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

Nancy Hejran
Nancy Hejran
Chief Operations Officer
Chief Financial Officer

Nancy Hejran joined Clipper as CFO bringing a wealth of experience from multimillion-dollar manufacturing companies with strengths in the areas of finance, business and operations including mergers and acquisitions and implementation of ERP and WMS systems. Shortly after her hiring, she was promoted to the dual position of CFO/COO and is responsible for the overall financial and operations of Clipper Corporation. Ms. Hejran has two master’s degrees: MBA in Accounting and Master of Finance Management. In addition to her executive career, she has shared her knowledge by teaching in different universities all over the world while still being involved in the corporate world. The universities include Anadolu University in Turkey, University of Phoenix in California, American Culture Institute in Istanbul and online Technical and Engineering University in Tehran. She grew up watching her dad running two big businesses and she moved to United States at early age following her dreams for a higher education.

Deena Conner
Deena Conner
Senior Vice President, Uniform Division

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 gardening and walking on the beach with her husband.

Craig Hagedorn
Craig Hagedorn
Vice President, Foodservice Division

Craig brings to Clipper over 40 years of experience developing brands and products for the consumer and foodservice industries. Raised in a family business wholesaling restaurant supplies to the trade has allowed an understanding for items that work and how to make them better. Craig has traveled extensively working with our factory partners to ensure Clipper’s customers get the very best products for their stores. As the Chairman of the Smallwares Committee for the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers Association (NAFEM), Craig worked with other industry leaders to create the chapter outlining smallwares in the Foodservice Handbook published for the foodservice industry. He has also published several articles on outfitting different dinning concepts with smallwares, tabletop, and janitorial supplies that is still used as the standard guide today. Craig is a graduate from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, that helps bring an eye of design and aesthetics for products that perform long-term. Craig is married to Susanna, and they reside in Houston, Texas. They have 3 children attending 3 different Texas Universities and enjoy spending time together as their busy schedules allow.

Jeff Malkasian
Jeff Malkasian
President, Retail Brands

Jeff leads our retail brands division. 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. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jeff enjoys spending time outdoors enjoying moments of sun when not socializing with friends over a great meal and the latest culinary trends.

Brian Vallone
Brian Vallone
Senior Vice President, Uniform Division

Brian was raised in Northern California and graduated from San Jose State University with degrees in business administration and economics. He was an accomplished athlete but decided sales was his true passion as well as being a more realistic way to earn a living. Brian has been in the uniform industry for over 35 years. He has worked with some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. including Subway, Dominos, Sonic, Panda, and Safeway. Brian, his wife Anne, and youngest son Steven recently moved back to Northern California to be closer to family. They get together often with a 33-year tradition of sharing homemade pasta, stories, and lots of laughter. Brian and Anne love living near the ocean and share an active lifestyle which includes frequent walks on the beach.

Mike Kielty
Mike Kielty
Vice President, 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.