Americas

Frank Bergonzi
CEO and President, Americas

Frank Bergonzi joined Azelis in 2015. He was the President & CEO of KODA Distribution Group from 2012 and in 2015, following the acquisition of KDG Holdings, Inc. by Azelis, Mr. Bergonzi was appointed CEO & President Azelis Americas. Prior to that, Mr. Bergonzi was the Director of Corporate Distribution North America Chemicals and Plastics at BASF.

Mr. Bergonzi served on the board of the National Association of Chemical Distributors and as chairman of the supplier advisory panel, in addition to his role as a board trustee of the Chemical Education Fund. He is also an active member in the Chemical Club of New England, the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, the American Coatings Association and the Drug, Chemical and Associated Trade.

Mr. Bergonzi holds a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Connecticut.

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Trae Etre
Trae Etre
Chief Financial Officer, Americas

Trae has 19 years experience in Corporate Finance/Accounting. He began his career in public accounting working primarily with clients in wholesale distribution, and consumer and financial services. For the past 3  years, Trae has been the Vice President of Planning and Analysis for Azelis Americas. Prior to that , Trae was  CFO of Azelis Americas’ Specialty Ag division for 15 years.  In his career, he has played a key role in several business acquisitions, integrations and divestitures as well as several senior and subordinated debt refinancing events.  Trae holds a B.A. in Accounting from Assumption College and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Vuk Milojkovic
Vuk Milojkovic
Managing Director, Azelis US

Vuk has over 25 years of experience in the industrial chemicals and life science sectors including regional and global leadership roles. Prior to joining Azelis, Vuk led the North America Battery Materials business unit within the Catalyst Operating Division of BASF and served as CEO of the BASF Toda America LLC subsidiary. Earlier in his career, Vuk served as Business Director for BASF Dispersion, Resins and Additives for the automotive and industrial coatings market in North America. He also served as Sr. Manager, BASF Performance Materials of Global Strategy for the Polyurethane business. Vuk also spent nearly 10 years in sales and marketing roles within the Care Chemicals business of BASF, including portfolio and P&L responsibility for strategic products in Personal Care, Home Care and Industrial and Institutional (I&I) markets . His market knowledge as well as strategic and operational leadership expertise will be a driving force for continued profitable growth of Azelis Americas in the US.  Vuk will report directly to Frank Bergonzi, CEO and President, Americas.

Vuk holds an MBA in Marketing from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, Ontario and a BA in Business Administration from Whittier College in Whittier, CA

Jean-Pierre Pelchat
Jean-Pierre Pelchat
Managing Director, Azelis Canada

Having started in 1991 and promoted to Managing Director of Azelis Canada in 2016, Jean-Pierre Pelchat brings to Azelis Americas a unique coast to coast experience in Canadian distribution having worked both in Quebec and Alberta for the Canadian distributor Mackenzie & Feimann from 1981 to 1991. In addition to multiple management roles and former vice-president of the Quebec Association of Industrial Chemicals; Mr. Pelchat has extensive experience in Sales Management, Logistics and global Supply chain experience.

After completing a college degree in Science in the province of Quebec, Mr. Pelchat has earned his degree in Business Administration from the University of Calgary.

Eduardo Salinas
Managing Director, Latin America

Eduardo has over 30 years experience in the chemical and specialty chemical distribution business. Eduardo will lead Azelis’

expansion into Latin America and Mexico. Prior to joining Azelis, Eduardo was a co-founder of High Chem Specialties Mexico; a specialty chemical distributor in Mexico. Eduardo’s career started at Eastman Chemicals as Sales Manager than moved to Air Products as Business Manager for Latin America before running High Chem Specialties in Mexico City. Eduardo reports to Frank Bergonzi, CEO and President, Azelis Americas. 

Eduardo has a Chemical Engineering Degree from UNAM, Mexico City and an MBA from ITAM University of Mexico City.

Katherine Whalen
Katherine Whalen
Sr. Vice President General Counsel, Americas

Katherine Whalen joined Azelis in 2018 as VP General Counsel, Americas and is responsible for managing the legal affairs for North America. Prior to joining Azelis she held senior legal roles at LIN Media until its 2014 merger with Media General, Inc. She then continued as Deputy General Counsel of the combined company until 2017.

Ms. Whalen began her legal career as an associate in the Private Equity Practice groups at Edwards & Angell LLP (now Locke Lord LLP) and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.  She has a wide range of experience in business affairs and strategic corporate transactions.  Ms. Whalen has a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from Notre Dame Law School.

Islam Awad
Islam Awad
Sr. Vice President of Human Resources, Americas

Islam has over 20 years of experience in Human Resource. He began his career with Price Waterhouse Cooper in their Human Resources outsourcing business unit working with fortune 100 and 500 clients. For the past 12 years, Islam has held leadership roles in various global organizations including, Pentax and Hanjin Shipping. He has experience in manufacturing, IT, telecom, logistics and professional services organizations. In his career, he has played a key role in several business acquisitions, integrations and IPOs.

His passion is providing HR solutions to help organizations build a solid HR infrastructure through people, technology and compliance.

Islam holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Rutgers University. He is also certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR, SHRM-CP). Islam is an active member of many prominent HR organizations including the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Tom Wells
Tom Wells
Sr. Vice President, Corporate Operations, Americas

Tom has been with an Azelis Americas company since 2005. His most recent responsibility was as Sr. Vice President, Commercial Excellence. Prior to being the Sr. Vice President of Commercial Excellence,  Tom was the Vice President in the Specialty Ag distribution company ADAPCO. During the last 7 years at ADAPCO, Tom lead ADAPCO’s effort to grow top line sales and achieved gross profit growth of 50% and EBITDA growth of more than 400%. Tom has a Chemical Engineering degree from Purdue University and received his MBA from Colorado State. He began his career in Cincinnati as Production/Maintenance/Plant engineer with Henkel and then became a Marketing Spec./Brand Manager with Cognis Corporation. In addition to his stellar business career, Tom served as an officer for 11 years in the United States Army Reserves and completed one tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Company Commander. Tom will report directly to Frank Bergonzi, CEO and President, Americas.

Steve Hawthorne
Steve Hawthorne
Vice President of Information Technology, Americas

Steve joined the organization in 2014 and as VP, Information Technology, he is responsible for leading the company’s technology strategy and managing the delivery of all technology systems and services.  Prior to joining, Steve served as VP, Information Technology for Packaging Services, Inc, a private equity owned pharmaceutical packaging provider. In a prior role, Steve worked for Integra LifeSciences where he led a global business transformation program to consolidate legacy systems into a single ERP platform, harmonize business processes across acquired businesses, and provide a platform to expedite the integration of new acquisitions.  He started his career with Accenture where he spent 10 years leading large scale transformational programs within the chemicals and energy industries.  Steve is a graduate of Villanova University and holds a B.S. in Computer Science. Steve reports to the CFO, Trae Etre.

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Market Segment Leaders

Rocky Prior
Rocky Prior
Managing Director, CASE

Rocky has over 30 years of experience in the chemical and coatings industries where he has held senior level positions in research & development, manufacturing, sales, and distribution. An Ohio native, Rocky currently leads the commercial teams servicing the coatings, sealants, adhesives, elastomer, inks and plastics markets. Rocky was a recipient of the prestigious President’s Award in 2018. Rocky earned a BS in chemistry from Baldwin Wallace. 

Jesse Kreider
Jesse Kreider
Managing Director, CARE and H&IC

Jesse has 19 years of experience in the specialty chemical industry.  He joined Azelis through the acquisition of Ross Organic in 2017.  Prior to his time at Ross Organic and Azelis, he spent 14 years with Solvay in various roles that include plant engineering, product management, acquisition integration and sales and key account management.  Jesse is an active member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists.  He has a degree in chemical engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  

Steve Somers Jr.
Steve Somers Jr.
Managing Director, Vigon

Steve began his career at Goldman Sachs, working in real estate management in Hong Kong. Steve joined Vigon in 2011. He helped to build the organization into one of the industry’s fastest growing companies, leading the Sales, Marketing, Finance, and Purchasing teams as the Director of Commercial Activities. Steve became Managing Director of Vigon in September 2022.

Steve holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a BS in Corporate Finance and Accounting from Bentley University.

Jacqueline “Jacqui” Grisotti
Vice President, Food & Health, US and Canada

Jacqui has been involved in the food distribution business nearly 29 years. Starting her career at E.T. Horn she worked her way up to Vice President of the FoodTech group, where she managed the sales team by driving growth, as well as expanding and managing principal relationships. HORN was purchased by IMCD in 2018 and Jacqueline was awarded the job of North American Sales Director in 2019. Since then, she has been supporting the sales team, driving sales and implementing growth strategies. 
 
Jacqui has a Bachelor of Science, Food & Health, from CalPoly University, Pomona.

Martin Hernandez
Martin Hernandez
General Director, Azelis Mexico

Martin has been the General Director of Azelis Mexico for 26 years. Martin started at Megafarma in March 1994 as Commercial Manager of the Veterinary Area and in December 1994 he was appointed General Director.

Previously, Martin was the Commercial Manager of the Pharmachemical Products Division of the Novum Group. From 1984 to 1989, he served as the Technical Service and Sales Manager of Esquim for the raw material areas for the manufacture of epoxy and phenolic resins, as well as raw materials for the Food and Veterinary area.

Martin has been President of the Manufacturers of Farmochemicals in Canacintra and Vice President of the Chemical Council of Canacintra. Currently he is the President of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education of Mexico.

Martin has a Chemical Engineer graduated from La Salle University and did a Business Diploma at the University of Houston.

Holly Daley
Holly Daley
Managing Director, Azelis US Essential Chemicals / LM & F / Pharma

Holly Daley has over 20 years of experience in Chemical Distribution. Holly began her career in GE’s Technical Sales Program (Houston, TX) after several years Holly joined Monson Companies. Holly’s experience and career flourished with Monson as it transitioned via acquisition from a commodity distributor to a specialty chemical distributor. As Senior VP of Specialties for the past 8 years, Holly spent a great deal of her time shaping Monson’s position in the specialties space and worked closely with key Supplier Partners. Additionally, Holly was responsible for Monson’s small Life Sciences Business Unit. In February 2017, Holly returned to run Marcor and the newly formed Food and Health Market Segment.  Previously from December 2014 to December 2015, Holly was  Executive VP/General Manager of Marcor.   Holly has a BS from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 

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Jason Thrumbetta
Jason Thrumbetta
Managing Director, ADAPCO & Red River

Jason has 15 years of experience in the specialty chemical business.  A  Pennsylvania native, Jason has experience in specialty chemicals from the services, manufacturing, and distribution disciplines.   Jason currently sits on the board of the American Mosquito Control Association as the Industry Director and is an active member in the Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE).  Jason has an MBA from Florida State University and a BSc in Environmental Resource Management/Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.