Our Team

Don Goodwin
Founder & President
email: don@goldensunmarketing.com
phone: 952-960-4667

"What I love about this business is the opportunity to bring insights from one point in the supply chain to add spark to another player-creating partnerships that deliver value all around and fuel consumer demand for fresh produce." - Don

•  Award-winning industry leader with thirty years' experience
•  Innovative founder of numerous successful companies
•  Results-driven with focus on the bottom line

Don Goodwin has direct experience in procurement, wholesale, marketing and merchandising-affording him unique insights across the fresh produce supply chain. He provides strategic direction and actionable business plans. In 2007, Don was recognized as one of "Top 25" Leaders of Influence by The Packer.

Prior to launching Golden Sun Marketing, Don worked for Target Corporation, where he led the development and launch of fresh produce within SuperTarget. He later served as the COO of Green Giant Fresh where he built retail and grower partnerships to expand the Green Giant brand. An expert in licensing, Don also helped found Imagination Farms, a fresh produce distribution company focused on increasing children's consumption of fruits and vegetables, and negotiated a partnership with Disney Consumer Products division to include fresh produce under the Disney Garden brand. He began his career with retailers HEB Grocery Company and Supervalu.

A native of the Chicago area, Don has a BS in Food Distribution from Western Michigan University. He is based in Minnetrista, Minn.

Tom Thompson
Vice President
email: tom@goldensunmarketing.com
phone: 952-380-7260

"I have been in the fresh produce industry the entirety of my career and what keeps me fascinated is the ever-changing dynamics of the industry, from the larger impacts of technology, labor and weather to the shorter term challenges of consumption shifts and new season variability. I am passionate about creating strategies and partnerships with our hardworking clients that not only provide solutions, but also drive growth and innovation in produce." - Tom

  • Managed a team at CH Robinson that served as a resource for the Robinson Fresh network of branches and acquired grower/shippers (Food Source, Timco, and Rosemont) to support category management, business development, and key retail account strategy.
  • Part of the team at Target that managed the launch of their first perishable food distribution center and all of the included vendor and process related planning
  • Helped to launch many new products and supply chain programs at both CH Robinson and J&J Distributing

Tom brings a very broad background in fresh produce to the team including logistics, business development and category management. His extensive experience within the produce industry will allow Golden Sun Marketing to provide a deeper value to our clients.  He is based in Minneapolis, Minn.


Chayla Balko
Business Development Manager
email: chayla@goldensunmarketing.com
phone: 312-218-5518

"Bringing clients and customers together to increase produce consumption fuels my passion for the industry. Every day brings new and welcome challenges. I love working with our clients to best strategize for the future." - Chayla

  • Strategic and forward-thinking collaborator
  • Results-driven with an eye for the details
  • Focused on increasing market share

Finding fresh opportunities with new and existing customers is Chayla's strong suit. Her energy and focus enables her to effectively partner with clients and successfully bring their products to market. Prior to joining Golden Sun Marketing Chayla held positions at The Oppenheimer Group and Boston Beer Company, developing business for the Enza apples, pears and kiwi, Zespri Kiwi, Oceanside Pole Vine Ripe Tomatoes and Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberry brands and Samuel Adams beer. Chayla earned her BA in Communications with a concentration in Psychology from the University of Arizona. She is based in Wayzata, Minn.

Jen Velasquez
Senior Marketing Manager
email: jen@goldensunmarketing.com
phone: 813-254-0769

"Collaborating directly with family-owned farms and the growers themselves - witnessing their passion and dedication to their products, their family business and the produce industry itself - makes it especially rewarding to do my job." - Jen

•  Successful events and promotions expert
•  Optimistic and authentic communicator
•  Cultivator of strong media and trade relationships

Jen excels in customer service and has built her career in the fresh produce industry over the past 10 years with her bilingual graciousness and can-do attitude. Prior to joining Golden Sun Marketing, she was an account executive with Sahlman Williams Public Relations & Marketing, working on campaigns for the Chilean Avocado Importers Association, Produce for Kids, the Georgia Blueberry Commission and the Vidalia Onion Committee. At Janet Kafka & Associates, Jen was responsible for promoting and garnering national exposure for family-owned vineyards in Spain. Jen earned a BA in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs from Southern Methodist University. She is based in Tampa, Fla.

Adam Brady
Senior Marketing Manager
email: adam@goldensunmarketing.com
phone: 912-541-7726

"The story of how produce arrives on the shelf at my local grocery store fascinates me. Learning about the unique histories and people behind each product drives my passion for this industry and creates in me a deep appreciation for the hard work and dedication that goes into providing the market with fresh and flavorful food." - Adam

  • Focused on creative solutions and results-driven marketing
  • Deadline-oriented project manager
  • Brand development leader and natural storyteller

Adam is a forward-thinking strategic communicator who enjoys collaboration to utilize the strengths of a group to achieve common goals. Before joining the team at Golden Sun Marketing, Adam was the director of marketing for Shuman Produce, one of the leading grower/shippers of sweet onions in the United States. Before beginning his career in produce, Adam held positions in the field of journalism as a reporter, editor and layout designer. He earned a BA in Communication Arts from Georgia Southern University with a minor in Broadcasting and currently resides in Statesboro, Ga.

Ashley Pierce
Marketing Manager
email: ashley@goldensunmarketing.com
phone: 507-475-3433

"The produce industry is such an exciting world! What makes me love what I do is collaborating with passionate clients and assisting them in bringing their visions to life." - Ashley

  • Passion and enthusiasm for marketing 
  • Nurturing, building, and maintaining strong client relationships 
  • Ability to create compelling marketing campaigns and penetrate new markets 

Ashley's high energy and strong passion for marketing makes her a great addition to the Golden Sun Marketing team. She brings over 5 years' experience working in a fast-paced advertising agency, where she managed the execution of over 300 national sales campaigns. Ashley earned her BA from Bethel University, where she double majored in marketing and international business. When she is not working her "marketing magic," you can find her traveling, volunteering and staying active. She is based in Minneapolis, Minn.

Naba Bakar
Marketing Manager
email: naba@goldensunmarketing.com
phone: 410-302-8352

"Food is a universal language - it brings people and cultures together. My love for food combined with my strategic mindset feeds my passion for producing creative solutions that are as unique as my clients." - Naba

  • Sorts through complex problems efficiently to find optimal solutions
  • Recognizes the special and distinct qualities of each client to deliver one-of-a-kind campaigns
  • Stops at nothing to deliver the right results

Naba's background in the sciences allows her to take a unique and methodical approach to marketing. But don't be fooled; her intelligence is matched equally by her creativity and passion to achieve. Naba has over 6 years of experience in marketing - ranging from corporate marketing to marketing for her own entrepreneurial ventures. Naba earned a BS in Biological Sciences from the American University in Washington D.C. and an MBA from the Minnesota School of Business. When she's out of the office and away from her startup, you may find Naba catching some rays on a beach, pumping iron at the gym or enjoying her seats at a Ravens game. She is based in Chanhassen, Minn. 

Marcela Fabbri
Marketing Coordinator
email: marcela@goldensunmarketing.com
phone: 651-340-4609

"What makes us choose the food we choose? It's one of the most basic human instincts and I can't help but be fascinated by it." - Marcela                                                                                                                

  • Extremely versatile - from strategy to analytics to guiding creative
  • Performance-based marketer with strong attention to detail
  • Vast knowledge in online and social media marketing

Marcela brings experience in developing and executing strategies that grow sales and brand strength. Her affinity for technology and its applicability keeps her constantly looking for new tools that could prove beneficial for Golden Sun Marketing and its partners. Her love of the culinary arts is about the only thing that isn't eclipsed by her passion for marketing, so Golden Sun is a perfect fit for this foodie! She is based in St. Paul, Minn.

Julia Ziegler
Marketing Coordinator
email: julia@goldensunmarketing.com
phone: 320-808-4558

"There are so many factors influencing our food choices such as convenience, texture, culture, and presentation. What fascinates me in this industry is how dynamically those concepts interact with each other." - Julia

  • Solves complex problems with simple solutions
  • Brings people together to work efficiently
  • Excels at relating content to different audiences

Julia brings our team at Golden Sun Marketing her love of building brand awareness, developing relationships and of course, food! Her diverse set of skills include writing, market research, and project management. Julia is a proficient content editor, social media savvy, and has a keen eye for detail. She enjoys adapting to the ever-changing world of marketing. Julia received a BS in Marketing from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is based out of Minneapolis, Minn. 

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