Our Leadership Team
GFR Pharma’s management team combines extensive pharmaceutical and natural health product knowledge with strategic business expertise. Our team of capable professionals in the areas of manufacturing, quality assurance, research and development, distribution, sales, finance, graphics and marketing can help you every step of the way … from concept to reality.
Founder, President & CEO
A respected member of the Canadian Health Food Association, Richard is well known in the natural products industry for creating and marketing the most successful brand of sport nutrition products in Canada. Long before sports nutrition powders entered the mainstream, Richard was researching ingredients and developing protein supplements to support health and fitness. Richard’s entrepreneurial passion, insistence on high quality product and service together with embracing new technologies and industry trends are key components to the success of his GFR Group of Companies. In 2012, Richard was recognized for his contributions to the industry with a Natural Health Products Canada Industry Leader Award.
GFR Pharma is a clear reflection of Richard’s drive, passion and innovative vision making us an internationally recognized and respected organization.
“I always tell our team to make every product as if they were making it for their own family members. Quality is our #1 priority.”
Chief Operating Officer & Co-Owner
Tom brings to GFR Pharma over 36 years of experience in, and a passion for, the nutraceutical industry. His most recent position was Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Factors Group of Nutritional Companies, where he was instrumental in setting up manufacturing and packaging facilities in Kelowna, Washington and Australia. He has also held senior leadership roles at Vita Health Products Inc. (Senior Vice President and COO) and Banner Pharmacaps (Vice President and General Manager).
Tom is responsible for implementing the company’s vision through the management and expansion of our operational functions; including all facets of manufacturing, packaging, warehousing, purchasing, planning, scheduling, quality, product development, formulations and plant engineering. Tom’s wealth of knowledge, leadership, and day-to-day operations skills will be helping move GFR Pharma to the next level.
“Throughout my career I’ve been blessed with having great people around me and great customers to work for….it is truly a fabulous Industry to be part of!”
Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing
John began his career in the natural health sector in 1992, and during this time, he has worked with some of the most respected brands in the industry, including Natural Factors, SiSu and Genuine Health.
During his 25 years in the natural health industry, John has always had a balance between his passion for health and wellness, and also for the success of the customers he serves. “I want your business to succeed. To accomplish this, I always try to bring value to the table, honour people and be accountable to colleagues and customers.
John eagerly anticipates this next phase of his career.
“The sales group at GFR Pharma is committed to understanding the needs of its customers, the industry and the consumer and being courteous and professional with everyone we interact with. I am excited to join GFR Pharma as the company continues to grow.”
Vice President of Finance
Surjit is a designated CPA, CGA with over 20 years of experience in various financial management positions. She started her career in public practice as an auditor and progressed into more senior roles in the manufacturing industry. Prior to joining GFR Pharma, Surjit was the Director of Finance and Accounting for a large Canadian national-brand food manufacturer.
Surjit brings to GFR Pharma extensive experience in financial and operations reporting and analysis, financial and strategic business planning, treasury, corporate tax compliance, ERP implementations and the development of high performing cross-functional teams. In addition to leading the finance and IT teams, she is responsible for maintaining relationships with bankers, auditors, lawyers, insurance brokers, and tax authorities.
“The finance team is committed to providing accurate financial information, mitigating business risks, enhancing transparency and identifying business opportunities.”
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Julie brings to us proven accomplishment in business development and international sales expansion. She is passionate about serving business in the natural health space by creating a culture of success; applying product and industry knowledge to brand expansion and providing customer-first service to her customers. Julie believes that success always comes from unwavering dedication and perseverance.
Julie completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Auckland University, New Zealand and has a Masters degree in Management.
“We understand that a brand’s success can depend on a manufacturing partner who is trusted, dependable and transparent – we are that partner.”
Vice President QC, QA and Research & Development
Since 2003, Maribel has been at the helm of GFR Pharma’s Quality Control, Research and Development and Product Development departments. She currently manages a large team of degreed scientists and oversees all aspects of GFR Pharma’s quality program, licensing, audits and third party certification.
With a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Management Technology, her diversified scientific background is fundamental to our compliance with Canadian and international food, supplement and drug regulations. Prior to joining GFR Pharma, Maribel was actively involved in the implementation of ISO 9000 (Quality Management System), ISO 14000 (Environmental Management System) and in the Quality Assurance and Control departments of various companies.
“GFR Pharma offers our customers flexibility, while maintaining the highest standards of quality and integrity.”
Director of Human Resources
Shelley brings over 30 years of Human Resource experience to GFR Pharma. She has successfully created and implemented systems that relate to company policies, procedures, recruitment, retention and performance management in a variety of industries; both non-union and union. She has also developed and lead several training courses to increase performance at multiple levels of the organizations she has worked in. Shelley holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and has completed and developed several Human Resource related courses.
At GFR Pharma, Shelley shares her passion of promoting a culture supportive of employees while at the same time achieving business success.
“Don’t be afraid to take an unfamiliar path, sometimes they are the ones that take you to the best places.” – Unknown
Director of Purchasing & Scheduling
Craig brings 25 plus years of comprehensive purchasing and operational experience to GFR Pharma, including 14 years in a leadership role.
Before commencing with GFR Pharma, Craig has worked as the Director of Purchasing & Planning in the nutraceutical industry and most recently as a Purchasing Manager in the plumbing trade. Craig has also studied Executive Management at SFU (Vancouver) to further his management skills. This varied experience and training helps Craig bring best practices from other industries to his repertoire and team.
Craig believes in building and supporting a strong Purchasing and Planning team who delivers supportive internal customer service. Doing so assists GFR Pharma in delivering exceptional results to our manufacturing clients.
“Manufacturing environments are dynamic and challenging; we look at those challenges as opportunities to be creative and solution-oriented to deliver the best outcomes and customer service to our valued customers.”
Director of Logistics
Having held senior leadership positions in multiple organizations, Matt brings a wide range of experience to GFR Pharma. His most recent role was Director of Operations for one of the pioneers of the Canadian natural health industry, where he formulated and launched new products as well as a new brand, upgraded the production facility, revamped the sales and marketing departments, and overhauled key operational systems.
Matt’s focus on continuous improvement and drive to deliver contributes to our ongoing success, and that of our customers.
“A commitment to quality, desire to innovate, and a high performing team are the keys to success. GFR Pharma combines all of these elements to deliver phenomenal results to our customers.”
Director of Plant Engineering
Craig has over 25 years experience in roles as Plant and Maintenance Manager from CP Rail to large multi-million dollar food processing facilities. Throughout his career, Craig has demonstrated his ability to grow profitable operations by reducing costs and streamlining processes.
With his personable and productive management style, Craig is skilled at training and mentoring the teams he leads. With a thorough understanding of maintenance programs and budgets, Craig leads with a focus on executing plant improvement projects to minimize loss and downtime. From leading machine installations and building expansion projects, through to day-to-day plant operations, Craig believes strongly in employee safety and is certified by WorkSafe BC.
“Keeping our equipment up to date through technology and innovation is our commitment.”