Ellen Iobst '81 is Chief Operations Officer of Farmer Bros. Co., a national coffee roaster, wholesaler and distributor of coffee, tea and culinary products.

Iobst joined Farmer Bros. after working with the company as an independent consultant with the company. Founded in 1912, the Northlake, Texas-based company produces an extensive line coffee, hot and iced teas, cappuccino mixes, spices, and baking/biscuit mixes to the United States across multiple platforms, including large and small-scale restaurants, grocery and convenience store chains, hotels, casinos, hospitals and coffee houses.

Prior to joining Farmer Bros., Iobst was Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing and Technology of Sunny Delight Beverages Co. Sunny Delight was founded 50 years ago and is best know for its signature beverage, "Sunny D," as well as "Fruit2O" and its line of "Veryfine" fruit flavored drinks. As SVP, Iobst led the company's product supply organization through a +$50 million reinvention aimed at improving manufacturing efficiency and profitability while reducing the company's environmental footprint.

Iobst was one of the founding managers of Sunny Delight, helping to reshape the corporate culture of the company through several initiatives, including coordinating the company's five manufacturing plants to achieve the goal of "zero waste to landfill" in a five-year period, reducing the amount of packaging materials by 21.5 million pounds since 2005. Iobst was able to help the company reach that goal three years ahead of schedule. Additionally, all manufacturing sites under Iobst's guidance have led to efforts to reduce water and energy consumption.

Before her work at Sunny Delight, Iobst spent 23 years working for Procter & Gamble. During her time at P&G, Iobst worked in several different manufacturing and supply chain positions, including plant manager, across six different locations and business units, including disposable-diaper-making, coffee manufacturing and juice-concentrate-making and filling.

Iobst has served on several voluntary and professional boards, including the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Juice Products Association (2nd Vice President) and the Transplace Customer Advisory Board (fmr. President).


Iobst was recognized by the Ethisphere Institute in 2010 as of the one top 100 most influential people in business ethics for changing the corporate culture to a zero waste mentality. She was also selected by the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2011 as of the Top 20 Professional Women to Watch.

Lehigh and Personal Life

Iobst graduated from Lehigh University in 1981 with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering. She is a native of eastern Pennsylvania and enjoys traveling and skiing with her family. Iobst helped in continuing the family tradition of Lehigh graduates, whose father, grandfather and brother are engineering alumni. Additionally, her son continued the same by attending Lehigh as an Industrial Engineering major. 

Cincinnati, OH
B.S. Chemical Engineering
Notable Achievement: 
COO, Farmer Bros. Co.; Developed "zero waste to landfill: initiative at Sunny Delight Beverages Co. -- three years ahead of schedule