Each employee has been specifically chosen based on the talent, experience, and personality he or she brings to the larger team. We strive to empower each employee to contribute ideas through our open communication policy, monthly plant manager check-in meetings, and fully transparent processes. We believe that we’ve hand-selected the greatest pecan operators and team out there. We have diverse and great talents and a culture that is based on a mix of innovation, energy, experience and knowledge.
We’re committed to leveraging our expansive food processing industry knowledge to create an atmosphere where all collaborative experience is valued and utilized. Success breeds success, and we’re poised to build upon the success of the entire industry.
“New Aces is the best of all words — family roots with state-of-the-art innovation. Our streamlined operation, professionalism and customer service are what drives us to succeed; ultimately, it’s why my brother and I invested.”
– Louis Biad, Partner
Don and Louis have deep roots in Rio Grande Valley agriculture. Their family owns Biad Chili Co and the Biads began working there while they were still in school and helped to grow the business which sells dehydrated chile and paprika all over the country. Through this, they have developed relationships with several large named food companies. Over the years Biad Chili Co has been able to expanded their processing plants from one to three.
In 1992 the Biads founded Rezolex, one of the only oleoresin paprika producers in the United States. Since the beginning of Biad Chili Co in 1960, these businesses have offered the opportunity for the Biads to forge the strong grower relationships that now serve them well at New Aces.
New Aces continues the Biads’ opportunities to work in agriculture and still diversify. Don and Louis didn’t want to pass up the chance to establish New Aces with John Potter and Tony Browning. Not only is New Aces based in their hometown, but it is at the heart of the best pecan growing region in the world. New Aces gives the Biads the opportunity to build upon their decades-long relationships with the local ag community.
Don earned his degree from New Mexico State University while working at Biad Chili Co., his family business. After graduating in 1993, he became the head of plant operations and shipments for Biad Chili, eventually working his way up the ladder to managing partner. Over the past twenty years, Biad Chili products have been used in spices, seasonings, batter, breading, and many other products. Don has formed strong ties with industrial food manufacturers, customers, and growers, and these relationships have been tremendously beneficial during these early years for New Aces.
Utilizing his experience, New Aces plant operations is off to a great start. Don has leaned on his beliefs that precise scheduling is the source of plant efficiency. The team goal is to create a cost-effective system, from procurement through processing, while providing the highest quality products available. Don lives in Las Cruces with his wife and four children.
Louis worked at Biad Chili Co. while attaining his degree from New Mexico State University in Chemistry.
After finishing his degree, Louis moved to Rezolex as managing partner. From the extract of paprika, Rezolex produces an all-natural, domestic food coloring for use in snack foods, meats and dairy products that takes the place of synthetic colorings. Rezolex offers Louis the opportunity to put his chemistry background to use, given the scientific nature of any agriculture or food based business. In fact, Rezolex walks the fine line between stream lined efficiency and still being able to satisfy all of their customer’s quality needs and expectations.
At New Aces, Louis oversees plant operations and works closely with the quality control department to ensure the safety of its quality products.
To Louis, the people who make up the team are the most important part of any businesses. He is particularly proud that New Aces is able to help the Las Cruces economy by providing jobs and further activity to the agricultural community. Louis lives in Las Cruces with his wife and five children.
Fatima and Tony were a strong team from the start.
Tony grew up among philosophers and academics in Austin, Texas. Following in his father’s footsteps, he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin; however, there was always an entrepreneurial spirit within him. After a stint as a writer in Spain, he went to business school at the University of Arizona.
After graduate school he moved to Mexico, where he entered the agribusiness industry by founding a chile and pecan brokerage business.
“Tony had the ability to build a business out of nothing,” Fatima says.
In 1996, Fatima and Tony married and moved to Brazil to follow Fatima’s engineering career and to be closer to her family in Rio de Janeiro. During those first five years, Tony focused on the chile business, which is how he met Don and Louis Biad. He started brokering pecans and crossed paths with John Potter by happenstance. In 2004, they formed New Aces, Inc, a pecan marketing company.
Tony’s innovative, entrepreneurial and persuasive spirit helped persuade John Potter to leverage his almond relationships and see the opportunity in the pecan business. After several years, Tony began expressing the need for 360-degree control: By handling the entire process, from the field to processing to marketing, New Aces could deliver the utmost quality to their customers.
Once the Biads agreed to come on board and the Las Cruces plant was secured, New Aces Pecan Company officially launched in 2013.
Tony was on site to see the first run in March 2014, just days before his passing on April 19, 2014. Fatima and his two young daughters, Camila and Marina, are particularly proud of Tony’s legacy in the chile and pecan industry. “He felt so loved and honored by the Biads and John Potter,” Fatima says. “The plant truly reenergized him for the last part of his life. He loved it.”
“We are simply honoring and seeing Tony’s vision through,” John Potter says. “The pecan industry will never be the same because of Tony and his relentless passion for innovation. We consider Fatima, Camila, and Marina a vital part of our business. When Tony approached us about his illness, we proceeded as originally planned and made the commitment to him and his family. We’re all in this together.”
John Potter has always taken a different approach to sales and marketing in the ag market, from his first specialty foods business in sundried tomatoes to sales and marketing pecans for New Aces.
Potter started New Aces Pecan Marketing Group in 2005 to service a budding pecan industry and focus on the domestic and export sales of pecans. After eight years, his partner Tony Browning was adamant they open their own state-of-the-art pecan processing plant to manage the process holistically from the field to shipping, ensuring top quality. As a veteran in the California almond industry, John thought, “Why not pecans, too?”
It’s an approach that has served him well throughout his entire career. Potter was born and raised in an agricultural community among the fields and orchards of Patterson, California. He graduated from Santa Clara University and majored in economics.
After graduating in 1993, Potter began working in ag real estate. The next year, he founded John Potter Specialty Foods, primarily producing and shipping sundried tomatoes. It was his first of many businesses, which grew to include Orchard Valley Harvest, a retail dried fruit and nut packing company (sold to John B Sanfilippo & Son Inc. in 2010); Premier Nut, an almond processor; Woods Transplant Service, specializing in growing greenhouse tomato plants and Innovative Sales Inc., a dried fruit and nut brokerage company. Innovative Sales Inc. has continued to grow exponentially with the expanding almond industry, currently breaking into new markets throughout Asia, India, Europe and the Middle East.
His decades of sales experience as a retailer, processer, and packager came together in 2013 with the start of New Aces, Inc. Potter founded the company with Don and Louis Biad and Tony Browning. They share a common ability to see outside the box and identify opportunity within the pecan industry. Their shared vision has manifested in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the heart of both native pecan land and the Southwest.
An active philanthropist and mentor, Potter lives in Modesto with his wife and daughter.
Paul grew up in the in pecans business. He has been extensive experience growing, harvesting, cleaning, buying, selling and shelling inshell pecans. Paul’s family has been living in southern New Mexico since the early 1900s, and his father began growing pecans in the 1960s in the Mesilla Valley.
Paul studied ag economics at New Mexico State University and began purchasing and marketing pecans on the side in 1964. In the early 1970s he started buying pecans for Young Pecan, which was interested in diversifying into Western varieties. After a major crop failure in the South, Young Pecan hired Paul to manage their Southwest inshell operation. Paul worked for Young Pecan for the next 38 years, eventually becoming the general manager of the company’s Las Cruces shelling plant in 1997.
Paul retired from Young Pecan and went on to work for New Aces; where he manages the buying of inshell pecans and grower relations. Paul relies on his decades-long relationships and trust he’s built with growers throughout New Mexico, west Texas, Arizona and northern Mexico. As a result from these relationships, he is able to acquire the highest-quality crops.
Growers have come to expect fair market prices, honest grades and weights, timely pickups, and quick payment from Paul and New Aces.
“There’s plenty of pecans around, so as long as you’ve done business with growers you know, you can rely on them,” one he says. “Consistent quality and loyalty are the two most important aspects of my job.” Paul lives in Las Cruces with his wife. He has three daughters and works closely with his son in their harvesting and farming business, Sun Gro.
As the Quality Assurance Manager, Humberto has been critical in developing innovative and fastidious quality control practices from the first New Aces run in 2014.
Humberto started his career at Green Valley Pecan Company before transitioning to New Aces. A certified trainer by the International HACCP Alliance, Humberto has implemented rigorous food safety practices while establishing the New Aces Quality Assurance department. With a decade of experience in the pecan shelling industry, Humberto has developed process controls, laboratory testing methods, thermal processing validation, and domestic and international regulatory compliance. Humberto has secured the prestigious SQF Level II certification in just one year of operation.
A member of the Institute of Food Technologists, Academy of Science and Engineering, Humberto works extensively to ensure that New Aces is shipping the highest quality product possible, meeting customers specifications in the most of demanding of markets, including Japan, Korea, and the European Union.
Prior to entering the pecan industry, Humberto worked in a medical lab while earning his degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. Humberto now lives in Las Cruces, NM with wife.
Sonja Roeder is the type of person who knows how to order a helicopter and get it to the top of a remote peak. A former volunteer operations coordinator for a mountain rescue team, she makes the seemingly impossible possible.
At New Aces, she performs similar feats of logistical acrobatics for the company’s customers. In her role as the inventory manager and director of logistics, she makes sure New Aces customers get the quality product the company is known for — no matter what.
After graduating from college with degrees in business and German, Sonja started her career working for a German bank on Wall Street. She decided to take a season off to stay with her parents at their home in Vail, Colorado. One season turned into many seasons, and Sonja spent 10 years working in the hospitality sales industry there. She also started volunteering for Vail Mountain Rescue, quickly becoming known for her organizational skills and calm under pressure.
She transitioned into working in logistics in the transportation industry, spending 11 years developing her logistics skills, but was courted to New Mexico by a friend who worked for Tony Browning, New Aces founding partner and visionary.
During the past eight years, Sonja has helped New Aces evolve from a full service pecan marketing and sales business into a full-service shelling company. She is known for her prompt replies to emails and phone calls and her uncanny knack for getting product shipped on time.
She maintains and controls inventory levels at New Aces Pecan Company warehouses in Las Cruces, New Mexico; El Paso, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Kearney, New Jersey; and in the United Kingdom. Maintaining product throughout the United States and at a European base allows New Aces to respond quickly to customer demand and saves customers money on transportation costs.
Sonja’s responsibilities extend to shipping containers overseas, and she continues to improve customer documentation and traceability.
Sonja lives in Las Cruces with her dog, Maisy.
As the company’s director of operations and finance, John Sniffen has been instrumental in its steady and sustainable growth.
John has more than 30 years of experience in the food and ag industries, beginning with Nestle Beverage Company, where he worked first as an accountant and then as a plant controller. He joined Del Monte Foods as a cost manager, eventually becoming the company’s manager of strategic initiatives and the director of supply chain. At Del Monte, he supervised a staff of 20 and an annual budget of $2.7 million. He was responsible for the global company’s sales and marketing forecasting and production planning, which totaled $1.3 billion across multiple product segments.
He next joined Orchard Valley Harvest as chief operating officer, helping to grow the company from $22 million to $70 million in just five years. While there, he once again drew on his expertise in plant planning, installation, and expansion to complete a new production facility and a plant expansion on time and on budget.
When Orchard Valley Harvest was acquired, John managed the successful transition and kept the company’s growth moving forward: The brand exceeded three net sales incentive targets within two years. John also negotiated the company’s supply agreement with Safeway, its largest customer.
Now with New Aces, John provides the perspective that has served him well over the course of his career. He has been integral to New Aces’ ability to procure and provide product over the course of the entire calendar year. His work on the company’s cutting-edge plant has set a new bar in the industry.
John lives with his wife in Modesto. They have three grown children and spend their spare time enjoying as much live music as possible.
Paul Veyette has over 30 years working in ag sales because even the most successful growers are down-to-earth: No matter what, he’s deals one-on-one with people who spend their days on the land, not toiling away in some remote corporate office.
As New Aces’ director of sales, Paul is in charge of making pecans the new almonds — constantly in demand, always delivering great returns.
The nut market now is much different than it was when he started in the 1980s. Paul grew up in New York and moved to Arizona after his marriage, and has been in sales his entire career. While working in television advertising, his manager opened a nut and dried fruit company, and Paul became the company’s exclusive distributor in Arizona.
After nine years, he moved to California to take a job with California Nut Shellers. He later sold for Paramount Farms and Campos Brothers Farms, gaining extensive experience in almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and prunes.
He worked as a self-employed broker from 2000 to 2003, then became the vice president of sales for Harris Woolf Almonds. He moved to New Aces in 2013.
Paul has learned how to read the market over the years, paying attention to the subtleties and taking advantage of them early. He has built a team of highly experienced sales reps; together, they plan on capturing the market for pecans while accommodating customers at the highest level.
Paul lives in Southern California with his family.
"The best part of being involved with New Aces is the people we work with. Everyone treats each other with respect and recognizes the different strengths we bring to the table."
- John Sniffen, Director of Operations