San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Clemson MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation presents the 2013 Entrepreneur in the Round series. Join us at 5 pm on the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month for an informal conversation with a local entrepreneur. Hear their stories, learn from the challenges they faced, discover their keys to success and get their personal perspective on entrepreneurship. Wine and cheese will be served.
This week, we welcome Michelle Higdon, President of Emergent Resource Group and former President/COO of Waggin’ Train LLC!
About L. Michelle Higdon
Ms. Michelle Higdon is former President/COO for Waggin’ Train LLC, a wholly owned operating subsidiary of Nestlé, and has 15 years of experience in the management of sales, marketing and operations in consumer packaged goods.
At Waggin’ Train she was responsible for all operations in the US and abroad to include global procurement, distribution, inventory control, supply chain, and finance. Under Michelle’s leadership, Waggin’ Train was repositioned and aligned for its growth and expansion over the past four years of 50% CAGR in EBITDA and 35% CAGR in sales to ~ $320 MM in 2011. She recently wrapped up a 13 month transition where she focused on integrating all departments at Nestle’ Purina PetCare. Michelle has been directly active with several national accounts such as Wal-Mart, Dollar General, and Sam’s to insure a collaborative relationship for Waggin’ Train on several fronts.
During her tenure at Waggin’ Train Michelle worked with the founders to help them realize their goal of monetizing a majority of their equity in the company while retaining a minority share to benefit from the future growth opportunity. In addition, she was a key architect in building and executing a strategy that lead to a successful and robust process in 2010 and the acquisition by Nestlé.
Prior to Waggin’ Train, Ms. Higdon was President of Ultra Pet, LLC a pet products company which marketed premium cat litter, Litter Pearls, Ultra Pearls, and Cedar Fresh as well as dog treats.
Before joining Ultra Pet she held the position of President over Greased Lightning Household brands for Bio Labs, Inc and had previously been the Vice President of Marketing with A&M Cleaning Products (Greased Lightning/Orange Blast). Ms Higdon was also the architect of Greased Lightning’s effective guerilla marketing strategy that had enabled it to compete with brands that had significantly higher marketing budgets. Ms. Higdon was instrumental in the growth from $5 million to the $50 million run rate as well as the preparation and sale of the company to Great Lake Chemicals in her tenure with the company.
Michelle has spent the past 12 years leading management teams through strategic growth of CPG companies and through processes to maximize return through the selling process. She received her BS in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida and lives in Clemson, South Carolina.
When & Where
Clemson University MBA Program
Clemson’s MBA program is well-regarded for its practical, applied approach to advanced business topics. The curriculum is designed to foster optimal student-teacher interaction and to facilitate learning through a variety of applied and traditional methods. We partner with industry leaders to provide our students with hands-on experience, which contributes to molding them into highly recruited, desirable candidates in today’s ever more competitive job market.