2024 40 Under Forty Winner: Maxwell Remington Krieger

Chief Operating Officer/Director of Sales & Marketing
Dark Side of the Spoon Industries
Denver, CO

Age: 37
Hometown: Rye, NY
Hobbies: Scuba Diving (Master Diver Certified), Lacrosse, Cooking, History
Family/Community: Married, 2 sons.
Motto in Life: C’est La Vie.

Krieger’s professional accomplishments are built on a solid track record of collaboration, teamwork, relationship building and over a decade of experience in a variety of leadership roles within the food and beverage industry. After working in management for several different restaurant groups and operations, he moved to Sysco Denver in 2010 as a street sales representative. Over the course of his 11-year career with Sysco, he worked as a trainer for new sales employees, earning two REACH Awards for excellence in field training. He finished up his time at Sysco as a new business developer and senior sales consultant.

In 2021, pushed by COVID, he left his corporate job and started his own company, selling peeling and processing equipment in the fresh produce industry. Joined by his wife, he started Dark Side Equipment as the sole distributor and representative for ASTRA Inc., a Japanese automated peeling equipment company. Since the Japanese company had no U.S. representation, Krieger led the charge to bring the ASTRA Inc. equipment into the U.S. He has also been able to expand his product lines, bringing on more manufacturers.

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?

My plunge into the produce industry happened somewhat by chance — my wife and I were walking the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago and we came across a lonely table with a piece of equipment peeling an apple with such ease and beauty that it literally stopped us in our tracks. It was the ASTRA Inc. KA700H peeler. We were so intrigued that we followed up with the manufacturer to get more information, only to find out they had no U.S. representation. My wife and I negotiated with ASTRA Inc. Japan to become the U.S. representatives. Our first sale was to FreshPoint Denver, and when we watched how excited the customer was and how productive their employees were, we knew we had something special.

Q: What is the one thing in business that you are most passionate about?

I am most passionate about helping my customers achieve success by increasing their operation’s efficiencies.

Q: What are some ways we can increase produce consumption at the point of sale?

One way to increase consumption is through the development of fresh-cut programs. Consumer trends continue to show people are looking for convenience when it comes to eating/cooking. Many people either don’t know how to prepare some items or don’t want to go through the hassle and waste of preparing it themselves. Another way to increase consumption is through products with a purpose. Consumer studies continue to show that when there is a cause or mission attached to a product, they are more apt to purchase the item.

Q: How has the industry changed during your tenure?

The biggest industry change is the enormous amount of technology finding its way into every element of the industry. From ROV (remotely operated vehicles) farm equipment to vertical farming to new produce ripening technology, this industry is evolving and evolving fast.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud that I took the plunge and started my own business. I am proud of the confidence I had in myself and in my wife to start something new and to build it from the ground up. We were not in the produce industry, but through hard work, dedication, and the ultimate belief that we would succeed, we have gotten our company to where it is today.