Dave Wagner , proud Army veteran, and cigar smoker for over 20 years. I am the luckiest man in the world in that my family, passion, and career, are all extremely supportive of each other.¬† The premium cigar industry is built on heritage, relationships, hard work, and pride, and these factors drive and inspire me daily.¬† Working with the Oliva family has given me the opportunity to do what I love with people who share the same passion for premium handmade cigars.¬† I can‚Äôt imagine doing anything else.
Dave Wagner was one of Oliva‚Äôs (‚ÄúOriginal Five‚ÄĚ) when Oliva started their in-house sales force in 2005. ¬†In 2007 he moved from Regional Representative to National Sales Manager of the greatest cigar sales force in the industry. ¬†
In 2012 Dave assumed a new position, Director of Operations. He is most proud to be a part of the Oliva family and their incredible success in the premium cigar industry.
‚ÄúSpeak softly and carry an armored tank division.‚ÄĚ -Col Nathan R. Jessup
Cory Bappert– a St.Louis, MO native, began smoking cigars in his late teens while going on fishing trips with his uncle in Missouri. It quickly became a passion which he brought with him when hired on with an online cigar retailer out of Chicago in 2002. In 2005, after learning Oliva Cigar Company was hiring a national sales force, he applied and became the first sales representative for the upper Midwest. Bappert quickly rose through the ranks, earning such accolades as Salesman of the Year and the Oliva Familia award (for outstanding service). In 2012 Cory was named Vice President of Sales overseeing the entire sales force. He was heavily involved in the creation of Cain as well as upcoming products yet to hit the market.
John Gazerro– John began smoking premium cigars in 1990 while still a student. He is a 1992 graduate (BA in Political Science) from Providence College. John‚Äôs professional career began as an undergrad when he became a College Marketing Representative for CBS Records/Sony Music Distribution. After graduating, John became a Field Marketing Representative for Sony Music and had the privilege of working with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and many others. After the record business, John transitioned to broadcasting and was a marketing/promotions director for various radio stations in Providence, Greensboro, Boston, and New York City. John‚Äôs first step in the cigar industry came in 2004 by doing freelance promotional work for The Oliva Family of Cigars. In 2005, John became the Northeast Representative for Drew Estate Cigars. 2007 saw John return to Oliva Cigar as their Account Executive in New England. John has no hobbies worth listing here; except, of course, smoking really good cigars.
Ian Hummel– In January of 2008, Ian was hired as Oliva Cigar‚Äôs 10th Sales Representative and started his career covering the states of Michigan and Indiana. In mid-year 2009, Oliva expanded their sales force and Ian switched territories to take over Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Southern Indiana. In 2012, Ian moved up the ranks into a management role within Oliva accepting the position as Eastern Regional Sales Manager.
Ian has always been extremely interested in new product development and in the process of bringing new products to market. This side of the business has intrigued him to get more involved in every aspect of the process from starting out with an idea, building upon it, and eventually seeing it come to life in the market place.
Recently, Ian was asked to be a member of the Executive Board for Studio Tobac and he is excited to be a part of something that he is passionate about in so many ways. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an honor to have the opportunity to work so closely with the greatest family in the cigar industry.‚ÄĚ
Brian Shapiro– Brian has been around the cigar business almost his entire life. His grandfather, Morris opened Shapiro’s Smoke Shop in New York City in 1932. His father Ron Shapiro took over the family business in 1960 and is still a partner in the family retail store The Cigar Factory Outlet in Norwalk, Connecticut which is also an Oliva Store and Lounge.
Brian joined the Oliva Family after a chance meeting with Jose Oliva in 2004. He began the first year by assembling the¬†first in-house U.S. Sales Force¬†which has now grown to 19 strong. ¬†Brian started moving Oliva into international markets in 2005 exporting cigars into the Netherlands. In 2010 as International Sales Manager,¬†Brian, along with a great¬†international team¬†expanded¬†Oliva exports¬†into nearly 30 countries with a main European office and distribution center in Holland. Recently Brian and Jose Oliva celebrated the opening of the second European Oliva Cigar Lounge in Berlin. The¬†first lounge opened in Holland nearly two years ago. More lounges are planned in Zurich, Basel, Moscow and London.
Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife Gail and his sons Aaron and Eric.
Sasja van Horssen– Sasja van Horssen was born in 1972 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, as the son of cigar & tobacco importer Niek van Horssen. Sasja has spent his entire adult live in the cigar business and has worked in Spain, the UK and the Netherlands. Sasja met Brian Shapiro in 2002 in the Hague while Brian was in the Netherlands visiting relatives ; a long lasting friendship was born. One year later Oliva was introduced to the Dutch market and became Oliva‚Äôs first step into their current European adventure.
Today Oliva cigars are smoked in over 20 countries in Europe. Sasja is the owner of van Horssen BV, a cigar and tobacco company founded by Sasja‚Äôs grandfather in 1949, the Oliva cigar lounge in Den Bosch and the Oliva European distribution center in the Netherlands.
Sasja was asked to join the Studio Tobac Executive Board by Jose Oliva and Brian Shapiro so that he could add some European insight into the board.