Warehousing & Logistics

Stellar Names Santarone CEO, Taps Kappele as President & COO

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There’s new leadership at the helm of Jacksonville, Florida-headquartered Stellar, the fully integrated firm engaged in design, engineering, construction and mechanical services for cold storage warehouses, food processing plants and other industrial sectors. Veteran Mike Santarone has been promoted to the position of chief executive officer. Having joined Stellar as a field engineer in 1986, he was made division vice president of the Food & Beverage group in 2000, then promoted to executive vice president in 2005 before becoming the company’s third president in 2012.

CEO Mike Santarone

“Mike has boldly led Stellar into a new era of growth and innovation,” said Ron Foster Jr., chairman of the board of directors. “He was responsible for the creation and execution of our strategic vision for 2020 as well as our new strategic plan for 2025, as we continue to set the bar as an industry-leading company. Experience gained over a long career at Stellar has positioned him to be an effective chief executive.”

Meanwhile, Brian Kappele has been named president and chief operating officer of Stellar. He initially joined the company as an intern in its Food & Beverage division during the summer of 1997. After graduating from the University of Florida’s Rinker School of Building Construction in 1998, Kappele accepted a full time job as an on-site assistant project manager, taking on various roles and responsibilities throughout the first decade of his career. He was promoted to division vice president in 2011 and became executive vice president in 2017.

President & COO Brian Kappele

“Brian successfully managed Stellar’s Food & Beverage, Distribution and Thermal divisions before assuming responsibility for the Refrigeration Contracting and Refrigeration Services groups,” said Foster. “In support of our goals and objectives for 2025, he will now have responsibility for the Commercial group as well, placing him in charge of all of Stellar’s operations divisions.”

Foster will continue in his role as chairman, providing executive oversight to the leadership team. The announcements on September 24 came as Stellar concluded a successful fiscal year.

About the Company
Stellar is a fully integrated design, engineering, construction and mechanical services firm, with 50 support locations and offices operational throughout the United States, China, the Middle East and North Africa. It also serves clients in Latin America, Europe and India. Employing more than 750 people, the company has created award-winning food processing plants, refrigerated warehouses, distribution centers, commercial buildings and military facilities around the world.