The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2014

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Page 89 of 132

october 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  89 t he story of this team starts in 1991, when Southern Wine & Spirits of America expanded into Arizona, led by Michael Jahn. Back then, Jahn, Executive Vice President and General Manager of SWS of AZ, was tasked with putting together a team that would ensure success. Now, over 20 years later, Jahn sits in a chair in their Scottsdale offices with a proud smile on his face as he describes the people that make up that team and the work ethic that has paved the way to success. Of the 19 people that started with Jahn in 1991, 16 are still part of the SWS of AZ family—now that's stay- ing power. There's a unity amongst the team. It's clear that they all bring something different to the table, but when it comes down to it, they all have the same core business beliefs. Jahn explains it best, saying, "I can't say what we do and how we do it is unique, but I can say that our people wake up everyday with a drive and a commitment that sur- passes the people we are up against." Vice President and General Sales Manager Tom Boyle couldn't agree more. "It's not a job for our people—it's a career," he says. "Our task-driven, goal-oriented people consider the brands they represent as their own." Tom Boyle, Vice President and General Sales Manager is the numbers guy and is more than happy to back up his pride in the company and the way Southern does business, with the numbers to prove it. "Arizona is unique because it is the only state in the country where the top five national wholesalers all do business—it's the most competitive per capita off-premise market." He continues, "We pride ourselves in being the go-to wholesaler in Arizona, a top-ten market." After Jahn moved here from Southern California, the next to join the team was Rich Paulsen, General Manager On-Premise. In fact, Rich was the first employee hired by SWS of AZ, and more than two decades later, he's more than happy to still be a part of the team. "When I first started, I came here for Michael [Jahn]—to be part of his team. Twenty-two years later, the growth, the brands and the power that SWS of AZ has—it's incredible." Starting in sales, Paul Ratner, Off-Premise General Sales Manager, worked his way up the ladder—growing confident and proficient in each job as he was promoted. Michael Jahn has led the Southern Wine & Spirits charge to expand in Arizona.

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