Officers and Staff Directory

Rick Mende


Research Director

Rick is a native of Charlotte, NC.  He graduated from Wake Forest University and also studied at the University of Madrid, Spain.  He received his MBA from UNC-Charlotte.  Choosing to pursue a career in international business, he went to work in the International Division of Sonoco Products Company, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of specialty industrial packaging products.  While with Sonoco, he spent a great deal of time in Latin America and Europe, working on various market research and marketing-related projects for Sonoco’s affiliate and subsidiary companies.  He also headed up Sonoco’s Export Department.  After working in this capacity for four years, Rick moved to the Corporate Planning and Development staff at Sonoco.

From Sonoco, Rick moved to RJR Nabisco.  He worked in business development for RJR Archer, the packaging subsidiary of RJR, identifying and pursuing new product and market opportunities for the company, as well as marketing support for Archer’s divisions and affiliated companies.  He also worked in the Financial group at RJR in the areas of strategic planning and budgeting, pre-project analysis, post audits of capital projects, and financial analysis.

Later he joined Golden West Foods, a subsidiary of McCormick and Company, re-entering the marketing discipline.  At Golden West, Rick was responsible for marketing planning, promotions, pricing, forecasting, and market research.  He also had sales responsibility for the company’s line of retail private label products, as well as for several fast food chain accounts.

From Golden West Rick went to Langenthal Corporation, a manufacturer of specialty upholstery fabrics and textiles for the aviation and transportation industries.  As Director of Marketing, Rick was responsible for all company marketing activities as well as sales in Latin America.

Rick joined THOR•LO, Inc. in 1994 and has held various positions of responsibility, including strategic planning, project manager, consumer relations, and director of the company’s Therapeutic Business Unit.

Rick became the Secretary and Research Director of IPFH in 2003.  He often serves as a speaker to audiences when the Executive Director is unavailable to do so, and spends much of his personal time raising awareness of the Institute and its mission.  In his spare time he enjoys hiking, backpacking, camping, running, working out and spending time with his family.

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