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Elite Partner BIOs

Luis Cota – President / CEO

With 40+ years of experience in the wine and spirits industry, Luis has made this his career and his passion.

  • His initial eight years were spent with the Gallo Winery in various positions throughout the country (San Diego, Florida, Oregon, and Colorado). Following that he spent 7+ years with the Heublein /Inglenook Napa Valley Co. (now Diageo) — both managing a distributorship for them, as well as running the Central Pacific Region.

  • Luis was fortunate enough to experience the fine wine business from two perspectives: living in Northern California and working for companies such as Rutherford Hill Winery, Inglenook Napa Valley, and Christian Brothers, as well as VP, General Sales Manager of the Henry Wine Group for nearly 5 years.

  • These experiences were invaluable to him in the development of EOS Estate (7 years as National Sales Director), a premium wine company offering great value to the discerning consumer, and eventually leading to the opening of his own company – The Wilkes Wine Group – involved in both wines and spirits, as well as importing.

  • Now a partner at Elite Beverage International, Inc. has allowed Luis to fully develop his passion for Tequila, the native Spirit of Mexico, very much in vogue now both nationally and globally.

Steve Rice - COO

Mr. Rice is a seasoned executive with over 47 years of Senior Management experience in the business world.  The following reflects some highlights of his diversified business career:

  • Founder/CEO FlouroTek Co. in Southern California, 1970, that was instrumental in providing protective coatings and self-cure rubber lining to pumps, storage tanks, & pipeline for Alaska pipeline.  He expanded the company from 1,000 sq. ft. to over 50,000 sq. ft. within                 a 2-year period.

  • Co-Owner of a small Thrift & Loan

  • Completed 1st condo conversion in Orange County.

  • Nominated and attended the Distinguished Civilian Visitor Stratcom Tour in 1998, which includes visitation to the Trident Nuclear Submarine Base in Bangor, WA; the Stealth Bomber Base in Whiting, MO and finally concluding the trip in Omaha, NE at Stratcom Headquarters.

  • Former President/CEO of the largest independent bottling company in Southern California.  The facility produced all the private label water for Walmart in 11 states, as well as Stater Brothers, Ralphs Grocery and Vons. Note: 80 truckloads a day just for Walmart.

  • Co-Owner of Elite Beverage International, Inc. which includes co-ownership of the highly awarded Tequila Comisario brand.

Rick Darnell – Vice President Business Relations  

                                            

Rick has worked tirelessly educating, promoting and establishing vital relationships with governmental, social, nonprofit, and for-profit interests. Rick draws on decades of experience and knowledge at for-profit as well as non-profit creation, sitting on various boards, and as a private entrepreneur. Rick's Network reaches throughout the world from his vast experience as a professional Athlete. 

  • As current President of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, Los Angeles Chapter, Rick performs a vital role representing multiple Corporations to individuals, groups and the community at large. 

  • Currently Rick sits on Nonprofit Boards such as: NBA Retired Players Association LA Chapter, Giving Children Hope, Athletes N Education, Martial Arts For Christ, and Phoenix Tears. 

  • Rick Played in the NBA/ABA then on to Europe where he Played 8 years in Italy as well as one year in France and Spain. Rick had such accolades as Most Valuable Player/Team Captain and Player of the Year. 

  • Rick implements Pro athletics into his everyday life and businesses using Teamwork as the most important thing in Life to be successful. 

Bernard D’Andrea - Chairman

Mr. D’Andrea founded UGM Corp 25 years ago and has established World Wide Working relationships in 15 countries.

  • He had previously directed all business, sales and banking operations. He helped UGM Corp. to: Increased Product Lines to include Wines, Spirits, and Imported Water from Europe.

  • Developed Private Brand Beverage Products, conducted sales and contracts internationally including exclusive North America sales & distribution rights to Castello Beer (#3 largest Italian Beer).    

Greg Wass - Board Member / Venture Partner

Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, and Philanthropist-- Greg maintains extensive business management, manufacturing, logistics, and investor relations experience in the areas of telecommunications, aerospace engineering, real property, and small business startups in which he provides equity funding for equity position.

 

  • Greg is currently a Director and Board Member of Elite Beverage International Inc. He actively consults on the day-to-day operations of the business and more specifically on the strategic marketing of its flagship brand, Tequila Comisario.

 

  • Greg currently heads Business Development for Hawk Institute for Space Sciences, established in 2009, an aerospace engineering services corporation with nearly 50 employees and approximately 12-14M in annual revenue through negotiated government contracts, selling of related parts, and other joint ventures. He is also a Board Member.

 

  • Greg is currently CEO and President of Panda Ventures Inc, an investment firm specializing in the acquisition of commercial and residential properties, successfully grossing approximately 8M to date. He is also a Board Member.

 

  • Greg was the CEO and President of Telco Inc for 10+ years and worked in the family-owned and operated business most of his adult life. Telco Inc, established in 1983, was a 100,000 sq ft manufacturing facility with over 200 employees. He developed strategic relationships and successfully conducted business worldwide, later managing to execute the sale of Telco Inc for approximately 25M in 2004.