Lina Hu
Founder, Chairman & CEO

“Without the dedication and support of our customers, we don’t have a business. And without our employees’ passion, loyalty and the care they put into serving our customers, we don’t have a business. Our employees have helped us realize our goals and allowed us to deliver on our unwavering commitment to bring our customers the most innovative and highest quality products at the lowest possible price. Our employees combined with our customers are the driving force of our business and the reason we continue to succeed.”

Nineteen years ago, Lina came to the United States with a dream to create a better life for herself. She felt that by living in the U.S. her chance for success would be up to her. With little knowledge of the English language or American culture, Lina enrolled in English classes and researched continuously to gain a greater perspective about the needs of the foodservice and uniform industry and was determined to start a company that would become one of the largest foodservice and uniform industry’s top suppliers.

“If I try, I will have a 50% chance of success, but if I don’t try, I will have a 100% chance of failure. What I have learned is that if you have a goal and believe in yourself and are passionate, persistent, dedicated, and committed, you can achieve anything and you will be successful.”
Lina’s goal is to provide the best quality available to exceed customer expectations while employing a price strategy that ensures material cost savings without compromising quality of service. She believes she must provide added value for her customers in order to maintain a competitive edge. Lina partners with her customers through the design, development manufacturing and distribution of new and improved product ideas. When asked how Lina has brought Clipper Corporation from a small start-up company to where it is today she attributes it to four things; dedication, commitment, knowledge and delivery. "What I enjoy most is the feeling I get when I go to a restaurant and see that the products they’re using to help them carry out their jobs better are made by Clipper. It makes me very proud that Clipper has contributed to their success.”

While living in China, Lina obtained both an undergraduate degree in Statistics and a Masters Degree in Business. She currently sits on the esteemed Board of Trustees at Hampton University. She was once chosen as a “Finalist” for the prestigious Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award for the greater Los Angeles area which recognizes outstanding men and women whose accomplishments have benefited not only themselves, but their employees, the economy and the Los Angeles community. She is also the proud recipient of the prestigious “Ernest Royal Pioneer Award” awarded by the Multi-Cultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance which is presented to individuals who best exemplify Ernie Royal’s pioneering spirit and commitment to leadership in supporting diversity, mentoring and providing career opportunities in the foodservice industry.

Lina resides in Manhattan Beach, California and along with snowboarding, enjoys traveling the world.

The Clipper Team

Jeff Malkasian
Jeff Malkasian
President, Licensed Brands

Jeff leads our licensed consumer products division. Our portfolio of licensed brands currently includes Viking®, Allrecipes™ and Chopped™. Jeff and his team have been charged with building our brands in the marketplace by focusing on the depth of range and product quality that leverage the unique characteristics of each brand, while never losing focus of the excellent service that is the hallmark of the Clipper team. Coming from a design focused background, Jeff brings over 20 years of expertise in the housewares industry to Clipper. From his start as a buyer for a major department store chain to his most recent role as VP of Sales for a leading housewares design company, Jeff’s philosophy is to collaborate with retail partners to develop strategic and sustainable growth. Originally from Oregon, Jeff enjoys spending time outdoors enjoying the California weather when not socializing with friends over the latest culinary trends.

Cheryl McFarland
Cheryl McFarland
Director of Sales, Viking Culinary Products

Cheryl is a Sales and Marketing professional with extensive experience in high-end brands. Her most recent leadership role focused on high-end bonded cookware and kitchenware products. Cheryl’s goal is to build the presence of Viking Culinary in the marketplace by partnering with brand focused retailers. Having started as a retail buyer, Cheryl understands firsthand the importance of collaboration, strategic planning and project development & implementation with all customers, from National Accounts and Independent Retailers. Cheryl lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two teenagers. She is an avid cook, foodie and supporter of local community sponsored agriculture programs. She enjoys the abundant trail and river activities and dining Pittsburgh has to offer.

Kyle Koenig
Kyle Koenig
Director of Sales, Chopped

Kyle started his career in the housewares industry working for Waterford Wedgewood, where he spearheaded the launch of of the Dr. Weil and Spring collections in the United States. Taking a page from his mentor’s playbook, Kyle realized that he had a passion for not only cookware, but for the entire retail industry. Most recently with Starfrit USA, Kyle led their growth into new channels in the USA as Director of Business Development responsible for their core line, Cat Cora, and Rock line of cookware. With over ten years of industry experience, Kyle is familiar with all retail channels from department store to grocery. He is passionate about developing successful programs and building brands. When he is not thinking about new features to make the next iteration of cookware, Kyle enjoys spending time with friends and family, being outdoors and being active.

John Hannum
John Hannum
Chief Financial Officer

John leads Clipper's finance and operations teams, bringing with him over 23 years of experience in building processes that grow companies. After graduating with his Accounting and Information systems degrees from #1 rated Florida Atlantic University, John spent the next 17 years helping to build a regional chain of tire stores called Tire Kingdom into the largest independent tire retailer in North America. Next, John moved to California to work with a hardware company called Crown Bolt to maximize its efficiencies doing business with Home Depot. John joined the Clipper family in 2015, recognizing not only their position of leadership in the industry, but also the tremendous growth potential for the company. By implementing efficient systems and processes, John hopes to build on Clipper's great customer experience while creating a stable platform for growth. In his spare time, John likes to bicycle for charity. He has biked 545 miles from SFO to LA several times and the 165 miles from Miami to Key West as well as many more.

Deena Conner
Deena Conner
VP of Business Units

Deena focuses on business development activities, strategic account management and ensuring Clipper’s customers receive the highest level of service. She has extensive experience in the uniform industry and began her career with Barco Uniforms in 1983 and held various positions in customer service, account management and sales. As VP of Sales for Barco, Deena was responsible for the overall direction of their Identity Division, which sold and serviced such customers as McDonald’s and YUM! Brands. In 2006, Deena joined Strategic Partners, parent company of Cherokee Uniforms, as VP of Sales, where she led a team that serviced the hospitality and theme park industries. Deena attended the University of Oklahoma and currently resides in Southern California, where she enjoys watching her teenage son play volleyball and walking on the beach with her husband.

Mike Kielty
Mike Kielty
Director, Information Technology

Mike brings 12 plus years of experience helping businesses leverage technology to create growth, realize efficiencies, and solve problems. Prior to Clipper Mike worked for a VC funded Produce Supply Chain company where his contributions in systems integration, sales, project management, customer on boarding, and process automation helped take the company from start up mode to profitability. Mike currently resides in the San Gabriel Valley with his wife and two children.

Remy Abesamis
Remy Abesamis
Controller

Remy came to Clipper with over 20 years of experience in manufacturing, entertainment, and restaurant business. Prior to joining Clipper, Remy was the Accounting Manager at a growing restaurant chain putting in place the accounting systems and procedures that provided support and helped the company expand from 30 to 45 stores in a couple of years. Prior to that, he was the Assistant Controller at Universal Concerts and later House of Blues, managing the consolidation and reporting of financial operations of all the branches throughout the United States. Remy hailed from the Philippines where he earned his CPA certificate and currently resides with his wife in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

Ty Mary Goodpaster-Tala
Ty Mary Goodpaster-Tala
Senior Strategic Account Manager

Ty Mary joined Clipper Corporation with 7 years of experience in sales operations and account management. She earned a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She most recently came from the food and beverage industry acting as a National Account Manager with Farmer Bros. Coffee & Tea, supporting and growing national chain customers. There she gained valuable experience in large account management, program development and customer relationship building. Ty Mary lives in the South Bay, with her husband and two young daughters.