Executive Team

STEVE VILLANI

CEO

Steve Villani is a thirty-three year veteran in the beer industry. His formative years were spent holding various sales and marketing positions with Anheuser-Busch from 1986 to 2006. There he was able to develop disciplines such as Chain Account Sales, Field Management, Geographic Marketing and Shelf Space management. This led to him holding various wholesaler senior management positions.

Shortly before acquiring  Global Beer Network in 2007,  Steve served as of VP and General Manager of Brown Distributing Company in West Palm Beach, Florida. Ultimately, in an effort  to get closer to family and friends in the Greater Boston Area, he took a Sales Director position with Crown Imports based out of New York.

In an effort to close the gap completely he started seeking out opportunities to acquire an existing business to own and develop. He stumbled upon Global Beer Network and quickly researched the brands. The first one he sought out was Gulden Draak and after taking his first sip…the search was over!

If anyone has shared a toast with Steve, they know that his passion for our independent family-owned breweries is incomparable.

“Selling these beers goes beyond selling a liquid. The story and history behind the families that have nurtured these breweries for centuries is the driving sales point behind these brands.  I take my role of helping these brewers pass the family business down to the next generation healthier than when they got it very seriously” – Steve Villani

BELGIAN BEER KNIGHT

STEVE VILLANI CEO

NICK CHMIELINSKI

COO & CFO

Nick joined Global Beer Network in May of 2021 after spending the previous 6 years at PwC working his way to the role of Senior Associate. 

As well as being a CPA with a Masters in Accounting, Nick's critical thinking ability brings great value to our organization as we overcome one of the most volatile times in our industry.

Although new to the beer industry, he is no stranger to beer culture as his passion for travel has landed him at both Germany’s Oktoberfest and Belgium’s Beer Weekend in Brussels.

In his spare time Nick enjoys seeking out good eats and breaking bread with friends…preferably with a pilsner in hand.

NICK CHMIELINSKI COO & CFO

CHRISTY HANSON

PRESIDENT

Christy Hanson is a 20 year veteran of the beverage industry. While living in Colorado, she spent ten years split equally between Beverage Distributors (now Breakthru Beverage) and CR Goodman as a sales consultant.  Starting her career with Beverage Distributors, gave her the opportunity of beer selling a full book of beer, wine and spirits. Her passion for beer, lead her to CR Goodman, where she began focusing on import beers. She was hooked!

Christy joined Global beer Network in 2011 as our third team member and moved to Houston, TX to assume the role of Regional Sales Manager in our Southwest market. Her energy and impact to our sales team was dynamic and immediate and the state of Texas remains one of our fastest growing markets to this day.

In 2014 Christy became our West Coast Sales Director and Chain Account Manager.  In the last 5 years she developed a true passion for offering programming that tells the unique stories of all of our amazing breweries. By partnering with on and off-premise retailers eager to captivate their customers with an authentic import experience, these programs have made a tremendous impact in the marketplace.

As Vice President of Sales her strong belief in consistent communication and follow through makes her valuable in all phases of our supply chain.

Despite her travel frequency Christy always manages time for a quick hike or jog. She is an avid lover of all animals, particularly her two German Shepherds, Gus and Harper and her tiny dog Porter.

BELGIAN BEER KNIGHT

CHRISTY HANSON President

DAN LEEMAN

VICE PRESIDENT OF SALE & MARKETING

Dan Leeman became the first member of our sales team in 2009, representing Brewery Van Steenberge in New York City. He spent the five previous years working at an off-premise retailer in the Boston Area. There he noticed that most successful suppliers took the time to understand the clientele and educate their staff.

Dan joined the online marketing firm Exclusive Concepts as a Sales Associate in 2008, where he learned the fundamentals of online marketing including blogging, SEO and web development. While enjoying a Gulden Draak with colleagues at the famed Publick House in Boston, he had a chance run in with brewmaster Jef Versele and our COO, Cliff Lusso and the rest is history.

He went on to become our Northeast Sales and Marketing Manager from 2010 to 2014 and then our Northeast Sales Director up until January of 2019. His experience working with our wholesale network from Tennessee to Maine and as far west as Ohio gives him a firm understanding of how our brands can succeed in vastly different markets.

As our Vice President of Marketing, he is passionate about our brands and makes a concerted effort to understand the subtle details of our breweries and their brands to ensure they are being presented accurately in the marketplace.  

Based in NYC, Dan loves spending time with his family in Boston and Long Island and drives between the two locations often. He enjoys traveling with his wife and checking out new bars and restaurants. If your establishment has a meat and cheese board…he is probably going to order it.

BELGIAN BEER KNIGHT

DAN LEEMAN VP of Sales & Marketing

Sales Team

NATASHA VESPER

DIRECTOR NATIONAL ACCOUNTS

Natasha Vesper first joined GBN in 2011 during an internship where she supported our sales efforts in Philadelphia, alongside Origlio Beverage. In 2012, she accepted a full time position as our Regional Sales Manager in California and today is one of the most senior members of our team.

A Pittsburgh native, Natasha built a foundational knowledge of the industry working in restaurants steadily through high school and college. She developed a wealth of knowledge about our portfolio at one of the first dedicated Belgian Beer programs in the country, Sharp Edge.

She has since visited Belgium multiple times and is further inspired by the history and depth of passion of our breweries. Although she enjoys day to day sales, she is genuinely motivated to grow our historic breweries for the next generation.

Natasha enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking and being in nature. It is fitting that her favorite style of beers are sours, which are brews that are most dependent on their surrounding environment!

NATASHA VESPER Director National Accounts

SHAHAN STEPANIAN

DIRECTOR BUSINESS ANALYTICS

Shahan Stepanian joined our team in 2012 with an extensive background in bars and restaurants. His relationship with GBN started during his time as the beverage manager at the Belgian restaurant B Café, in New York’s Upper West Side. During his tenure there he began to understand Belgian beer and developed a true partnership with our sales team.

With a Master of Science in Social Research, Shahan’s ability to gather, sort and analyze data helps us in all facets of our business.  He is the consummate team player and is always willing to spend extra time to help our team succeed. His favorite part of selling imports is that, in addition to their rich history, they are still a new and exciting experience for so many retailers and consumers.

As a Boston native, Shahan enjoys following Boston sports in the safety of his home in New Jersey. At home he most enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, working in the yard and grilling.

SHAHAN STEPANIAN Director Business Analytics

LINDSAY WHITMAN

NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR

Bio Coming Soon!

LINDSAY WHITMAN National Sales Director

ALICIA CIAVARELLA

Regional Sales Manager Mid-Atlantic

Alicia Ciavarella started with GBN in October of 2019. 

She has been selling import beer since 2015. A native of the greater Philadelphia area, Alicia recently returned to the east coast after a stint in California with St. Killian Importing. She also has held a position representing import brands with Belekus Marketing. 
 
Alicia enjoys traveling abroad and loves how those experiences can come through in the finest import brands. In her spare time Alicia enjoys spending time with her family.

ALICIA CIAVARELLA Regional Sales Manager Northeast

MARTIN KELLER

Regional Sales Manager Northeast

Bio coming soon!

MARTIN KELLER Regional Sales Manager Northeast

MATT SMITH

REGIONAL SALES MANAGER MIDWEST

Based in Chicago, Matt Smith is a beer enthusiast who loves selling and experiencing import brands. Matt takes pride in sharing the stories behind each brand and providing quality experiences to his customers. He especially enjoys experimenting with GBN beer pairings with different types of food.  

In the five years before joining our team Matt held various roles in the craft beer industry.  He began his journey in 2016 when he was hired as a brewer at Nevin's Brewing Company in Plainfield, IL. Over time, Matt's passion for beer and his natural sales skills led him to transition into a sales role at Noon Whistle Brewing in late 2017. At Noon Whistle, Matt served as the Territory Sales Manager, where he successfully managed 3 distributors and called on accounts in both the Chicagoland and Wisconsin markets. His exceptional sales and relationship building skills helped the brewery expand its customer base and increase its revenue. His dedication and hard work at Noon Whistle earned him a reputation as a top-performing sales professional in the industry. Matt's knowledge of beer culminated when he became a Certified Cicerone. Not an easy task!

In his free time, Matt is happiest spending time with his wife Deanna and son Nolan and playing golf (despite not being the best at it). Matt also considers himself a foodie and loves trying new restaurants and cuisines with his wife and friends.

 



MATT SMITH Regional Sales Manager Midwest

JAY FARIAS

REGIONAL SALES MANAGER NORTHWEST

Jay is a seasoned beer industry professional with over 30 years of experience. He started his journey in the food and beverage industry in 1991, working in various restaurants, and later transitioned to beer sales in 2013. Jay joined Global Beer Network as a Sales Representative in March 2023. Before joining Global Beer Network, Jay worked as a Business Development Manager for Stone Brewing, where he gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. His previous position taught him everything he knows today and helped him develop professionally.

Jay enjoys Belgian Dark Ales. He loves the style for its caramel, raisin, and delicious flavor profile. As a sales representative, Jay enjoys enlightening customers about the various brands he represents. He believes that tasting and talking about beer is an opportunity to educate people about the different flavors and cultures that each brand represents. When Jay is not busy drinking GBN beers and selling them, he enjoys watching Boston's sports teams and traveling. His love for sports and travel has taken him to many exciting places, and he always looks forward to his next adventure.

JAY FARIAS Regional Sales Manager Northwest

BRENDON HUGHES

Regional Sales Manager Great Lakes

Bio coming soon!

BRENDON HUGHES Regional Sales Manager Great Lakes

MIKE BONHAM

REGIONAL SALES MANAGER SOUTHWEST

Mike joined Global Beer Network in April 2023. With a career spanning over a decade, he has held key positions at Bigby's Pour House and Lagunitas Brewing Co, contributing to his extensive expertise. What he finds particularly captivating about selling imports is the rich history and the passion behind each beer, reflecting the dedication of the brewers.

Outside of his professional pursuits, Mike leads a fulfilling life. He recently became a father to his daughter Isabella Grace, bringing immeasurable joy to his world. In his leisure time, he engages in ice hockey and golf, both of which provide him with an outlet for his competitive spirit. Additionally, Mike's creative side shines through his talent for building furniture.

With a diverse range of experiences and a deep love for the industry, Mike continues to make a significant impact. His dedication, knowledge, and wide array of interests make him an invaluable asset in the ever-evolving beverage industry.

MIKE BONHAM Regional Sales Manager Southwest

DAN BOND

REGIONAL SALES MANAGER MID-ATLANTIC

Bio coming soon....

DAN BOND Regional Sales Manager Southeast

CLINT CROW

REGIONAL SALES MANAGER WEST

Bio coming soon....

CLINT CROW Regional Sales Manager West

MIKE HRUSKA

REGIONAL SALES MANAGER SOUTHEAST

Bio coming soon.....

MIKE HRUSKA Regional Sales Manager South

BOBO VAN MECHELEN

SALES MANAGER &  BRAND AMBASSADOR

 
The nickname “Bobo" has appeared alongside the Chimay brand  for nearly two decades. If you have ever attended an official Chimay event chances are you have crossed paths with Luc “Bobo” Van Mechelen. A native of Belgium, he has been an instrumental part of the success of Belgian Beer in the U.S. From 1979-1990 he owned and operated Gambrinus, one of the country's first Belgian beer bars located in Austin,Texas. After closing the doors of his restaurant and 1990, “Bobo” held various sales position, most notably regional sales manager and ultimately President of MBI. We are very excited to have “Bobo” on our team and his passion and wealth of knowledge makes him the perfect fit. Besides his love for drinking a properly poured Chimay Cinq Cents (White), he loves to cook!
 
 "Selling and teaching about Belgian beers is second nature for me, I do love it.” - “Bobo”
 
 
BELGIAN BEER KNIGHT

BOBO VAN MECHELEN Sales Manager & Brand Ambassador

GLENN REID

Art Director

GLENN REID Art Director

Operations