Meet the Team

Your Goals. Our Expertise.

People and experience are our most important assets, ideas are the cornerstone of our business, and synthesizing these strengths allows us to provide independent, personalized counsel to the food and beverage industry.


Michael Caughlan
Michael CaughlanPresident & CEO
Mike’s commercial and economic perspectives on cocoa and sweeteners have earned him a well-regarded reputation among clients since he joined McKeany-Flavell in 2003. With more than 20 years of experience in sales management and strategic planning at both the national and international levels, Mike enjoys working with clients using new approaches to help them solve current needs and future challenges. He contributes regularly to established trade publications and provides market analysis and strategic forecasting to some of the food and beverage industry’s most notable companies. Mike holds a Series 3 securities license.
Steve Vuilleumier
Steve VuilleumierExecutive VP - Global Sweeteners
Steve heads our information sales division, and has provided vital counsel to the top food and beverage companies in the United States, and indeed, the world. Steve is an acknowledged expert in the sweetener markets, as evidenced by his many speaking engagements at industry events over the years. Since joining the company in 1976, Steve has cultivated our information offerings in sweeteners and other ingredients.

Team Leaders

Craig Ruffolo
Craig RuffoloVice President – Commodity Specialist
Since joining McKeany-Flavell in 1995, Craig has developed expertise in several categories—including sugar, corn sweeteners, alternative sweeteners, coffee, honey, and edible oils—and he assists domestic and multinational clients through market analysis, ingredient resource management, and buyer education. An acknowledged industry expert, Craig makes frequent national and international speaking engagements to discuss the sweeteners industry, including at ASA, Sosland, and F.O. Licht market conferences. Craig’s study on the potential ramifications to the U.S. sugar market if government supports to growers were changed or eliminated was presented to Congress.
Kevin Combs
Kevin CombsVice President – Sweeteners Specialist
Kevin joined McKeany-Flavell in 1999, quickly becoming our point person on sugar trade with Mexico. Over the years, Kevin has increased his role within our information sales team, advising clients in the food and beverage industries on sugar, corn sweeteners, cocoa and chocolate, and edible oils. Kevin is responsible for much of the sugar intelligence prepared for our clients, focusing on supply and demand, market trends, international trade, government policy, and risk-management. A valuable contributor to the ingredient sales team, Kevin helps suppliers and users with the sale and purchase of many commodities. Kevin holds a Series 3 securities license.
Nicole Thomas
Nicole ThomasVice President – Information Services
Nicole is McKeany-Flavell’s senior commodity analyst and the head of the Information Service department. Offering clients over fifteen years of expertise and experience in the commodity and food sector, Nicole stays abreast of multiple commodity markets (cash and futures) and the ingredient markets they impact. Nicole regularly presents on sugar, corn, corn-derived product, soybean, and edible oils markets, and she is relied upon by the media for her commentary on those markets. She currently holds both Series 3 and 30 licenses for hedging commodities.
Dario Baciarelli
Dario Baciarelli Client Relations Manager
Dario joined McKeany-Flavell in May of 2005, bringing with him a background in inventory control, transportation, and logistics and an innate ability to develop strong relationships. Dario began his tenure with McKeany-Flavell as a customer service representative. Now, as Manager of Client Relations, he continues to facilitate day to day transactions, as well as ensure the whole client relations team offers the highest standards of service in the industry.
Deb Phillips
Deb PhillipsDirector of Operations
Deb brought her entrepreneurial spirit and over a decade of management experience to McKeany-Flavell in 2016. Before joining the team she founded and ran an acclaimed small-batch ice creamery in downtown Walnut Creek. Deb also brings years of experience managing and inspiring teams to accomplish excellence through her work in the non-profit sector. As our Director of Operations, Deb guides company operations, monitors the financial area, and develops tools and systems to meet the evolving needs of our company and our clients.