FONA Appoints Amy McDonald and TJ Widuch as Executive Vice Presidents; Adds Six New Scientists

December 16, 2015

Geneva, IL, December 16, 2015 - FONA International, developer and manufacturer of complete flavor solutions for many of the world's leading food, beverage, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies, has named Amy McDonald and TJ Widuch as Executive Vice Presidents, appointing them to lead overall revenue generation efforts for the flavor company. 


“For years, TJ and Amy have been successful and powerful executors of our unique FONA DNA. They epitomize our concept of ‘dare to be different,’” said Founder, Chairman & CEO Joe Slawek. “They each have incredible followings amongst our customers, employees and stakeholders.” 


Together, the pair has more than 45 years of experience in the flavor industry. Amy McDonald, previously FONA’s Vice President of Sales, Communications and Marketing, joined FONA in 2006. During her time with the company, she has guided FONA’s efforts to develop innovative programs and processes to serve customer needs. She led sales team efforts to deliver results with speed, efficiency and to foster quality partnerships.  


TJ was the company’s fourth employee in 1987. During his 28 years with the company, he held positions in purchasing, customer service, operations, and most recently, as Executive Vice President and Managing Director of International Business. TJ has and continues to play a key role in FONA’s international growth. 


“Individually, Amy and TJ have a huge number of strengths, but together, they’re unbeatable,” said Slawek. “I’m looking forward to a bright future with Amy and TJ leading the way.” 


In addition to the promotions of Amy and TJ, FONA is also announcing the addition of six talented scientists to its innovative team:


Samantha Gardiner joins FONA’s Research and Innovation team as Innovation Scientist, with a focus on microencapsulation and taste modification technologies. Samantha brings diverse experience to her new role, and she holds a master’s degree in food science and technology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 


Adam O’Leary brings a robust and diverse background in Instrumental Analysis to his new role as FONA Analytical Chemist. Adam has published extensively in the area of mass spectroscopy, and he holds a master’s degree in chemistry from Illinois State University. 


Deborah Barber joins FONA as Senior Flavorist, focusing on grain applications like cereal, bars, snacks and baked goods. Deborah has 32 years of experience, is a certified flavor chemist and holds a master’s degree in food science. Deborah has been a member of the Society of Flavor Chemists since 2003.


Robin Prazak joins FONA’s beverage team as Senior Flavorist. Prazak has 17 years of experience, is certified by the Society of Flavor Chemists and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Benedictine University. Robin is already familiar with FONA — she began her early career at the company in 1998. FONA’s excited that she’s back! 


Rosemary Sikora brings a wealth of knowledge in baked goods to her new position as FONA Senior Scientist. Rosemary has 37 years of experience as food scientist at a host of major companies. She holds a master’s degree in food chemistry and a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, both from Purdue University. 


Jesus Dominguez joins FONA as Senior Scientist on the beverage team, bringing a broad range of experience in product development and processing. Jesus will focus on delivering taste solutions and fostering incredible partnerships with FONA customers. Jesus holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.




Founded in 1987, FONA International creates and manufactures flavors for many of the largest food, beverage, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical companies in the world. It offers flavor solutions for the confection, grain, beverage, performance nutrition, OTC and emerging markets from its state-of-the-art, 33-acre campus in Geneva, IL. FONA’s seven core values drive it to pursue excellence and foster incredible partnerships. More than just great flavors – FONA provides complete market solutions.