KANSAS CITY, MO. – CRB, a provider of sustainable engineering, architecture, construction and consulting to the food and beverage industries, announced its Board of Directors has named President Ryan Schroeder as chief executive officer, succeeding CRB co-founder Jeff Biskup who will remain on the board as executive chairman. 

The company also announced Sam Kitchell will take on the role of chief operating officer, leading CRB’s newly formed CRB Operations group, which was created to unite the company’s Regional Operations and Technical Operations teams in one unit. 

“There is no one better positioned to further raise CRB’s leadership position in the marketplace while simultaneously nurturing and advancing our coveted culture,” Biskup said. “From day one we’ve put remarkable client and employee experiences at the center of everything we do, and no one understands that balance more than Ryan. This promotion is well-earned by Ryan, and it’s terrific news for our clients and employees as our company gets stronger and continues to expand our leadership in the industries we serve.”

Schroeder joined CRB in 1987 as an architectural engineer. He moved on to become leader of CRB’s Midwest region in 2010, and was named president in 2017. Schroeder led the company through its first $1 billion-plus revenue years in 2021 and 2022. 

During his tenure, Schroeder has overseen the company’s growth, which now includes 21 offices in North America and Europe and almost 1,800 employees.

“Following in Jeff’s footsteps as CEO carries extra meaning for me,” Schroeder said. “He’s been an incredible mentor from the day I arrived at CRB, and his devotion to successful client outcomes is unmatched. I will continue to lean on his leadership, experience and instincts as we guide CRB well into the future.”

Kitchell previously led the company’s Emerging Business Operations (EBO) group prior to taking on the new role of COO. The creation of its new Operations group will allow CRB to integrate its regional and technical efforts to better serve its clients, according to Schroeder. 

“Creating an integrated CRB Operations group continues our journey toward becoming a truly united, global organization driven by technical excellence, continuous learning and innovation, with an exciting work environment that keeps employee experience at the heart of everything we do,” Schroeder said.

Kitchell has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Before joining CRB in 2021, he served as group vice president of engineering for Shire (now Takeda) and held senior director and vice president of engineering roles at global biotech companies Baxalta and Baxter Healthcare.

“When I arrived at CRB in 2021, I was thrilled by the opportunity to design an EBO group that would develop our most promising business initiatives and prepare them for the marketplace,” Kitchell said. “Over more than two decades, as a client and now an employee, I’ve seen CRB’s entrepreneurial spirit and technical excellence unleashed on some of the world’s most urgent challenges. I’m humbled and honored to take this next step and continue working alongside Ryan and our talented corps of professionals in their critical work.”

Ryan Thompson, Industry 4.0 lead at CRBRyan Thompson, Industry 4.0 lead at CRB. | Source: CRB

 In other company news, CRB announced the addition of Ryan Thompson as its new Industry 4.0 lead. Thompson will report to Niranjan Kulkarni, CRB’s senior director of consulting services. 

“Industry 4.0 is about manufacturers taking advantage of advances in connectivity and computing power,” Thompson said. “CRB’s understanding of life sciences and food and beverage manufacturers’ businesses from the factory floor to the boardroom uniquely positions us to provide solutions our clients can count on to achieve their goals.”

Thompson previously worked as a project engineer in the automotive industry at Magna and at Grantek Systems Integration in controls engineering, project management and business development roles. Thompson comes to CRB from Skellig where he worked as an Industry 4.0 advisor.

“Industry 4.0 use cases include automatic and contextualized data flow, artificial intelligence and machine learning, asset and scheduling optimization, preventative maintenance, digital twins, and predictive quality,” according to CRB. “Most importantly, these solutions allow for interconnectivity across a facility or enterprise to eventually achieve a smart factory, allowing teams to collaborate with real-time information and act on insights provided by enabling technologies.”

In his new Industry 4.0 role, Thompson will use Industry 4.0 technologies to help CRB clients reduce costs, increase capacity, improve time-to-market, and drive more accurate and quicker decision making.

“Ryan brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our team, having worked with numerous industry-leading organizations to implement cutting-edge technology solutions,” Kulkarni said. “We couldn’t be more excited about the new capabilities he brings to CRB.”

Read more about personnel changes throughout the industry.