About Hockfield

Company History

After gaining successful experience in sales and sales management within the mass retail environment, Ed Hockfield had a vision in 1978 for his newly formed company Hockfield & Associates. With his “always optimistic” approach to the business – plus lots of energy and hard work – Ed and his Team were always looking for that next “golden nugget”: vendors and products that needed to be mined and then polished before a major retailer would consider adding them to their assortment.

He invested his time with these new companies, knowing that you must be fully prepared to make that “first impression.” The focus has always been in the defined categories of Health & Wellness, Personal Care, Beauty Care and OTC. He was also one of the first salespeople to recognize the opportunity with private label, now known as “Own Brand.” Several of the new and biggest Own Brand categories flourished with the help of Hockfield back in the 80s

At the same time, Ed always believed that having an equal share of your business in both Brands and Own Brand allowed you to have better exposure to the retailer and enabled you to better fulfill the needs of any potential vendor. This is still true today, as the Company represents clients in both of these key segments.

The 90s brought with it a huge surge in technology, and Hockfield continued to expand with the right people to stay ahead of this new requirement. Vendors and retailers both needed this expertise and appreciated the time savings these extra services offered to them. Sales challenges are obvious, but over the next decade what was once a simple business became much more complex. Layers of decisions makers, data analysis, exclusivity, category management and profitability pressure on both sides have changed the way we do business. Vast experience is essential to help navigate through the obstacles in order to grow and prosper. But one thing does remain constant: hard work and a positive attitude still win, even in today’s retail environment.

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Company Staff

Steve Anderson

President, Sales & Business Development

Steve has serviced and sold to Drug, Food and Mass customers for over 30 years. Steve started as a distributor of seasonal products and then grew as a manufacturers’ representative, forming Steve Anderson & Associates in 1980. After 11 successful years, the company was purchased by one of the nation’s largest food brokers; Steve became their VP of Sales for their Health & Beauty Care division in Chicago.

In 1995, he joined Hockfield, a Chicago-based manufacturers’ rep agency, and immediately helped grow their business, primarily with new and emerging companies. Bringing new, profitable opportunities to their customers has been one of Steve’s greatest accomplishments. Expansion occurred in numerous categories, including Oral Care, First Aid, Bath, Foot Care, Personal Care, Antacid/Laxatives, Cough/Cold and Health Care.

Steve purchased the company from Ed Hockfield upon his retirement in 2006. Additional staff was added to insure a successful transition and provide value added services to their customers and manufacturers. Significant investments have been made in technology, keeping the company ahead of its competitors by providing internal tracking systems and POS data used for forecasting and sales analysis.

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Brent Anderson

Sales & Business Development

“Listen, do what’s right and execute your word.”

Passionate about sales and eager to be involved with real world products, Brent joined Hockfield in 2011 after seven years in financial product sales and distribution with Morgan Stanley. Since then, he’s been working side-by-side with Steve on sales while helping build various foundational systems needed in an ever-changing CPG distribution landscape. These systems have allowed Hockfield to work smarter, not harder, while expanding our growing team.

His experience and knowledge acquired working closely with Steve have transformed this original passion into a purpose to help businesses find solutions and better formulate a sales strategy. Brent enjoys the constant change and challenging environment, as it opens up opportunities to find better solutions for manufacturers/vendors and customers alike.

In his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family. Brent lives in Arlington Heights with his wife Laura and dog Stella. He holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Iowa. Go Hawkeyes!

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Dave Del Cotto

Sales & Supply Chain Analytics

In the increasingly data-driven world of Consumer Goods, analytics are essential for businesses to remain competitive and unlock new opportunities. As our resident analytics expert, Dave leverages sales and supply chain data to interpret business results, identify risks and opportunities and support business development efforts. From weekly point of sale (POS) analysis to category analysis and everything in between, Dave adds a valuable dynamic to our account management team.

Dave brings over 15 years of multi-industry financial operations experience, primarily within the Marketing & Communications and Consumer Goods industries. Throughout his career with prominent firms, including PepsiCo, Edelman and Omnicom Media Group, Dave has earned a reputation as a collaborative business partner and versatile problem solver.

Dave is an MBA graduate of DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and holds a BBA in Accounting from Robert Morris University.

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Barbara Anderson

Office Manager

Barbara has been managing sales offices for over 30 years. Her background prior to entering the manufacturers’ representative business was in the areas of science, computer science and business. These disciplines have assisted her in bringing new and creative technology to the office, always making sure that the sales team has the most efficient and current programs for collection and analysis of information.

Early years in the business were spent working with Steve to build Steve Anderson & Associates. Following that, Barbara moved on to work with a large Chicago food broker in the areas of Accounting and EDI.

In 1992, Barbara was asked to join Hockfield to manage the office and to help integrate customer-imposed technology changes into the organization. She has continued throughout the years to focus on the role that technology has and will continue to play in the growth of this business. Her adage has always been, “The only thing consistent is change.” Additional responsibilities include customer service, operations management and accounting.

Barbara has a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Minnesota State University. When not working, she is most often enjoying one of her “nature passions” that include riding her bike, hiking the trails or traveling to remote locations.

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Halina Kowalski

Sales Support

Halina’s professional life in the last 20 + years involved Sales Administration and Customer Service Management in the Consumer Market. She brings vast experience and understanding of the industry and its varied dynamics. She is highly dedicated to executing and tracking sales programs and bringing positive results to our vendors. She has also been recognized for her diligent follow-up and problem-solving skills.

Halina loves history and is an avid reader. In her down time, you will find her reading or watching the History Channel, always looking to learn new things. She also enjoys traveling to unique natural monuments and is well on her way to having visited all the National Parks.

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Laura Anderson

Project Manager

Laura joined Hockfield in 2014 as Project Manager. She specializes in organization of internal operations and customer service and assists manufacturers through the process of setting up new items from start to finish. She brings her experience in project management to help the manufacturer navigate through the customers’ requirements to make the process as seamless as possible.

Before becoming a Project Manager, Laura worked at Aurora Investment Management in Client Service, where she was the primary liaison between business development, current/prospective clients and consultants. She has over ten years of operations experience, primarily in the finance industry.

Laura has a degree in Public Relations with a minor in English from Illinois State University. She believes “for every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned!”

Laura lives in Arlington Heights, where you’ll find her walking her dog Stella, checking out Chicago’s newest restaurants and traveling as much as possible!

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Libby Zimmer

Client Service Associate

Libby graduated with a degree in Mathematics and Economics from Northwestern University in 2009. She has over eight years of operations experience in the financial services industry, most recently as a Director of Operations. She used her great attention to detail to identify process and workflow improvements and also monitor the office's multi-million-dollar budget. She was responsible for all internal day-to-day operations, while acting as the primary contact for all external relationships.

As a Client Service Associate at Hockfield, Libby is the primary liaison between our vendors and retailers and handles all purchase order management. She also provides analytical support on new projects, business opportunities and proposals.

Outside of the office, Libby is an avid puzzle solver. She loves crossword puzzles and beating her friends and family at Wheel of Fortune. She is also passionate about cooking, traveling, and spending time on the water at the family lake house. In the Fall, you can find her exploring new bars and restaurants in Chicago, while rooting on her Northwestern Wildcats!

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Stella

Security and Support

Stella Anderson is a Security Specialist, who is in charge of greeting visitors, monitoring incoming and outgoing mail and package retrieval.

She is enthusiastic, spirited and eager to please with excellent customer service skills.

Stella lives in Arlington Heights and loves long walks, chasing squirrels and spending time with her family and dog friends. In the summer you can find her doing “Doga” and in the winter playing in the fresh snow!

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