Meet the Executive Leadership Team

 

Jeff Drees Bio

Jeff Drees
President

Jeffrey Drees was named President of the Herff Jones division of Varsity Brands in January 2017. Prior to joining the company, Drees served as President of the Industrial Product division for Flowserve Corporation.
Drees’ career affirms his ability to improve and grow complex B2B, sales-driven businesses. In addition to his most recent role at Flowserve, Drees’ earlier responsibilities included serving as President, Flow Control Division. He joined Flowserve after a 12-year career at Schneider Electric, where he held positions of increasing responsibility, culminating in service as Executive Vice President, Professional Services – a new, $2B business focused on energy management services. His tenure at Schneider also included serving as President, US, with responsibility for more than 18,000 employees and 30 manufacturing plants.
Earlier in his career, Drees worked at both Caterpillar, Inc. and Honeywell International, Inc. in a series of commercial, project management and marketing roles. He started his career in the US Air Force where he worked as a systems specialist responsible for maintaining, repairing and installing building automation systems in Europe, the Middle East and Turkey.
Drees earned a bachelor’s in electronics management from Southern Illinois University and an MBA from Aurora University.

 

John Oblazney Bio

John Oblazney
SVP Finance

John Oblazney joined the Herff Jones executive leadership team in September 2015 as Senior Vice President of Finance, specializing in business transformation. He is responsible for creating a strong fiscal infrastructure for Herff Jones to build upon.
Oblazney is a high-impact leader with proven success in integrating the finance function firmly into a business’ operations. During his time at Herff Jones, Oblazney has helped shape the company’s financial future for the better. He has top-graded the finance organization. Since the beginning of 2018, the IT group now reports to Oblazney so he can assist in providing leadership and top level direction to the team.
Prior to joining the company, Oblazney served as CFO of Hurco Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ: HURC), a global manufacturer and distributor of CNC machines. Oblazney was heavily involved in their successful international expansion into Asia. Prior to that, Oblazney had several finance leadership and business transformation roles within United Technologies and Cooper Industries. He started his career with Coopers & Lybrand as part of their manufacturing group in Detroit, Michigan.
Oblazney earned a BBA degree in accounting from Eastern Michigan University and an MBA from Syracuse University. He is a Certified Public Accountant. Oblazney has also been heavily involved with the Boy Scouts of America for more than a decade as a scout leader. Oblazney is married to a Pre-K teacher, and they have two college-aged boys. Their youngest son is a freshman at The University of Notre Dame and their oldest son a senior at the University of Michigan.

 

Rika Cuff Bio

Rika Cuff
VP, Scholastic

Rika Cuff joined the Herff Jones executive team as Vice President of Sales for the scholastic division in January 2018. She is responsible for leading the sales organization with a concentration of winning new schools and driving improvement in same schools sales.
Cuff previously served as National Account Manager for Herff Jones’ parent company, Varsity Brands, via its IMPACT program since 2014. Prior to that, she worked with Varsity Spirit Fashion beginning in 2010. Her career background includes having a strong emphasis on human resources, business management, sales and business ownership. Cuff and her husband have also owned a successful construction company since 1994, which has given her great perspective as it relates to entrepreneurship.
Cuff earned a BBA degree from Arizona State University. Cuff’s former organization affiliations include: Executive Advisor for the Arizona Interscholastic Association, President of the Arizona Cheer Coaches Association and professional liaisons volunteer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

 

Maggie Waples Bio

Maggie Waples
SVP Marketing

Maggie Waples was named Senior Vice President of Marketing in 2018. Previously, she also served as the General Manager of the Yearbook Sales for Herff Jones. Prior to joining the company, Waples served as the Vice President of product marketing for Pearson.
Waples’ past career ambitions align with Herff Jones, having the drive to improve graduation rates across the nation through innovative and engaging student techniques. During her tenure at Pearson she implemented the launch of several innovative learning technology products all while representing a $1.1 billion brand.
Working at Pearson Education for 14 years Waples specialized in leadership programs and taking on the role of professional development lead within her division. Maggie continued to lead her company year after year hitting their year-end sales goals, launching new products and even earning her the title of “President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution” during her tenure.
Waples earned a BBA degree from the University of South Alabama and an MBA from Claremont Graduate University.

 

Doug McWilliams Bio

Doug McWilliams
VP, Yearbook Ops

Doug McWilliams was named Vice President of Yearbook Operations in November 2014. His primary focus is on continuous improvement within the company’s two yearbook manufacturing facilities, ensuring the delivery of a quality product on time and defect-free to customers.
McWilliams previously served as Plant Manager for Herff Jones’ Kansas City yearbook facility since 2012. During his more than 25-year career with the company, McWilliams also served in other leadership roles including Systems Coordinator, Customer Service Manager and Art Director. At the division level, McWilliams introduced standard operating procedures across six yearbook manufacturing facilities in addition to four successful plant consolidations. Earlier in his career, McWilliams was a creative artist at Jostens.
McWilliams earned a BBA degree in from Baker University, with an emphasis in graphics arts. He also represents Herff Jones within the Professional School Photographers Association.

 

Phil Reid Bio

Phil Reid
SVP, Global Supply Chain

Phil Reid was named Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain for Herff Jones in July 2018. He previously served as VP of Operations for Fine Papers, Diplomas, Covers and Frames since July 2017, where he created a customer focused culture and turned around an under-performing business. Reid leads all areas of scholastic and college manufacturing.
Reid began his career at Herff Jones in 2009 as Division Manager of Process Improvement and Quality for the cap and gown business, where he developed metric-based reporting and team-based management systems that created easier feedback loops to increase productivity and enhance profitability. He introduced a lean continuous improvement program with a Six Sigma structure, training and instructing employees to lead projects in process improvement. He then became Plant Manager, where he developed supply chain strategies to increase profitability through working with new partners in China. He later held the enterprise role of Operations Lead for business transformation, driving improvement through an ERP implementation.
Earlier in his career, Reid worked at Stanley Works, known now as Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., and Shares, Inc. In both of these roles, he was responsible for driving supply chain development and strategic planning for production and quality.
Reid earned a bachelor’s degree from Franklin College and an MBA in finance from Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Reid holds a Black Belt Certification in Six Sigma.

 

Brian Fleming Bio

Brian Fleming
SVP, Sales Ops & Strategy

Brian Fleming joined the Herff Jones executive leadership team in December 2017 after being named Senior Vice President of Sales Operations and Strategy. He is responsible for driving increased performance and effectiveness of the sales force as well as strategy execution.
His experience working with private equity backed companies and his passion for instilling discipline and fact-based decision-making to initiate growth is what brought him to Herff Jones in 2016 as the Director of Finance Planning and Analysis.
Prior to joining Herff Jones, Fleming served in various finance leadership roles within global manufacturing organizations where he worked closely with sales, marketing and operations. He held global management roles as Manager of Finance at Firestone Industrial Products and Director of Finance Planning and Analysis at Envigo. He began his career in public accounting, with later experience in business valuation consulting.
Fleming earned a bachelor’s degree in finance as well as his MBA from Valparaiso University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.

 

Laura Lawrence Bio

Laura Lawrence
VP, Business Transformation & People

Laura Lawrence joined the Herff Jones executive team as Vice President of Business Transformation and People in January 2018. Combining her passion for people and workplace culture with processes, Lawrence oversees the “People Division” as well as ownership of the company’s overall business and digital transformation efforts.
Lawrence joined Herff Jones in 2016 as Director of Finance, and quickly became involved in its transformation initiatives. She initially served as the finance functional leader for the company’s multi-year system implementation project, to include concept to market, order to cash, post to close and procure to pay. She now oversees the entire scope.
Lawrence also held management roles at Allegion US and Harlan Laboratories, Inc. At Allegion, she led the business transition of the corporate accounting function and participated in the company’s ERP implementation, including the rollout of new finance processes. Lawrence also took ownership of payroll. During her tenure with Harlan, Lawrence was the Global Controller and where she led the finance transformation and re-implementation of their ERP system. Earlier in her career, Lawrence held accounting and auditing positions at Premier Properties and Crowe.
Lawrence earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Butler University, and is a Certified Public Accountant. She has also served as a board member for TeenWorks since 2018.

 

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