President and Founder SweetPro®Bob Thornberg
President, Robert (Bob) Thornberg, founded the Company in 1991. He has extensive experience in fuel alcohol, fermentation feeds, and product development. Bob has a passion for personal fitness and in the 1970s was a television news anchor and radio reporter. Bob received the 2001 National Tibbetts Award of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s SBIR program (Small Business Innovative Research) for work on what is now known as the ProBiotein® fermentation process.
Vice-President of OperationsRyan Edelman
Ryan Edelman joined the SweetPro team in 1996 and continued up to 2005. From 2005 to 2014, Ryan went to the pet food industry and worked for Crosswind Pet Foods serving as its Director of Supply Chain Management. Ryan returned to SweetPro in 2014 as its General Manager and in 2016 took over duties as its Vice President of Operations. Ryan’s love for livestock started at an early age and continued into college, where he was a member of the Garden City Community College meats judging team. He continued his education at Kansas State University, obtaining a BS in animal sciences and business administration. Ryan, his wife, Brandy, and their three children, Kendrick, Laura, and Ava reside on the family farm in Sabetha, KS where they run a 150-head backgrounding operation.
Director of Nutrition, Science & TechnologyAbe Scheaffer PhD
Dr. Abe Scheaffer’s interest and passion within animal and human nutrition is the physiology of nutrients – tracking, evaluating and understanding how consumed nutrients are processed and prioritized in the body. Abe’s interests span the spectrum from the microbiome in the gastrointestinal tract to the processing of nutrients to achieve production goals throughout animal agriculture.
Abe has the academic background of completing a BS in Biology from Northwestern College of Iowa, a MS and PhD from North Dakota State University and post-doctoral research fellowship at Colorado State University. His academic experience was structured around the field of metabolic physiology and he continues to pursue that field as Director of Nutrition and Technical Services at SweetPro Premium Supplements.
Dr. Abe lives in Sheldon, Iowa, with his family and wife Amy.
Director of Sales; United StatesTroy Gavin
Troy started his career in the livestock nutrition industry in 1985 after studying Beef Production Management and has worked in sales and sales management until 2005. In 2005, he became General Manager of an ethanol production plant for 10-years where he focused on co-product consistency and fermentation efficiency. His entire career has involved working with distiller grains and CDS, so it was a natural fit to work with SweetPro as the industry leader in distiller-based supplements.
Canada Sales ManagerErick Thornberg
Erick has an education in Integrated Advertising and Public Relations from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Erick’s start with the company began with building brand name recognition through involvement with PBR, ABBI and rodeo industry. In 2016, his roll expanded into developing SweetPro’s sales and visibility in Canada. With great appreciation and one handshake at a time, Erick’s personal sales philosophy is built on gaining trust with the customer and providing a level of service that has their best interests in mind.
Finance and Business AdministrationDebbie Thornberg
Debbie’s areas of expertise include, Operations Management, Business Analysis, Supply Chain Management, Sales Management, Vendor and Client Relations Management, Process Re-engineering and Project Management. Debbie served as General Manager of a telecommunications manufacturer and as a business consultant/analyst for several companies before joining SweetPro in 2015 as head of Business Administration and Finance. Debbie also is an accomplished musician and recently achieved her private pilot’s license.
Sales, Marketing and Distributor SupportBrad Thornberg
Brad has a business management background in the transportation and health insurance fields. Joining SweetPro in 2003, Brad has helped build company sales and develop wholesale distribution to a nationwide footprint. He is also an avid pilot and photographer.
Quality Control and Food Safety ManagerMark Hertzel
Mark Hertzel joined the SweetPro team in 2016 as its Quality Control and Food Safety Manager. Mark has implemented a number of changes within SweetPro. Shortly after his arrival, he successfully installed and implemented NIR technology. In 2017, Mark achieved Safe Feed/Safe Food certification for the Horton, KS location and then in 2019 Mark achieved Safe Feed/Safe Food certification for the Walhalla, ND location.
Mark, his wife Kari, and their three kids live in Sabetha, KS. Mark grew up in the Sabetha, KS area and was previously employed at a pet food mill in its quality control department. He earned his BS from Kansas State in Political Science. Mark enjoys spending time with his family and loves to be outdoors fishing.
Sales and New Business DevelopmentDave Thornberg
Dave Thornberg has been with SweetPro for 18 years and helped build the sales and distributor network nationwide. Dave has had many executive, ownership and sales roles in several diverse industries. He has brought that wide experience to SweetPro and currently works with various new company projects. He and his wife Barb live in the Brainerd Lakes Area of Minnesota.
North Dakota Plant ManagerMitch Lee
Mitch Lee is the Walhalla, North Dakota Plant Manager and has been with SweetPro from its earliest years. Mitch oversees both SweetPro and ProBiotein® production. He is the City of Walhalla Fire Chief and loves the North Dakota lifestyle, including fishing, hunting, gardening and beet harvesting in Fall.
Kansas Plant ManagerMax Olson
Max Olson is the Kansas Plant Manager. With over 30 years of feed mill management, Max has brought high levels of operational expertise and efficiency to our SweetPro block manufacturing process. Max loves golfing, hunting, fishing and officiating sports. He and his wife Dorrine have 5 grown children, seven grandchildren and live in the Sabetha, KS area.