Executive Q&A: Beverage industry runs in Oklahoma distributor's blood

Illinois native Gordon Green manages beer, beverages distributorship for an eight-county service area in Oklahoma.
by Paula Burkes Published: March 17, 2013
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Q. What were your first jobs, post-graduation?

A. With a political science degree, you either went on to law school or into sales and I, obviously, chose the latter. Following graduation, I worked two and half years in sales and sales management for Gallo Wine Co. in southern California, and then nine years in various sales positions for Pepsi, in five different southern California locations. After I married, my wife Jodi and I decided to move back to the Midwest, to Illinois, to raise our kids. For the bulk of the six years there, I managed two Coca-Cola distributorships.

Q. What brought you to Oklahoma?

A. I was hand-picked for a one-person Miller-Coors executive management development program, which groomed me for a position such as this one. I trained at 20 sites and was paid as if I already was running a distributorship. I learned about culture, operations, finance and more. At the end of the program, I took what amounted to an oral exam before the senior leadership team of Miller-Coors.

Q. What did Jodi, your West Coast wife, think about moving to Oklahoma?

A. Not much at first. It was before Thunder and what Chesapeake is now, so Oklahoma — in her eyes — was the weather channel and she hates tornadoes. But after relocating, we both were extremely surprised and pleased, and have no desire to move.

Q. I understand you're the newly-elected president of the Beer Distributors of Oklahoma. What are some of your goals?

A. It's the association's 75th anniversary, and I want to focus on continuing to educate consumers and public policymakers about beer regulations. Distributors, which sell more than 1,300 beer brands, are accountable for compliance with all federal, state and local laws. Oklahoma is among only five states — including Colorado, Utah, Kansas and Minnesota — that sell 3.2 percent beer. But Oklahoma sells the bulk of 3.2 beer among those five states: 56 percent. Of Oklahomans' beer consumption, 89 percent is 3.2 percent beer; likely because that's the only beer you can get cold and on the run. To clarify: 3.2 percent is a measurement of the amount of alcohol by weight; the equivalent by volume, which is how all beer is marketed in liquor stores nationwide, is 4 percent. It's only a matter of time that the country will move to a single-strength beer by volume.

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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PERSONALLY SPEAKING

Position: Capital Distributing LLC, general manager/partner

Birth date: April 22, 1965

Family: Wife, Jodi (they met when they both worked for Pepsi in southern California); children Jessica, 25, who works for Capital in on-premise sales, Michael, 17, and Jacquelyn, 15; plus four dogs

Education: University of Illinois, bachelor's in political science

Pastimes: Family time, he has a theater room and swimming pool at his home in northeast Edmond; golf, he tries to play two rounds a month; and annual Caribbean cruises.

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