Better Made hires David Jones as new president

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
David Jones began work as Better Made's president earlier this month.

Better Made said Friday it has hired David Jones, a 40-year snack foods industry veteran, as its new president.

Jones, 66, replaced Mark Winkelman, 55, on July 2. Winkelman said his last day was May 15, when he said the family-owned snack foods producer asked him to leave. He told The Detroit News that the Detroit-based company told him it wanted to go in a new direction, though it would not specify what that was.

"They asked me to leave that day then and there on the spot," said Winkelman, who left after two stints at Better Made that total 13 years. "I was very surprised. There was no inclination that it was coming."

A Better Made spokesman said the company had no further comments beyond a news release announcing the Jones' hire.

Winkelman said the company had record revenues for the past three years as it expanded its market beyond Michigan. Earlier this month, the company said it had extended its product into 14 other states as well as Japan and Qatar. In 2016, it brought in $70 million.

Calling Jones a "good operations guy," Winkelman said he had a passing acquaintance with the new president, while working together on the board of directors for SNAC International, the snack food trade association.

Jones brings 33 years of experience from Birmingham, Alabama's Golden Flake Snack Foods Inc., where he was executive vice president of operations. His LinkedIn profile says he retired at the end of last year. Prior to Golden Flake, he worked for Frito-Lay for more than six years.

Better Made also recently hired Mark Daraban, 64, as its new warehouse manager. Daraban previously worked as the transportation and operations manager from Detroit-based Uncle Ray's Potato Chips, where he served for 17 years.

“We’re very excited to have both men join the Better Made team,” Better Made CEO Sal Cipriano said in a statement. “Each brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, and will help us in moving the company forward in the coming years.”

Winkelman said he is searching for a new job, though he would like to stay in the food industry. He said he still thinks highly of his former employer.

"They make a great product," he said. "They are an icon of Detroit and will be for years to come."