About Us - Executive Team
Neal Gottlieb is the Founding Twin of Three Twins Ice Cream, which he started as a one-man show in 2005 in San Rafael, California. His goal has always been to build the company into a major national brand of reasonably priced, inconceivably delicious organic ice cream.
Neal started Three Twins slowly and humbly with a scoop shop in a terrible location, using his life savings and a loan from the Bank of Mom and Dad. He didn’t have any employees at the time because he could not afford them, and thus he set forth with blind ambition working 90 hours a week. Sales in the company’s first year did not hint at much future success, but Neal did manage to pay himself $4,000 – that equated to a bit less than $1 per hour – and he somehow showed a small profit.
Knowing that he would never make a sustainable living with one little shop, Neal began selling beyond the walls of the San Rafael store in 2006. He started with farmers’ markets and restaurants, and then sold hand-packed pints to a handful of groceries. The business took off from there.
At the six-year mark, Three Twins is surging. The company now has four scoops shops and sells its ice cream in close to 1,000 locations in 35 states. Sales in 2011 will be roughly 17 times what they were that first year, and the company’s employee count has grown from zero to around 50.
Neal’s proudest achievements, in addition to starting Three Twins Ice Cream, include completing a 62-mile running race, summiting Mount Kilimanjaro and churning a batch of ice cream with ice harvested from the glacier closest to the summit, being named one of the winners of the 2010 American Airlines Road Warrior Contest, bartering a pint of ice cream for the toll on the Golden Gate Bridge and being named Entrepreneur of the Year by San Francisco’s Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center.
Neal graduated from Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in consumer economics and housing. He was also co-captain of the university’s varsity lightweight crew.
When not traveling for work, Neal enjoys traveling for fun, hiking, drinking legal beverages, watching baseball, spending time with his nieces, and plotting and scheming. He has visited Everest Base Camp, been pelted with tomatoes at La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain, watched a sky burial in Tibet, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, trekked the mountains of Ladakh and driven an ice cream truck solo across the United States in 93 hours.
Neal was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco from 2002–2003, until the war in Iraq brought about the program’s evacuation. He now volunteers with two organizations that help disadvantaged individuals start businesses.
He lives on a 27' sailboat, The Incorrigible, which is berthed in Sausalito, California.
Position: Vice President
Where are you from? Piqua, Ohio. The Buckeye State is home to more than 3,200 dairy farms and is the "Mother of Presidents."
What were you doing before Three Twins? I worked for Brian and Jennifer Maxwell, the founders of PowerBar, and for President Reagan. In 1984, he designated July as National Ice Cream Month and he named the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. July is also the month that sells the highest amount of ice cream.
When did you join Three Twins? January 2008
What do you like about the company? We simply bring joyful smiles to many, many faces. I admire and respect the fact that Neal is uniquely and solely committed to making great tasting, superior quality, interesting organic ice cream and related frozen desserts.
Do you have a favorite working-at-Three-Twins experience? Seeing and hearing our daughters’ reactions when they learned that their daddy was a part of Three Twins.
Which of the three twins is your favorite? Neal. I told him he was going to be the Ben & Jerry's of organic ice cream when we first met at the opening of his first retail store in San Rafael in August 2005. I appreciate Neal's vision, creativity, determination, focus and commitment to making the best ice cream on the planet.
What is your favorite flavor of Three Twins Ice Cream? Mom's Orange Sherbet, which was the first flavor I tried when I met Neal at the San Rafael store. Bittersweet Chocolate is a close second.
Describe your job at Three Twins. I love what I do, and that is whatever it takes to spread the happiness of eating our ice cream. I am passionate about being a part of, and impacting the making and selling of, the world's best-tasting ice cream in an earth-friendly manner. In doing so, we plan to become a leading national brand of ice cream.
Talk a bit about life outside of work. I’m married to Jenny and we have two daughters, Madeline (13) and Issalina (7). Jenny is wild for Burnt Caramel and the girls love Cookies and Cream. I also am the president of the Brian Maxwell Fellows program for entrepreneurs at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.
Position: Entrepreneurial Wrangler
Where are you from? Ukiah, CA
What were you doing before Three Twins? Basking in the San Diego sunshine, playing too much golf, chasing pretty girls on the beach...you know, the typical southern California lifestyle. I was also working in the corporate wellness industry.
When did you join Three Twins? June 2011
What do you like about the company? I get to work with a bunch of different people that all see Three Twins not just as a job, but also as a company that we all get to help build and grow together. Also, every day at Three Twins presents something new to keep things fresh and interesting.
Do you have a favorite working-at-Three-Twins experience? 2011 San Francisco Street Food Festival...enough said.
Which of the three twins is your favorite? The one who signs my paycheck.
What is your favorite flavor of Three Twins Ice Cream? It’s a toss-up between Lemon Cookie and Cookies and Cream.
Describe your job at Three Twins. I help out with a lot of different stuff, but mainly I fulfill orders from customers and distributors, maintain social media efforts, and work toward finding newer, more efficient ways of operating.
Position: Event Guru
Where are you from? I was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica. My younger years were spent living on a boat in the Bahamas and Virgin Islands. Two years ago, after one too many ice storms, I moved to San Francisco from the D.C. metro area.
What were you doing before Three Twins? I worked for Whole Foods Market for the past seven years. Before my work with Whole Foods, I was a Chef and I worked security at nightclubs in D.C.
When did you join Three Twins? July 25, 2011. It was the day after my birthday...pretty sweet gift, I should say. I was so excited to start that I didn’t give myself the chance to take time off.
What do you like about the company? The atmosphere is like a small family think tank. We all have input in most areas of the company, and often you see that input come to fruition. I like that the message is more about getting our ice cream into the hands of the majority, not the minority.
Do you have a favorite working-at-Three-Twins experience? I would say my favorite memory so far would be the San Francisco Street Food Festival and the green spandex suits we wore. I had the worst food poisoning from days before the event, yet after donning the suit I felt better – and the attention, while sometimes unwanted, made me forget how bad I felt.
Which of the three twins is your favorite? I get asked this question so often. This is the only secret I keep from the people I work with, and I’m taking my answer to the grave.
What is your favorite flavor of Three Twins Ice Cream? My favorite flavor currently is a specialty flavor called Harley Crunch. Of the flavors we have in the store, I’m a big fan of mixing Chocolate Peanut Butter and Cookies and Cream. My ultimate favorite flavor will be the one I design and name myself.
Describe your job at Three Twins. As the event guru, I coordinate events and demonstrations and I manage demo specialists in regions that carry our ice cream. This includes anything from small in-store demos to large-scale concert events such as Outside Lands. Everyone pitches in here and covers areas that are outside of their job descriptions.
Talk a bit about life outside of work. I live in San Francisco. My hobbies include cooking, sailing, cycling, collecting records and wandering the city in search of new places to eat.
Position: Manager, Three Twins at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market (and Neal’s mom!)
Where are you from? New York, NY
What were you doing before Three Twins? Legal secretary before children. Secretary/bookkeeper to a New Jersey psychiatrist for 26 years, before moving to California.
When did you join Three Twins? I was drafted in July 2007 by Neal, upon our move from New Jersey.
What do you like about the company? I've got a great boss! Working for Three Twins allows us to live in San Rafael, and allows me to care for our granddaughters on a daily basis.
Do you have a favorite working-at-Three-Twins experience? When Neal would travel to the east coast, he would always bring a cooler full of ice cream. Since I knew I didn't like coffee ice cream (although I had never tried it), I always gave the Mocha Difference to a girlfriend. When I started doing the farmers’ market, I knew I should taste everything to understand the flavors. After I tried the Mocha Difference, I phoned my girlfriend to tell her how lucky she was that I had never tasted it while living in New Jersey. She never would have gotten any! Hearing the OOOOs and AHs of the people sampling the inconceivably delicious ice cream at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market is always a lot of fun.
Which of the three twins is your favorite? How can you ask a mother to pick her favorite child?
What is your favorite flavor of Three Twins Ice Cream? There are many. The top three are Dad's Cardamom, Mocha Difference and Mint Confetti.
Describe your job at Three Twins. Currently, my job is to sample and sell our inconceivably delicious ice cream at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market every Saturday. Prior to the opening of the factory in Petaluma, I also filled scoop cups, made ice cream sandwiches and made ice cream pies while working at the San Rafael shop on Sunday mornings.
Talk a bit about life outside of work. My husband Simon and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We live in San Rafael with our three dogs (all rescues), just a block and a half from the other twins: our son, Carl, and his wife, Liz, plus our two granddaughters, Sage and Timi. And, we are now on the same coast as our older son, Mark, who is in Renton, WA.
Position: Driver (and Neal’s dad!)
Where are you from? New York City, New York and New Jersey
What were you doing before Three Twins? Production manager and machinist
When did you join Three Twins? July 2007
What do you like about the company? Seeing the company grow from one ice cream shop to four shops and a factory, and being in 35 states and over 1,000 stores and still growing
Do you have a favorite working-at-Three-Twins experience? One of my first experiences at making ice cream was my own flavor, Bittersweet Chocolate with a hint of mint. I made Mint Confetti and didn't rinse the machine before going on to Bittersweet Chocolate. It was sold at the San Rafael shop.
Which of the three twins is your favorite? How does a parent choose which is his favorite?!
What is your favorite flavor of Three Twins Ice Cream? Madagascar Vanilla, Lemon Cookie, Mom's Orange Sherbet
Describe your job at Three Twins. I deliver ice cream to our customers.
Talk a bit about life outside of work. Married, live in San Rafael, three sons, one daughter-in-law, two grandchildren and three dogs
Position: Production Manager
Where are you from? Florida Panhandle
What were you doing before Three Twins? Working for High Tec Marketing, remodeling refrigerated cases
When did you join Three Twins? March 2010 – one of the first factory hires
What do you like about the company? Getting to make ice cream every day with a great factory team!
Do you have a favorite working-at-Three-Twins experience? When I was learning how to make chocolate mix with Dave in the beginning, something went wrong and the hot chocolate mix exploded all over everyone – it drenched Dave from head to toe! We learned from that mistake!
Which of the three twins is your favorite? Neal
What is your favorite flavor of Three Twins Ice Cream? Cookies and Cream
Describe your job at Three Twins. I was hired in 2010 to work on the production line. I worked hard to learn how to run the entire production room and was promoted, in July 2011, to production manager. I work with an awesome partner-in-crime/plant manager, Ali, to schedule and run the production team, make sure all the equipment is running well and manage the cleaning and sanitizing process.
Talk a bit about life outside of work. I currently live in Cotati. My passion is my black Ducati motorcycle!
Position: Plant Manager
Where are you from? Born in Fort Collins, CO. Raised in San Rafael, CA.
What were you doing before Three Twins? In 2005, I graduated with an A.S. in culinary arts and hospitality from City College of San Francisco. During the summer of 2005, I took a three-month study abroad trip in France, Spain and Italy to study food and wine! Amazing! I followed that with an internship at the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, CA, worked as chef de cuisine at Strawberry Tennis Club in Tiburon, CA, and was executive sous chef at Marin Chef Catering in Terra Linda, CA, from 2005 to 2008. From 2007 to the present, I’ve been with Three Twins Ice Cream – from head ice cream maker to plant manager!
When did you join Three Twins? February 28, 2007
What do you like about the company? Amazing story! I love that I was able to see Neal start with one little scoop shop in Terra Linda, CA. I joined the team in 2007, and helped with the growth the company has reached today. It is mind-boggling! So cool! So inspired by Neal and proud to work for Three Twins.
Do you have a favorite working-at-Three-Twins experience? Having one of the flavors I created, Lemon Cookie, join our flavors in grocery stores!
Which of the three twins is your favorite? Mr. Boss Man Neal
What is your favorite flavor of Three Twins Ice Cream? Lemon Cookie!
Describe your job at Three Twins. Oh man. I started making ice cream for Neal three days a week back in 2007. Now I am the plant manager at our factory. I make sure the factory is running: scheduling, planning, purchasing, receiving, product research, employee conflict resolution, production planning with Luke and the batch freezer ladies, flavor development, recipe testing, factory logistics, and currently helping plan the next expansion. I love my job. It is so exciting and I can't wait to tackle more projects that Neal puts in front of me. The next few years are going to be amazing!
Talk a bit about life outside of work. If I am not at the factory, I am riding my mountain or road bike all over beautiful Marin, or enjoying a good meal and wine with friends.