Sojo Industries (“Sojo“) is a fast-growing national industrial automation company that utilizes robotics, mobility, and software to deliver efficient packaging and assembly solutions to the food and beverage industry.

Sojo FlightSojo utilizes its proprietary mobile manufacturing offering to eliminate freight costs, labor costs, packaging costs and harmful emissions by delivering on-site packaging services.  Sojo has also developed its own proprietary blockchain-based track and trace software platform, Sojo Shield, which utilizes sophisticated data capture and geo-location technologies to enable customers to comply with federally mandated food safety requirements.

Sojo manages a national footprint of bricks and mortar facilities across the country in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California and Texas and maintains mobile manufacturing sites in Indiana, Colorado and Utah. All locations rely on high speed automated lines that support a variety of packaging materials such as registered shrink, top loaded boxes, and side loaded cartons to name a few and incorporate robotics into the assembly process.

The Sojo team is comprised of seasoned executives and operators from the food and beverage industry and customers include Fortune 500 brands, distributors, and manufacturers.

As Chief Operating Officer at Bai Brands, Sojo Founder, Barak Bar-Cohen, had managed hundreds of employees at the Company’s warehousing facilities across Central New Jersey which were dedicated to the production of variety packages.

As the business continued to experience exponential growth, Barak and his team implemented high speed and high-capacity automated robotic variety pack assembly and packaging lines in the Company’s distribution and logistics center. The Bai Brands business was sold in 2017 to Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (now KDP) and Barak transitioned out of his role, focusing on investing in innovative startups.

On October 10, 2020, Barak lost his father, Professor Avram (“Avi”) Bar-Cohen – a brilliant and internationally recognized leader in thermal science and technology and a legend in the field of micro-electronics packaging in the area of thermal management who authored more than 400 papers and books and holds 11 international patents.

As Barak was going over his fathers’ old files and photos, he found references to Dr. Bar-Cohen’s work with NASA involving mobile roving units used on the lunar and Mars missions. Sojourner is a robotic Mars rover that landed on July 4, 1997, in the Ares Vallis region. The rover was the first wheeled vehicle to rove another planet and was part of the Mars Pathfinder Mission. The name of the rover was selected in an essay contest won by a 12-year-old from Connecticut. It is named for abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth. The name Sojo pays homage to Sojourner as well as the pioneering engineering and robotic breakthroughs of those who accomplished this incredible feat in human history.

The idea of transforming the highly manual variety pack industry by merging automation, mobility and modularity was inspired by the pioneering decades-long work of one of the smartest, most humble, and most beloved human beings the world has ever known – Dr. Avram Bar-Cohen.

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Geraldine Dunkley

Senior Director, Human Resources

Geraldine Dunkley has over 10 years experience recruiting, managing and building human resource teams in the beverage, logistics, and consumer packaged goods industries.

Prior to her current role at Sojo Industries, Geraldine was Human Resources Director at Clio LLC, a healthy yogurt-based snack food company. From 2017 to 2020, Geraldine was Head of Human Resources at Port Jersey Logistics, a top tier third party warehousing and trucking provider, managing human resources functions and labor negotiations across six US-locations.  Prior to this, Geraldine was the Human Resources Manager for Bai Brands from 2015 to 2017, supporting the Bordentown distribution center through its acquisition by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (now Keurig Dr. Pepper NYSE: KDP) for $1.7 billion in 2017.

Geraldine received her Bachelor of Arts from American Intercontinental University with a concentration in Human Resource Management. Geraldine also holds an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources Management from the University of St. Mary.

Ryan Homeny

Vice President, Operations

Ryan Homeny has over 10 years experience in warehousing, logistics, manufacturing, transportation, and supply chain operations of beverage manufacturing and distribution facilities.

In his most recent role, Ryan managed Purchasing and Procurement for Allen Flavors Inc., an innovative specialty flavor house based in South Plainfield, NJ. Prior to this role, Ryan was the Warehouse Operations Manager at Bai Brands which sold to Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (Now KDP) for $1.7 billion. From 2012 to 2015, Ryan managed all production planning of the Aseptic Production Line at Sunny Delight Beverage Company based in Dayton, NJ for some of the top beverage brands in the world.

Ryan attended Coastal Carolina University for Professional Golf Management before transitioning into the beverage supply chain operations field.

Julie Perryman

Vice President, Commercial Operations

Julie Perryman has over 8 years of experience managing supply chain functions within the beverage industry, including planning, co-packer and variety pack production, quality assurance, logistics, regulatory, procurement and inventory control.

Most recently, Julie worked for Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP), overseeing variety pack planning and production within the emerging brands category where she was responsible for the production of more than 70 variety pack SKUs and a total volume of over 13 million packs per year. Prior to this, Julie was responsible for procurement, raw material and production planning at four co-packing sites for Bai Brands, which was acquired by KDP (formerly Dr. Pepper Snapple Group) for $1.7 billion in 2017.

Julie graduated from La Salle University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.

Kenneth Dee

Senior Vice President, Commercial Development

Ken Dee has over 25 years of experience in the assembly and supply chain management of primary and secondary packaging in the consumer packaged goods industry.

From 2015 to 2018, he was the Director of Cost Management responsible for all cost of goods sold items as well as the company’s automated packaging initiative. Bai Brands was sold to Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (Now KDP) in 2017 for $1.7 billion. Prior to this role, Ken was a senior National Account Manager for Pratt Industries, the largest privately held manufacturer of recycled corrugated paper and packaging company in the world.

Ken holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University.

Devin Talbot

Senior Vice President, Finance and Controller

Devin Talbot is a seasoned financial operator with over 12 years experience building and managing financial organizations in the beverage, automobile, and health and beauty industries as well as implementing technologies such as ERP, data science, and cloud-based planning systems.

Prior to taking on the role of Senior Vice President of Finance and Controller at Sojo Industries, Devin worked as a Consulting Strategy Manager for Deloitte and Touche where he led process improvement teams for multi-billion dollar clients such as The Home Depot, WalMart, Johnson & Johnson, and Adidas. From  2017 to 2019, Devin was the Irving, TX Plant Controller for Keurig Dr Pepper responsible for closing the books, audit, tax certification, asset management, financial modeling, headcount optimization, contract negotiations, and production line planning for the entire $900 million business.

Devin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Denison University and a Master of Business Administration from Michigan State University. Devin is fluent in both French and Spanish and is a former competitive college swimmer and current crossfit enthusiast.

Dustin Covello

Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel

Dustin is a seasoned legal and administrative executive with over 10 years experience solving complex capital formation, tax management, risk assessment and corporate structure challenges for national mid-size companies.

Most recently, Dustin was a partner at Royer Cooper Cohen Braufeld where he managed the international and tax management group for one of the most prestigious regional law firms in the United States. In his role, Dustin managed and advised middle market companies on capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, tax planning, risk mitigation and cross-border transactions. In 2022, Dustin was named to the list of Best Lawyers and has been a member of the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Stars list since 2017.

Dustin holds a J.D. degree from Georgia State University College of Law, an LL.M Taxation Certificate from New York University School of Law, a B.A. from Montclair State University and is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Josh Schwartz-Dodek

Chief Technology Officer

Josh Schwartz-Dodek is a skilled robotics and mechanical engineer working in the industrial automation and robotics industries with a focus in the Automotive and Food & Beverage industries.

Prior to this role, Josh worked as a Manufacturing and Controls Development Engineer at Tesla where he was a member of the Tesla robotics team for Core Automation Engineering, focusing on the startup of new production lines and the development of robotics tools and standards for Tesla operations worldwide. At Tesla, Josh specialized in application development and optimization for machine vision, clinching, grinding, spotweld, self-piercing rivet, dispense, and handling and was a contributing member of both the Tesla Robot Standards Committee and Tesla Robot Vision Standards Committee. Josh and his team supported the commissioning and startup for both the Tesla Model Y and Model Y Legacy launches and upgrades.

Mr. Schwartz-Dodek holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Steve Rubin

Co-Founder & President / Chief Operating Officer

Steve Rubin is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience in logistics, freight transportation, and process engineering and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of several companies in the container shipping and intermodal space.  

Steve served as CEO and President of ITS ConGlobal, North America’s largest intermodal terminal services support company, which he sold on behalf of the Carlyle Group to AMP Capital for over $500 million in 2017.  Prior to that role, Steve was the CEO and President of Horizon Lines, the largest U.S.-based container shipping company serving domestic trade lanes, which he sold for $607 million to Matson Lines (NYSE: MATX) and Pasha Group.  

Steve graduated from The University of Pennsylvania and The Wharton School of Business with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Economics degree and earned an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Barak Bar-Cohen

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Barak Bar-Cohen has over 25 years of experience building and scaling businesses in the telecommunication, digital media and beverage industries both in the U.S. and abroad. 

Barak is the former Chief Operating Officer of Bai Brands, a healthy antioxidant infused beverage company based in Princeton, NJ which was acquired by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (now KDP) for $1.7 billion. While at Bai, Barak built one of the largest variety packing operations in the enhanced water industry, developing and implementing automated robotic solutions that supported exponential growth in the club, grocery and online channels. These automated lines supported production levels of millions of cases per month and are still in use to this day.

Prior to this role, Barak held several executive leadership roles at Piksel, a global provider of IPTV enterprise software solutions responsible for over 750 employees across 20 offices worldwide, as President and Chief Operating Officer for Narrowstep, a TV over the internet software platform company based in London and in Senior Management roles at RCN Corporation, a leading provider of bundled communication services to residential customers which was later sold to private equity group Abry Partners for over $1.2 billion.

Barak received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with Honors from Brandeis University and earned an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.