J.R. Watkins - Handcrafted in the USA Since 1868 ...  Naturally
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Executive Team

From small beginnings to the company we are today, we’ve always aimed to exceed customers’ expectations. Our executive team strives to uphold a mission of integrity, consistency and timeless comfort with our natural products.

Mark E. Jacobs, CEO

Having worked in the family businesses from a very young age, Mark has been involved with J.R. Watkins Natural Products since the Jacobs family acquired the company in 1978. Over the years, he has worked at Watkins in various capacities, primarily in the sales and marketing areas. In 1996, he became Vice President of Sales at Watkins, and in 1998 he was named Chief Executive Officer. But he doesn’t just talk the talk: Every morning, Mark rises and shines with a dash of J.R. Watkins pure cinnamon on his granola and blueberries.

In addition to his role as C.E.O. of Watkins, over the past 10 years Mark has served on the Board of Directors of Winona Health, Winona ORC Industries (an organization dedicated to serving the disabled community), St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Winona State University and the Great River Shakespeare Festival.

Mr. Jacobs is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, likes to play tennis and always keeps his Medicated Lip Balm within arm’s reach.

J.R. Rigley, President & CMO

J.R. Rigley joined Watkins in July of 2005 and manages all sales, marketing, international business and customer service initiatives. It’s a big job, but maybe not as demanding as coaching his kids in lacrosse and hockey, which he also does.

J.R. comes to Watkins with 16 years of experience in sales and marketing, having worked for Procter & Gamble and McCormick. He received a B.S. in economics from Towson University and an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to his roles as President & CMO and hockey/lacrosse coach, he serves on several boards including Cookie Cart, a non profit helping youth with career employment, and Orono Youth Lacrosse Association. He also sits on the board of the Natural Products Association, a group devoted to creating higher standards for natural products. His favorite gourmet spice is pure cinnamon, and if he were stranded on a desert island with only one J.R. Watkins product, he would pick Aloe & Green Tea Lotion.

Michelle Fehr, COO and CFO

Since 2013, Michelle Fehr has overseen the manufacturing, materials management, logistics, and quality assurance for Watkins products as well as all financial aspects of the company. She loves to travel (she’s even hung out with lions in Zimbabwe!), golf and alpine ski.

Before she came to J.R. Watkins, she started her career working for Continental Baking Company (as in, Wonder Bread and Hostess Cakes) where she held various positions in Finance from Accounting Supervisor to Regional Controller. In 1997, Michelle joined Maple Leaf Foods, where she switched over to operations, leading the operations team of Maple Leaf’s Frozen Bakery Division. Most recently, Michelle was the Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations for Dawn Food Products, a sweet baked goods company. Michelle attended the University of Idaho, where she graduated with a degree in business finance. With a resume so full of sweet treats, it may not surprise you to learn that her favorite J.R. Watkins product is Coconut Sugar and Shea Body Scrub.