Hickory Nut Gap announces the new hire of Ben Brignac as Regional Sales Manager. 


From Asheville and no stranger to Hickory Nut Gap, Brignac’s career history has prepared him well for this position. Skilled in financial analysis, food and beverage, program design, and execution, he most recently he served as Corporate Director of Prepared Foods at Earth Fare and the Regional Associated Coordinator of Prepared Foods at Whole Foods.


“Not only is Ben results-driven and detail-oriented, but he’s personable, likeable, and has tactful problem-solving skills – the perfect combination of traits to execute and achieve our revenue growth targets,” says Jamie Ager, owner at Hickory Nut Gap.


Brignac received a Bachelor of Science from University of Colorado. He enjoys spending his free time with his fiancee, Julia, exploring the great outdoors of western North Carolina and creating amazing food centered around the beautiful selection of products from Hickory Nut Gap.

ASHEVILLE, NC (October 29, 2019) – Hickory Nut Gap announces the new hire of Jean-Paul Lausell as Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Lausell will oversee the sales, finance, operations, marketing, and farm store departments of Hickory Nut Gap.


Originally from Puerto Rico, Lausell comes to Hickory Nut Gap from Fletcher, NC after supervising finance and operations teams at technology companies and private equity firms for the past 16 years, most recently with Black Dragon Capital. In these various positions, he raised capital for companies, ran finance, human resources, sales, marketing, and administrative teams. 


“While I gained a lot of experience in these upper management roles, I always felt like I was missing something, which I realized was working in alignment with my own personal mission,” says Lausell. “I believe that regenerative agriculture and healthy foods are key parts of addressing both climate change and the health crises we’re dealing with in our communities. This position at Hickory Nut Gap allows me to blend my professional skills and experience with my personal interests and passions.”


Lausell majored in sustainable agriculture, which led him to a career in culinary arts in restaurants and hotels. He later pursued finance and entrepreneurship, and now as COO at Hickory Nut Gap, he’s able to apply his experience in finance, technology and operations to his passion in regenerative agriculture and food.


“Through his instinctive ability to recognize, retain, and respect the talent within organizations, we believe Lausell will help our employees reach their full potential through his support and mentorship,” says Jamie Ager, owner at Hickory Nut Gap.


Lausell received his Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Agriculture from Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, a Bachelor of Arts in Political of Science and Sociology from City University in New York, and dual Masters Degrees in International Relations and Business Administration from Yale University. 


Lausell lives in Fletcher, NC with his wife and two daughters. He also has two teenage sons who live in Miami, FL. In his free time, he enjoys cooking,  fishing, and building things in his workshop.