Spearhead Family Profiles: Tom Harney, Quality and Compliance Manager

Tom has been with The Spearhead Group since the start in 2018. We are so excited to have him share with us about what The Spearhead Group means to him and how he finds inspiration in projects.

  1.  Tell us about joining The Spearhead Group and what it means to be a part of this company. 
    The great thing about the Spearhead Group is that I have known the President – Robert for over 20 years in a previous business relationship. He was thoughtful enough to reach out to me when he wanted to start this company. So, the best part for me was knowing the individual who was starting the company and having the respect for his leadership and vision in knowing it would be a great company to be a part of. The CEO – Heather has been absolutely wonderful to work with and her knowledge in how she wants to deliver the highest quality product to the marketplace is right in line with the company I want to be a part of. The global team that has been assembled by Heather/Robert has been nothing short of fantastic in their respective skill sets and on top of that we have made The Spearhead Group a family in driving our success.   
  2. Tell us a little more about your background and why you are excited to be working on innovative projects? What inspires you?
    My background has been in end-use consumer products for over 30 years. It has centered around safety, performance, and customer satisfaction. I love living the life cycle of a product and understanding all elements it will endure and then tying that into a testing program so every facet of that product can be reviewed and then build improvements on our findings before going into mass production. My inspiration comes from having different programs to be a part of and thinking through the process of how we make it the “best in show” for our clients and customers.    
  3.  The Spearhead Group has 5 core values ( 1. Focus on Sustainability and Diversity; 2. Innovative Thinking; 3. Do the Right Thing; 4. Acts with Equal Respect for Clients, Colleagues and Suppliers; 5. Go the Extra Mile. Can do attitude. Entrepreneurial Spirit). How do you practice these values?
    The great thing about Heather and Robert is I believe they took the 5 core values thinking into their approach when they established their global team. It is almost like something you don’t want to have to learn and study but rather already have it bred into your DNA so you are always proactively thinking in this direction. The team that makes up this great company are just hands down true professionals that all strive for the same common goal. They truly make these values a wonderful place to work.

The Spearhead Group Wins 2020 Award for Diversity Excellence from Diageo

– The Spearhead Group has received recognition for excellence in business innovation driven by a commitment to diversity –

November 23, 2020 (Yardley, PA)The Spearhead Group was nominated for 2 Supplier Awards, Diversity Excellence, and Supplier of the Year, at the Diageo North America’s 2020 Awards, taking home the Award for Diversity Excellence. The Diageo Supplier Awards recognize those partners that have driven value for the company by delivering outstanding quality, innovation, service and performance in tandem with responsible practices such as diversity inclusion. A certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) with a profound commitment to diversity initiatives, The Spearhead Group delivers manufacturing innovation and product development for spirits, food, beverage, and beauty brands. Diageo also recognized The Spearhead Group for their positive contribution to strong business performance this past summer (read more here).

“It is a tremendous recognition for Spearhead to have made such a great impression on Diageo,” says Heather Fritzsche, CEO of The Spearhead Group. “It is an honor to receive the award for Diversity Excellence from the Diageo team, and to be nominated as Supplier of the Year with other businesses that share our core values. Like Diageo, we believe that diversity is fundamentally the best practice for companies that stand for innovation, creativity and economic impact.”

“We are extremely proud of this achievement for our entire global Spearhead team,” adds Robert Catalano, President of The Spearhead Group. “It means so much to have been not only nominated in two categories, especially Supplier of the Year, but to be awarded one by the Diageo business group we interact with every day was just so humbling. 2020 was challenging for us all, and we had to adapt quickly to build greater agility while continually striving for the level of collaboration and deep partnership our clients expect from us.  It was wonderful to see that the Diageo Supplier Awards embodied those efforts.”

Click here to view photos from Diageo’s 10th Annual Supplier Awards

Diageo North America celebrated its 10th Annual Supplier Awards last week in a virtual ceremony. “We are honored to recognize our valued partners and show them appreciation for their contributions, especially for the critical role they have played to help Diageo maintain operations in such a challenging operating environment,” stated Perry Jones, President, Diageo North America Supply & Procurement, at this year’s virtual award ceremony. “By working with our suppliers and agencies, we not only delivered high-quality products, but were able to market them responsibly, and improve our collective impact, ensuring sustainable supply chains and reducing our environmental impact.”

This year, the Diageo Supplier Awards were given to 12 partners in nine categories, each representing specific supply and demand criteria that positively impacted the company’s success in the past year and demonstrated strong commitment to Diageo’s business. View all the 2020 Diageo North America Supplier Award recipients here.

For press information about The Spearhead Group worldwide, including interview requests, please contact Helen Gregory, helen@gregoryvine.com or Amanda Davis, amanda@gregoryvine.com.

About The Spearhead Group
A leader in manufacturing innovation and product development for spirits, food, beverage and beauty brands, The Spearhead Group is an immersive partner in the Physical Brand EnhancementTM process from creative brand design to manufacturing that enables clients to stand apart from the competition. Our proven process and global team have set out to revolutionize the industry and redefine how PBETM can deliver a more memorable buyer experience. Founded in 2018 by Heather Fritzsche, CEO, and Robert Catalano, President, the Spearhead team brings more than 50 years of collective experience enriched by Pioneers around the world. The result: a proprietary manufacturing and product development process and unparalleled relationships that ensure the execution of high-value business and brand-building goals for each client. Headquartered in Pennsylvania, The Spearhead Group manages a client-facing Packaging Innovation Center in Louisville and Yardley and a production center in China. The Spearhead Group is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), a member of Women of the Vine & Spirits, and actively supports diversity suppliers. The Spearhead Group is currently building and meeting with Fortune 500 Companies. Follow The Spearhead Group on LinkedIn (@thespearheadgroupinc).


The Spearhead Group Introduces Breakthrough Clear Resin Label Technology, Empowering Clients to Replicate Custom Glass Embossment with Time and Cost Savings

– Recent collaboration with Cascade Moon on a limited bottle release is thought to be the largest custom clear dimensional resin label ever produced –

November 2020 (Yardley, PA)The Spearhead Group has made a breakthrough in packaging design with the release of a clear dimensional resin label for Cascade Moon that replicates the timeless look of glass embossment – at a fraction of the time needed to get to market. Resin label technology has previously been used for small ornamental applications, but until recently was not offered in clear and on such a large surface, such as wine and spirits bottles. The Spearhead Group’s pioneering clear resin technology enables clients to make highly calibrated, real-time adjustments to packaging designs without the lag times and upfront costs of traditional glass embossment. The flexibility of clear resin further allows clients to develop designs with innovative visual effects that work on many types of shaped surfaces.

Lana Toler, Marketing & Innovations Manager for The Spearhead Group, recently worked on the collaboration with Cascade Moon Whisky to implement clear resin technology for a limited 200-case release of Cascade Moon Edition No. 1. Each bottle features a clear resin label with the words ‘Cascade Moon’. The resin was applied to each bottle as one complete sticker and perfectly mirrors the look and feel of glass embossment.

“Cascade Moon Edition No. 1 is the first bottle to use our new clear dimensional resin technology and is thought to be the largest resin label mimicking clear glass ever produced,” said Toler. “Our application of the ‘Cascade Moon’ name is seamlessly affixed as one sticker with a separation between each letter, enhancing the illusion of custom-embossed glass while avoiding imperfections such as air bubbles. Our team is proud to have the Physical Brand EnhancementTM for Cascade Moon. We see this as a real market game-changer.”

The Spearhead Group launched a full design exploratory with clear resin technology in 2018. “I first discovered basic resin labels during a visit to LuxePack NY,” shares Vianney Becerril, Senior Product Development Manager at The Spearhead Group. “We originally envisioned resin as an alternative to wax seal shaped labels, but after working with the first samples we realized that there were many more options. Our real breakthrough has been to customize the label application technology for clear resin, and to make it a viable, and wholly flexible alternative to glass embossment on larger surfaces. It really has opened up a world of possibilities for our clients!”

Robert Catalano, President of The Spearhead Group, immediately endorsed these first clear resin trials: “Through extensive testing and R&D by Spearhead with various glassware and stock bottles, we are able to mimic the look of embossed glass, while building a whole new area of opportunity for our clients.”

Natale Bauducco, European Advisor for The Spearhead Group, worked closely with a team of European manufacturers to make clear dimensional resin technology a reality. In response to client demand for speed to market custom glass solutions, The Spearhead Group has made it a priority to make every bottle stand out. In addition to clear resin, clients can choose their preferred color, including frosted clear, translucent, and solids as well as varying dimensional heights. The new technology scales to large product runs as well as more limited releases, offering a myriad of options for customers looking to create limited-edition bottlings for holidays, special events, and licensing partnerships. It also adds a dynamic approach for clients looking for immediate solutions to enhance current packaging with accolades and awards.

Click here to view more photos of the Clear Resin Label Process

The Spearhead Group looks forward to introducing more clients to the benefits of clear resin technology. For more information about launching a new design or product innovation, reach out to schedule a meeting with Lana Toler, Marketing & Innovations Manager, at lanat@thespearheadgroup.com.


Import & Export of Limited-Edition Physical Brand Enhancement™ & More (Part 3 of 3)

In my previous posts (Part 1 and Part 2), I have written about potential importers/exporters and what they must comply with in order to be able to legally commercialize goods on an international basis. There is another very important element that must be discussed –  the steps to make an import-export operation successful.

The Spearhead Group works hard with suppliers/innovators and advisors to offer our clients unique products. We are always excited to go the extra mile when we find a worthy material, technology, or innovative team. These suppliers are the ones who take those next steps to comply with import/export needs that our clients are looking for in their products.

One innovator that I have been lucky to work with is Tomás, an artisanal manufacturer, and the factory owner from a small town in Estado de México. Well known for their craft ceramics, Tomás is aware of the great quality of his product, enough so, that he had the vision to go through the compliance requirements needed to place his ceramics around the globe. In one of our first conversations, he proudly explained that his ceramics “already met the quality requirements, so all that was needed was to get the right documents”. Tomás is not new to exporting and working hard on client-based productions. His factory produced the original Clase Azul Reposado bottle, one of the most iconic premium tequila bottles.

For the past few months, I have had the pleasure of working with Tomás and his craftspeople, composed of mostly women, in creating a unique, limited-edition, bottle for one of our clients. The Spearhead team has worked hand-in-hand with him to comply with all the import/export requirements and worked hard to meet all of our client’s requirements. We look forward to continuing to work with Tomás and other suppliers to make innovative PBE™ internationally.

Spearhead Family Profiles: Jacqueline Costa, Project Manager

Jacque joined The Spearhead Group, Inc. this August. We are so excited to have her share with us more about her journey and background in project management.

  1. Tell us about joining The Spearhead Group and what it means to be a part of this company. 
    Joining The Spearhead Group is an exciting new challenge and it is such an honor to be a part of the team. Spearhead is committed to supporting other women-owned businesses and offering sustainable options to clients, which is important to me. But I also appreciate that they are also creating a better brand experience for consumers and working toward innovative processes to move the industry forward.
  2. Tell us a little more about your background and why you are excited to be working on innovative projects? What inspires you?
    My background consists of project management and over 10 years of experience at a forward-thinking marketing and website design firm with an award-winning team of strategists, thinkers, and problem-solvers on the cutting edge of technologically advanced design. My previous role helped to give me the experience for my new opportunity at Spearhead to form relationships with my colleagues and clients to develop creative solutions. I try to always be positive and come with solutions instead of issues. My new role presents new exciting and inspiring opportunities that I look forward to every day.
  3. The Spearhead Group has 5 core values ( 1. Focus on Sustainability and Diversity; 2. Innovative Thinking; 3. Do the Right Thing; 4. Acts with Equal Respect for Clients, Colleagues, and Suppliers; 5. Go the Extra Mile. Can do attitude. Entrepreneurial Spirit). How do you practice these values?
    In my professional and personal life, I believe that I exhibit many of the core values of The Spearhead Group. Customer service and building relationships with my colleagues and clients have always been very important to me. In order to provide meaningful customer service, you must add something which cannot be bought and that is going the extra mile, forming lasting relationships, and acting with integrity.Within my family, I teach my daughter to always treat others with respect, be bold and innovative in her thoughts, and never doubt herself or what she is capable of. She also reminds me to do the same and to always strive to do better. I also have a background in fine art and have always been a creative person. With my art, I always try to use sustainable materials and upcycle as much as possible. Working with such an innovative and diverse team inspires me to maximize my previous experience and help bring new ideas and solutions to the table at Spearhead.

Diageo’s New Positive Drinking Initiative

COVID-19 has shifted the way many of us are working and socializing, including spending more time at home. This year, The Spearhead Group, Inc. participated in and is supporting Diageo’s new “Positive Drinking Initiative” This initiative provides informed choices on how to drink responsibly, and in moderation, during these unprecedented times, including when staying at home is the best option. Test your Drinkiq: https://bit.ly/3nWwD1C. How are you staying socially responsible during the pandemic?

Top Tips from Diageo:
1. Drink in moderation: Keep track of your drinks and ensure you are following U.S. government drinking guidelines.
2. Alcohol is alcohol: Remember, it’s how much alcohol you drink, not what you drink that matters.
3. Eat & hydrate: Never drink on an empty stomach and remember to hydrate.
4. Home measures: Track your drinks. When pouring your drinks, use unit or liquid measuring cups.
5. Get creative! Miss your local cocktail bars; learn to make your own cocktails.
6. Drink free days: Incorporate drink-free days into your week and challenge yourself to engage in different fun activities.
7. Plan virtual happy hours and gatherings: Set the date, send invites and get dressed up. Virtual Good Host Guide: https://bit.ly/350E4fB

Read more about: Diageo_Positive Drinking Initiative

Import & Export of Limited-Edition Physical Brand Enhancement™ & More (Part 2 of 3)

As mentioned in Part 1, electronic filing and payments are an instrument in improving transparency, traceability, and providing strict supervision in import-export operations.

Traceability, which is defined as the ability to trace the history, application, or location of an object, is being improved and will have an impact on customs clearance. Customs points in Mexico now have systems in place to check for digital traceability. Challenging as it sounds, it is an aspect that will be beneficial to those manufacturers who are prepared to comply with both the digital and regulatory aspects of supply chain transparency.

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) requires compliance with labor and environmental regulations, which are aspects that American corporations have paid increasing attention for years. Manufacturers who have followed good labor and environmental practices now have access to official systems to keep track of their supply chain and make the import-export process more efficient.

An important change in the new USMCA, which can make the import-export process easier, is the elimination of the Certificate of Origin, which under NAFTA had to be provided by the exporter or the producer.  Now a certification document can be provided by the producer, exporter, or importer.  According to USMCA, a certification can be also provided by the importer “on the basis of the importer having information, including documents that demonstrate that the good is originating.”  This change allows importers to help open the doors to new products, especially from small manufacturers who may not have the experience or resources to deal with the import-export process in the past.  At The Spearhead Group, we are looking forward to joining efforts with new potential suppliers and innovators, not only in what they can produce but also more efficient ways of bringing their goods to the United States.

Import & Export of Limited-Edition Physical Brand Enhancement™ & More (Part 1 of 3)

Limited-edition Physical Brand Enhancement™ (PBE) has great potential for creativity and innovation, and it also opens the possibility of working with an interesting variety of manufacturers, including artisanal manufacturers. Working with high-skilled artisans or converters, being innovative with the materials used or the way they are used, and hand-finishing – even personalizing items – can be a fascinating experience, but also a challenging one.

These days, the added trials of a world-wide pandemic, and of more strict regulations worldwide make the process a little more challenging. In the case of international import-export operations, the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) transformed trade regulations between Mexico, Canada, and the US. The USMCA requires stricter reporting and control, and also more transparency. In Mexico, there are some new customs and tax laws, as well as additional updates. This means heavier regulation, stricter rules of operation for customs brokers, the need to use more accurate codes, and heavier control from the tax authorities. Electronic payments and filing facilitate transparency and traceability in import-export operations, as well as more strict supervision from the authorities and the enforcement of custom and tax rules.  

It sounds challenging – and it is. But every challenge also brings an opportunity to those who are up for it. A number of Mexican manufacturers and craftspeople are making the necessary adjustments to comply with the new regulations, taking care of whatever is needed to comply with the new regulations, making themselves more competitive, and often improving the quality of their offer. We pride ourselves on working with those innovative individuals, ​and we enjoy the challenge of joining efforts with them to offer our clients the best PBE™ from around the world.

Spearhead Family Profiles: Patricia Burguete, Mexico Advisor

This month, we are highlighting Patricia Burguete, Mexico Advisor, for our Spearhead Family Profile. Patricia joined The Spearhead Group a year ago and shared with us more about her journey and background into innovative thinking and sustainability.

1. Tell us about why and when you joined The Spearhead Group.
Joining The Spearhead Group is probably the most sought-after job I have ever had. I met Heather & Robert years ago when I collaborated with them on a couple of projects in Mexico. I found them to be admirable and fun people to work with.

After the 2017 earthquake, my personal losses drove me to reorganize and rethink different aspects of my life. I was in that process when I first heard about Heather & Robert founding Spearhead. The more I read about the company and its values, the more I wanted to work for them. After some months of communication and exchanging ideas with Robert, I proudly joined Spearhead a year ago as a part-time consultant.

2. How do you find and apply new ideas that you have found in Mexico to make Spearhead a global contender in innovative packaging?  How do you know what to follow-up on?

Applying innovative ideas, materials, or methods is achieved through teamwork. Spearhead’s team is always open to innovation. I attend a variety of trade fairs, keep an eye on scientific, academic, and industry news, while also staying in touch with different groups and people.  I enjoy sharing my findings, and when there is potential to use them that triggers an exchange of ideas.

Keeping our core values in mind makes follow-up an almost natural process.  Whenever I met a person or company, my first “filter” is to bring up sustainability, social responsibility, and innovation early in the conversation. A positive reaction to these topics is a signal to dive in further. Bringing these topics up is a good way to explore innovation and to find out which companies or individuals are willing to think outside the box and go an extra mile for their clients.

3. The Spearhead Group has 5 core values ( 1. Focus on Sustainability and Diversity; 2. Innovative Thinking; 3. Do the Right Thing; 4. Acts with Equal Respect for Clients, Colleagues, and Suppliers; 5. Go the Extra Mile. Can do attitude. Entrepreneurial Spirit). How do you practice these values?

I believe that respect encompasses most of Spearhead’s values. My favorite grandmother was my best example of respect for all living beings and the planet itself. From her, I also learned the values of sustainability, like how to reuse, upcycle, and make the best use of everything at home. The way she ran her household would be considered a great example of a circular economy today.

I’ve also always been a curious person, who likes to understand how anything works. When I like something new, the challenge of innovating and finding ways to use it is a most welcome one. Working with such a great team and loving what you do, makes it really easy to go the extra mile and always looks for ways to help turn ideas into realities.

Spearhead Pioneer, Billerudkorsnäs

The Spearhead Group, Inc., works with best-in-class innovators from around the globe. Our Pioneers help enhance and extend brands beyond the ordinary and we’re so proud to work with them.

Billerudkorsnäs, based in Sweden, is a leading provider of packaging materials and solutions that challenge conventional packaging for a sustainable future. Established in 2012 on North American soil, through the merger of Billerud and Korsnäs, their expertise, ranging from raw material to consumer insights and environmental concerns, is key for unlocking the potential of paper and packaging solutions, and ultimately, to empower brands and the packaging industry. In conjunction with ongoing capacity growth, the company continues significant expansion in the USA luxury and consumer goods packaging market with offices, personnel, and stock located across the country.

Working together with Billerudkorsnäs allows for a drive of innovation and sustainability. At the Spearhead Group, we believe in a set of core values to help lead a company, and working with Pioneers that set those same goals is something we strive for. Our core values are: 1.Focus on Sustainability and Diversity; 2. Innovative Thinking; 3. Do the Right Thing; 4. Acts with Equal Respect for Clients, Colleagues, and Suppliers; & 5. Go the Extra Mile. Can do attitude. Entrepreneurial Spirit. Billerudkorsnäs have three pillars/core values that they are based on:

  1. First-class packaging materials
  2. Innovative packaging solutions
  3. A network of like-minded partners

Driven by their ambition for continuous improvement and diversity of perspectives, their innovative thinking has helped to save resources, increase profits, and excite millions of consumers worldwide. Currently, the USA Cartonboard team has just expanded warehousing and distribution bi-coastally (in both MD and CA) to help support customers. Their BioFuel use in 2019 was 96.8% and they used only 3.2% of fossil fuels. They have helped brands greatly reduce CO2 emissions advance toward their carbon neutrality goals. They are also continuing to innovate to support plastic use reduction and impact climate change. We look forward to our continued relationship with Billerudkorsnäs and can’t wait to see what their future brings.

Welcome to The Spearhead Group Blog

The Spearhead Group provides Physical Brand Enhancements to clients in the spirits, beauty and personal care industries. Headquartered in Yardley, PA midway between New York City and Philadelphia, The Spearhead Group offers companies a modern, full-service, consultative approach from concept to reality.

Stay up to date with the latest Spearhead news and updates.


* indicates required