The Speakers

Maile Gradison Hermida

Hogan Lovells - Washington D.C.

Food Regulatory Update: FDA Inspections, Enforcement, and NEW Regulations (1.5 CEUs)

This presentation will provide updates on what's new with FDA, and what should be on the radar for everyone in the bottled water industry in 2020 and beyond. Ms. Hermida will discuss FDA's Preventive Controls inspections and what you need to do to be prepared so your facility can do well during your next inspection. she also will discuss FDA's current enforcement priorities and significant recent enforcement actions. Discussion will also include other new FDA initiatives and regulations, including efforts on laboratory accreditation and labeling issues affecting bottled water companies. Don't miss these important updates from Washington so you can stay on top of all of the latest and greatest developments. 

When it comes to solving the challenges facing the food industry and their trade associations, Maile handles it all. She has considerable experience with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), having worked with numerous companies and trade associations on all aspects of the law since the day it was signed. She translates her in-depth knowledge of FSMA into practical solutions for companies working on implementation strategies. She also frequently presents training related to FSMA compliance and preparedness. Reflecting her deep involvement with all things FSMA, Maile is a Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) Lead Instructor for the Preventive Controls for Human Food Trainer for Trainers.

Maile is known for helping companies become and remain compliant with regulations overseen by federal agencies such as the FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). She helps companies navigate tough situations involving product recalls, government inspections, and other enforcement actions such as Warning Letters and import detentions.

Maile also provides clients with advice on public policy issues and strategies for affecting regulatory change. She has vast experience advocating to FDA, including preparing comments on agency rulemakings.

Additionally, Maile helps clients with food labeling requirements and the development of labels and advertising claims.

Maile is a frequent speaker and contributor to industry publications. Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, she served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Charles F. Lettow of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Maile graduated with high honors from the Georgetown Washington University Law School, where she served as executive editor of The George Washington Law Review. Maile received her B.S. from Tulane University, summa cum laude, 2004. Maile has Bar admissions to the District of Columbia and Virginia. She was named "Rising star Maile Hermida for her deep understanding of the FSMA" by Chambers USA in 2015.


Harassment Training for 2020 - Protecting yourself, your company and doing the right thing (1.5 CEUs)

This is a very timely subject considering today's cultural climate. This presentation deals with not only recognizing sexual harassment in our workplaces but all varieties of harassment. It also covers concrete steps to address these issues in a proactive manner. Much like enforcing any rule, our expectations on this subject must be clearly communicated for the safety of all employees and the Company. Be sure to bring your employees and add this class to their company training log. 

Jason Roberts is President of Jackson-Roberts LLC. For thirteen years he owned and operated Cedar Canyon Bottled Water in the Portland, Oregon area, a full-service HOD and contract small pack bottled water company. After the business sold in 2008, he entered the inspection field and started Jackson-Roberts LLC, a company that provides third-party auditing, food safety plan creation, and bottled water consulting services. Mr. Roberts is certified in HACCP, BRC, SQF, and is a preventative-controls qualified individual (PCQI).

Jason Roberts

Jackson-Roberts LLC

Clay Bell

Melwood Springs Water Company

Plastics & Green - New Innovations Supporting Industry Change & Sustainability (1CEU)


Doing Our Part, the Green Packaging - new green packaging ideas and becoming ecofriendly. Discussion on new innovative ideas - the cost of being eco-friendly - going forward in closed-loop recycling. Beyond Plastic, what is in the future of bottled water? 

Clay Bell is Vice President and General manger Melwood Springs Water Company where he oversees daily operations and sales for the Blue Ridge Georgia facility. He has 39 years in the Beverage industry with Shasta Beverage, Pepsi Cola, and Melwood Springs Water Co. Clay is a member of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), President of the Southeastern Bottled Water Association (SEBWA) and a Certified Bottled Water Plant Operator, PCQI qualified. Clay lives in Blue Ridge Georgia with his wife Tamme where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren. Clay is also an avid beekeeper maintaining 50 hives. 

State of the Bottled Water Industry (1 CEU)

The Keynote Address, presented by Robert Smith, recently elected IBWA Chair and President/CEO of Grand Springs Dist., will provide the statics of the industry but also focus on what IBWA actually does for everyone in the industry (members and non-members alike). As an example, because of IBWA's efforts, no one in America is paying a tariff on water coolers being imported into the USA from China. Robert will provide actual examples of how IBWA has helped every bottled water manufacturer and distributor in America. He will present real-life stories of what has happened to some companies because they lacked the knowledge needed to be in the bottled water mfg. business.

Robert started his career in the baking industry driving a bread delivery truck in Georgia, quickly being promoted to a supervisory position and then Divisional Sales manager of Colonial Baking Company in Macon, Georgia and later accepting the position of Director of Sales at Colonial Baking Company of Gulfport Miss. Robert changed careers in 1983, pursuing a career with Standard Coffee Service Company in New Orleans where he served as Division Manager for Standard Coffee over the southeast region. In 1988, Robert and his wife Peggy elected to start their own Coffee Service Company in North Carolina and by 1992, Robert saw the potential in bottled water and added bottled water to the coffee service business. As they say, the rest is history. Over the next few years, the bottled water part of the business grew at such a rate that Robert began looking to start a bottling plant. In 1998, Robert established Central Carolina bottling Company, Inc., which later became Grand Springs Dist.

During Robert's time in the bottled water industry, he has always been a member of The South Atlantic Bottled Water Association serving on its board of directors and being President of the association for several years. Robert has also been a member of the International Bottled Water Association for more than 20 years serving on every committee at IBWA at one time or another. Robert has Chaired the State and Regional Association Committee, The Membership Committee, The Government Relations Committee and the Political Action Committee. Robert has served on the IBWA Board of Directors and IBWA Executive Committee for several years. He served as Vice Chairman of the International Bottled Water Association and was elected Chairman of the International Bottled Water Association in November of 2019 at the IBWA meeting in Anaheim California.

Robert A. Smith

President & CEO Grand Springs, Dist.

Stefanie Allweiss

Gotcha Covered HR

Attracting and Retaining Great Employees -

Would YOU Work for YOU? (1 CEU)

We all want the best people working for us. During this presentation, you will have a great opportunity to take a hard look at yourself and your new hires, take a look at what you have to offer that others don't, and learn what will separate you from the pack and make you shine?

Stefanie J. Allweiss co-founded Gotcha Covered HR, a women-owned human resources consulting firm, in 2014 for the express purpose of helping local companies and their employees thrive.

Stefanie graduated cum laude from Tulane University School of Law in 1980. She practiced labor and employment law for 25 years in New Orleans, as a partner with McCalla Thompson, and then with Fisher & Phillips. She litigated employment-related matters and conducted independent investigations of discrimination and harassment complaints. Stefanie later served as Executive Director of Employee Relations and equity for Tulane University; a position specially created for her. Stefanie sat on the panel of mediators/arbitrators for ADR Inc. and conducted pro-bono mediations for the EEOC's Regional office. Stefanie has trained as a "Coach" to Louisiana Charter School Boards and assisted schools on governance issues. 

Stefanie is active in the New Orleans community, having served on myriad of non-profit Boards during her career, including the ADL (Anti-Defamation League); the JCC (Jewish Community Center) and FED (Foundation for Education and Development - a human rights organization to assist Burmese). Most recently Stefanie acted as Co-Chair and "Coach" of the Board of Take Paws Rescue and has saved and adopted many rescue dogs.


The 3 P's with Star Solutions - How to be extra-ordinary with your Products, Paperwork, and Planning (1 CEU)

Velma Roppolo founded Star Solutions, Inc. in 1998 and takes pride in being President and CEO of the chemical supplier who serves the bottled water industry exclusively. managing the financial and technical part of the business, Roppolo enjoys working with customers to address cleaning issues, equipment issues, and problems. 

Prior to Star Solutions, Inc., Roppolo established LS SOLUTIONS in 1987, serving as its President. She was a sales manager for two major corporations and was involved in chemical sales for a Fortune 500 company, where she began calling on bottled water companies in 1983.

A member of the various bottled water organizations since 1987, Roppolo has served on many technical committees and recently completed a term as President of the Mid-America Bottled Water Association (MABWA). In her free time, Roppolo enjoys dancing, reading and traveling, with stops in Italy, France, Sicily, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Estonia. 

Velma Roppolo

Star Solutions, Inc.

Rudy Ramon

Artesia Springs Water

An Internal Look at the Customer Onboarding Experience (1 CEU)

Once the customer has said "yes to the water" how easy is it for them to onboard with your company? In this day of "you can have anything in two days," the customer's first few encounters can quickly decide your fate. If the customer feels let down during onboarding, then the journey ahead could be precarious. Onboarding is the initial stage in the customer journey. You need to provide the right support and resources to facilitate a positive customer experience. Brian will cover some steps to think through your customer onboarding process - from the moment of purchase to before the customer sees their first value, you need to provide the right support and resources. Once the customer sees the positive impact and value of your product and service, then their onboarding process is complete. 

Brian Rose is President of Water Event. He started in the bottled water industry thirty-five years ago after seven successful years with a Fortune 500 company specializing in auditing, acquisitions, and subsidiary management. Brian has served the bottled water industry as President of the MABWA for two terms and has been Secretary/Treasurer of the association for decades. He has also served as President of the Texas Water Quality Association. Brian currently is a board member for both MABWA and TWQA. Briand as his wife Sharon live in Flower Mound, Texas and have two daughters. Shelby is a middle school math teacher in Plano, Texas and Kelly is a junior at Oklahoma University pursuing a degree in Communications and Advertising. 

Steve Taylor

Director, Mountain Valley Spring Company

Bottler / Distributor Round Table / Workshop Discussion (1 CEU)

This Bottler/Distributor Q&A Discussion will be moderated by Malone Garrett, CEO Nantze Spring, Inc., Dothan, AL; Craig Brewton, President AquaOne, and Philip Parmer, Vice President, Parmer Water Co. These three long-time industry professionals will open up the floor to a discussion on problems and more importantly solutions to these problems, issues, and challenges facing bottlers and distributors today. The agenda will be driven by questions and concerns posed by our attendees in advance and is sure to lead to better practices in your business. 


Malone Garrett is the CEO of Nantze Spring, Inc. in Dothan, Alabama. The company produces an array of different sizes of water and flavored water under its own brands, Nantze also is a co-packer for many national and regional companies. 


Malone earned his BA in business at Auburn University in Dothan and his MBA from Troy State University. While working on his masters, Malone's final thesis was on bottled water where he completed and graduated in 1990. Malone and his wife Kathy have three children, Iverson, Jack and Amelia. Malone is the current Vice President of SEBWA, on the Executive Board of Allied Purchasing, and is a Past President of SEBWA. He has been involved in the Bottled Water Industry for nearly 30 years. 


Craig has been the President of AquaOne for the last 9 years and was the CFO prior to taking that position. AquaOne has branches in Amarillo, Lubbock, Abilene, and Wichita Falls Texas. Craig is a graduate from West Texas A&M University with a bachelor's in accounting and Finance. Before entering the water industry, Craig was an accountant in Amarillo where he focused on Audit and Corporate taxes. He earned his CPA in 2003.


Philip Parmer is the Vice President and owner of Parmer Water Company. Parmer Water has been doing business in Georgia and Alabama since 1985. Philip lives in LAGRANGE Georgia with his wife Wendy of 37 years and they have 3 adult children. Philip enjoys traveling, playing golf and spending time on their farm with their children and 5 grandchildren. 

CBD Water and What it Can Mean to Your Company

We all got into the water business for various reasons. For me, it was to help folks by providing a healthy product. The future is wide open for CBD water, and if being a part of a new product like CBD does not get your excited, I'll need to check you for a pulse. Rudy along with his partner Austin Ruple of Purisolabs will introduce you to a great product that will not only enhance your bottom line, but it will truly help people. 

Artesia Springs partnered with Purisolabs to produce a CBD water. Rudy began working with CBD over 2 years ago not to sell the product, but to help his daughter Sofia with her seizures. The doctors had her on Kepra, a medicine that would make her very agitated and aggressive. The CBD has not only helped with a calming effect, but it has helped with her seizures. Sofia has been cutting back now to the point that she no longer takes prescribed medicine for her challenge. 

Rudy Ramon started in the bottled water industry over 25 years ago. He got his start with a company called Strias Waters (John Cooke), then worked for Sparkling Spring of Chicago, and subsequently Music Mountain Water (Marcus Wren), before establishing his own company Artesia Springs in 2004.

Brian Rose

President Water Event

Increasing Route Revenue, Margin and Usage through Ancillary Product Strategy

Steve Taylor, Director of the Mountain Valley Spring Company Home and office Direct Division, will talk about ways you can increase route revenue, margins, and usage through an ancillary product strategy. Throughout Steve's nearly 40-year tenure in the Bottled Water Industry, he has understood the important role Ancillary Products contribute to successful route sales performance. 

Steve oversees the 150-year-old Mountain Valley brand in nearly 100 Independent Distributors and 134 Parent Company; DS Services branch Operations across North America. Mountain Valley is a member is IBWA where Steve has served as a past committee member. Steve serves as the current Mid-America Bottled Water Association (MABWA) Vice President and has been on the Board of Directors for a number of years. He is also a member of Southeastern Bottled Water Association (SEBWA).

When not traveling, Steve enjoys camping, fishing, and hunting with one or more of his four children, their spouses, or his five grandchildren. You might also find him admiring shiny objects at a Good Guys Car Show or collector car auction around the country. 

Malone Garrett
Craig Brewton
Philip Parmer

2020 Joint MAbWA, SEBWA, SABWA
Convention & Trade Show
P.O. Box 1747
Dripping Springs, TX 78737
512.894.4106 P
512.858.0486 F
512.406.1167 C