central America, EU, Middle East, and Asia

Developed line of original concentrated dry mix bakery products for use by wholesale and large retail bakeries. Developed and sold new market concept products in the USA and International Markets. Transitioned company from zero sales to profitability in 3 years.

Director R&D – KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUT, Winston-Salem, NC 2008-2011

Publicly held company with an international presence.  Krispy Kreme is the world's leader in the production of yeast raised doughnuts.

 Recruited to lead the research and development of new and existing products worldwide.  

 Business Strategy, Transformation & Leadership of Global R&D Innovation

  • Personally reformulated the original glazed doughnut to improve eating characteristics and shelf life. 
  • Improved fresh doughnut shelf life by 24 to 48 hours.
  • Provided the vision and initial design and implementation of new patented doughnut line which will allow Krispy Kreme to enter new markets and expand sales, profitability, and market share.
  • Provided technical leadership during the approval phase of ingredients in new country markets, such as China, Thailand, Turkey and more.
  • Worked with Foreign Food and Drug agencies and customs to get approval for Krispy Kreme products.
  • Reformulated Krispy Kreme Products to meet International regulations while maintaining Krispy Kreme product quality.
  • Developed concentrates to produce proprietary Krispy Kreme mixes to work in domestic and international partner plants
  • Developed and international baked concept that was launched with much success in the Philippines.  Baked program improved morning daypart sales by 50%

President/CEO – KEY MIX CORPORATION, Sykesville, MD 1993 to January 2007

Privately held company founded in 1993 as an R&D/distribution operation with contract manufacturing; evolved into an $8M+ integrated R&D, manufacturing, sales, and distribution company of commodity food ingredients

Recruited by the 3 original investors to bring a fresh perspective and progressive leadership during the evolution of a start-up company into a fiscally strong, growth oriented business in the face of widespread industry/economic downturn and shift in the overall business strategy/market focus and shareholder expectations. Devised original and refined business models, people/processes structures and financial/operational controls in anticipation of and response to dramatic changes in the market landscape, economic climate, and customer demands. 

Business Strategy, Transformation & Leadership

  • Formulated Yeast Raised Mixes and led a R&D Team to Develope Cake and Cake donut mixes and concentrates to be sold to major fortune 500 Companies.
  • Developed and executed a new vision, direction and operating model that transformed a start-up company with no assets into a profitable integrated manufacturing, sales/marketing, and distribution business. 
  • Kept abreast of evolving industry and market trends and spearheaded game-changing business initiatives including the shift from contract to self-manufacturing in 2001 and a complete product reformulation in 2005.

Direct & Contract Manufacturing & Supply Chain Management

  • Employed lean principles in production design and workforce development. Achieved 30% plant utilization, zero workers compensation claims, and perfect/near perfect American Institute of Baking industry performance rankings for 5 consecutive years. (3 years achieving perfect scores of 1000!)
  • Established sourcing, procurement and supply chain processes, including preferred supplier relationships and long-term supply contracts. Stabilized material costs despite 20%+ market-rate increases in recent years.
  • Designed inventory management programs using and vendor-held inventory and just in time (JIT) programs that minimized carrying costs and maintained inventory days to <20 days.

Product Development, Sales & Marketing

  • Pioneered the extended shelf-life industry revolution by developing custom formulations and concentrates/products that reduce the cost and processing time for key customers.
  • Overhauled the product line, a strategic move to improve profitability and maintain competitive position over the long-term while taking a short-term sales volume decrease.  
  • Recognizing new health/wellness market trends, developed a first to market product line, projected to generate a 30% boost in sales with high-profit margins within 2 years of full commercialization/launch. (white whole wheat/whole grain).

Technical Services Manager – GIANT FOOD INC., Silver Spring, MD 1982 to 1993

$3B retailer and fully integrated fresh/frozen food/beverage products manufacturer; acquired by European conglomerate, Ahold in 1998 

Recruited while still in college to become the first quality control professional in a corporate-owned/operated 500-employee union production facility producing $60M in goods for distribution throughout 200+ retail stores.  Progressed rapidly to become 1 of 5 senior managers at the facility.  Expanded scope of management oversight to include R&D, quality control, payroll, order processing, safety and regulatory compliance. Reported to Director of Bakery Operations.

  • Partnered with R&D to provide insights into quality and production efficiency during product development. Accelerated concept to commercialization processes , and facilitated the launch of many new product lines.
  • Developed and implemented detailed formulation, batching, quality control and production standards and schedules to accommodate over 300 SKU’s,  12 different product categories and 200,000 packaged products during a 24-hour shift. 
  • Completed corporate “train the trainer” programs and led ongoing continuous improvement training to eliminated non-productive workflows resulting in cost savings, labor optimization, and consistency in manufacturing processes.
  • Enforced union contract guidelines while conforming labor practices to meet the company’s strict quality, safety, and good manufacturing standards, which minimized worker’s compensation claims. 
  • Engaged in regular internal audits and 3rd party/external inspections of product quality, equipment safety and process efficiency.  Maintained a solid record of corporate quality, and FDA, OSHA state/federal regulatory compliance.
  • Volunteered for corporate task forces and committees involving, new federal and state regulations and programs such as ADA, EEOC, and light duty programs.