Great beer starts with great people
We’re lucky enough to have both! At Dust Bowl Brewing Co., we’ve grown from a team of two with our founder and brewmaster in 2009 to a staff of over 170. Together we’re excited to craft and introduce our great beer to more people every day. Meet the team behind the brand.
Our Leadership Team
Born and raised in Turlock, California, Brett is a retired high school teacher and coach of 20 years. Known as “BT” among his friends, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from California State University, Stanislaus and a Master of Education from Chapman University. As the founder of Dust Bowl Brewing Company, Brett is committed to producing some of the best micro beers available on the West Coast. Brett is responsible for the overall direction of the company, with special emphasis on new beer development and market positioning.
Central Valley native, Brett joined in partnership with Brett Tate in 2011. Brett holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. His background in commercial real estate and property management strengthens the company’s resources and vision for expansion. Brett is responsible for facilities oversight and new business development.
Masters of Brew
Don’s industrious career began as a helicopter mechanic for the Marine Corps for five years. He later completed undergraduate studies in Business Administration and course work in the area of math and sciences. As a seasoned home brewer, Don was recognized as the Samuel Adams Longshot National Homebrew Competition winner in 2006 for his rendition of an Ole Ale. With Dust Bowl Brewing Company on the horizon, he completed the UC Davis Master Brewers Program in 2008. Don was named the John S. Ford winner in 2008 recognizing his top score worldwide for the Diploma in Brewing Exams administered by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Since the launch of Dust Bowl Brewing Company, Don was recognized in a Draft Magazine article by Jim Koch, owner of Samuel Adams, as one of “Nine Beer Innovators to Watch” in the growing craft beer industry (Sept./Oct. ‘09). Don is responsible for daily operations at the brewery and recipe development.
Business, Sales & Marketing
As Director of Business Development, Rick Sousa provides leadership across our business operations, including the two taprooms and brewery. Rick's extensive background in the manufacturing/processing sector is a tremendous asset to the company. Budget control, data analysis, inventory management, maximizing productivity and streamlining manufacturing processes are among Rick's responsibilities. Before joining Dust Bowl Brewing, Rick was Plant Manager at Ingomar Packing Company, where he was responsible for managing and supervising the production facility, and Vice President, Manufacturing for SunOpta, which included oversight of the manufacturing activities of all company facilities engaged in flexible pouch manufacturing. He has a combined 20 years of food industry experience, and has developed his career in the California Central Valley. Rick is a graduate of Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo and received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of the Pacific.
Crossing paths with old friends is usually a real cool thing. Such is the case with Scott Chaffee, our Sales Manager, who joined the Dust Bowl team in March 2012. Scott and Don, our brewmaster, were actually buddies back in high school. Each charted similar courses, which circled back to a shared passion for craft beer. Scott studied business administration and organizational communications while serving four years in the Army Reserves Military Police. He’s been homebrewing since 2007 and served as the General Manager for beeronthewall.com, an online specialty beer retailer, for three years. As GM, Scott developed a broad knowledge of craft beer…the culture, the people, the industry. As Dust Bowl Brewing Co’s Sales Manager, Scott is responsible for sales development, sales representative management, distributor and customer relations and building the overall brand in the marketplace. You might also find him talking up our brews at beer festivals and special events.
Michelle joined Dust Bowl Brewing Co. as a freelancer before we were even making beer in 2008, and came on full-time shortly after. As our Marketing and Public Relations manager, Michelle has been instrumental in building our brand identity from the ground up. She works closely with our brewery team and is responsible for all public relations and marketing activities. Michelle is no stranger to brand building having worked for two world leaders in their respective industries. She was the Director of Public Relations for Jacuzzi Inc., the world-renowned leader in whirlpool bathing. After relocating to the Valley from San Francisco, she joined the Communications Department at Hilmar Cheese Company, a global leader in cheese and cheese byproducts. When Michelle’s not at her desk, you’ll find her at one of her kids’ games or enjoying her favorite Dust Bowl brew!