About Far East Brokers:
After over 30 years, we’re proud to be considered a valued partner and industry leader by many of the most successful retailers in the world.
To find our greatest assets, you have to go beyond the balance sheet. Over the years we’ve sought out and brought into the company the most talented, experienced group of leaders in the business. People whose knowledge, ability to engage with clients and work hard for their success is almost legendary. These aren’t “pie-in-the-sky ivory tower” thinkers. These are doers. Folks who roll up their sleeves every day, dive into their work and make a measurable, positive difference in their customers’ businesses.
Charles Zimmerman, Founder & CEO
Charles Zimmerman is a true pioneer in the industry. He started working in a grocery store at age 9 and now, over 68 years later, he’s still going strong.
A large part of his early years were spent learning and leading at Setzer’s Grocery Stores which later became Pic ‘N Save, the original big box Superstore. Charles was a key player in the launch of the first Pic ‘N Save store—beating Sam Walton and WalMart to the marketplace by seven years! By the mid -1980s he had helped lead the company to regional dominance with 40 stores employing over 3,000 people.
In 1961 Charles recognized the importance of Asia as a reliable, inexpensive source of General Merchandise and became one of the first to import their products into the U.S. His vision to become the premier importer of promotional and seasonal general merchandise to the U.S. supermarket and drug industry resulted in the creation of Far East Brokers in 1981. The company now serves as a direct source of quality imports. They also offer customers easy, powerful marketing and logistics support.
After over 50 years traveling the Orient and establishing deep and lasting relationships with major trading partners, Charles is proud that Far East has become one of the largest and most respected companies of its kind in the country. Under his leadership, the company has grown and prospered, now supplying over 12,000 stores in the U.S. He attributes much of the success of the company to its dedication to quality, innovation, service and trust—which he demands of each of his employees and vendors.
To Charles, business is only part of the story. In addition to his active role in the day to day functions of the company, he is a firm believer in giving back to the community. In 1998 he established the non-profit Zimmerman Family Foundation, Inc., which contributes to a long list of worthy causes each year. He sits on the Foundation Board of Community Hospice of Northeast Florida and volunteers his time to many charitable organizations.
Charles and his wife, Elli, live in Jacksonville. Their greatest joys are traveling and spending as much time with their children and grandchildren as they can.
Morrie Zimmerman, President
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Morrie Zimmerman spent his High School years working after school and weekends in both retail and wholesale distribution businesses.
Morrie graduated with a degree in International Business from the Terry College of Business of the University of Georgia. While in college he spent two summers working in Asia and Hong Kong. After a successful 8 year career in the insurance and investment industry, Morrie joined his father in 1994 as Far East’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. During his time in this role, the company’s revenue and customer base grew ten-fold and in 2010 he was promoted to President where he leads the strategic direction and daily business operations of the company.
As President, Morrie continues to strategically shape the future of Far East. Recognizing that today’s retailer requires suppliers with advanced capabilities and skillsets, he is building upon the solid foundation he assumed, but with an eye toward the future by fostering a performance-driven culture focused on delivering results for each customer. Under his leadership, Far East maintains its position as the industry pace setter and thought leader in business intelligence, technology, superior product, consumer insights, and shopper marketing.
Morrie is very active and visible in the North Florida area where he commits much of his time and energy to improving the community. He is heavily involved with his synagogue, the Jacksonville Jewish Center, and he sits on the boards of several non-profits including the Jacksonville Zoo, Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, and the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University. He lives in Jacksonville with his wife Chase, their son Bennett and daughter Wendell. When not traveling for Business, Morrie still enjoys trips with his family and following the activities of his children.
Michael Sims, Vice President, Business Development
Mike started his career in various sales and field marketing roles with Nabisco. From there, he moved to the Acosta Sales and Marketing Company in the mid-1990s where he was responsible for all sales, trade marketing and merchandising activity for a $62 million portfolio of large consumer brands. He also created the company’s first corporate category management and marketing support department.
In 1998, Mike started his own Shopper Marketing Agency, Promo Depot, servicing the CPG industry.
With offices in Jacksonville, Florida and Bentonville, Arkansas, Promo Depot became one of the most respected agencies of its kind, serving the needs of many blue-chip consumer brands and retail customers throughout North America. In 2009, he sold the company to Acosta Sales and Marketing Company where he became President of Acosta’s Marketing Division for the next three years. While there, he led the successful turn-around of Acosta’s fledgling MatchPoint Marketing Company and was responsible for the integration, rebranding, and expansion of the company’s integrated marketing group, AMG.
After just two years at the helm, Mike’s group was recognized by industry clients, suppliers and peers as a Top 12 Shopper Marketing Agency when HUB Magazine ranked AMG #8 in 2011, then shot up to #3 in 2012. Prior to his arrival, MatchPoint had never been awarded any industry ranking.
Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Jacksonville University and lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife Dea and their sons Lawrence and Logan. In his spare time he enjoys freshwater fishing, travel and college sports. He is active in various philanthropic endeavors throughout his community and has been a member of the Rotary Club of Deerwood since 2004.
David Luce, Vice President of Merchandising
David Luce has been with Far East Brokers since 2000. With over 32 years in the industry, David is a seasoned retail expert who thrives on the fast pace and ever-changing challenges of the retail environment.
He started his career as a General Merchandise Clerk with HEB in Texas and worked his way up to Drug Store Director. His drive and performance earned him the position of GME Everyday/Seasonal Category Manager at both Bi-Lo Stores and Harris Teeter in the Carolinas.
As the leader of the company’s aggressive product development, sourcing and production initiatives, David spends at least three months of the year overseas. There he maintains all current factory relationships, searches out new suppliers, oversees the product inspection/quality control processes and continually evaluates the performance of all suppliers.
Strong retail experience. Product sourcing and quality expert. Couple all that with his knowledge of each customer’s unique merchandising needs and it’s easy to see why David is such a highly regarded member of the Far East Brokers team.
David earned his degree in Business Management from San Antonio College. He lives in St. Augustine, Florida with his wife Teresa and their two daughters. In his spare time he enjoys running and watching his daughters compete in gymnastics.
Lou Pessagno, Vice President, Sales
In 1997, Lou joined Far East as National Sales Manager.
Since then, he has had a major impact on expanding our customer base and dramatically increasing sales. Starting work at the W.T. Grant Company when he was only 16, Lou moved on to service supermarkets as a general merchandise distributor. He later spent 22 years as Director of General Merchandise at A&P, starting as leader of one division and working his way up to the company’s corporate headquarters with responsibility for over 1,200 supermarkets.
Having dedicated most of his working life to our industry, Lou has become an important authority and ambassador to all of us. He believes the only way to stay ahead of the trends and opportunities of the retail marketplace is to spend as much time as possible in the stores. You’ll find him walking the aisles with our customers, talking to shoppers and making sure our company is doing everything it can to help maximize sales and profits.
Lou and his wife, Karey, live in Jacksonville, Florida. He enjoys golf, riding motorcycles and working in the yard.
Paul Lambert, CFO
Paul is in charge of all administrative, financial and logistics functions of both domestic and international operations. With extensive experience in resource, product and project development, he became a valuable member of our team in 2004.
Paul received his MBA from Temple University and is an experienced business leader with a background in domestic and international banking, finance and importation operations. He is in charge of many important functions of our business: Strategic management of the production, shipping, receiving, technology and facility departments. He is also responsible for customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Traveling overseas often, Paul manages financial, operational and government partnerships. He also works with many of our trading partners evaluating new and established logistics opportunities as well as directing C-TPAT validations and assessments.
Paul and his wife live in Atlantic Beach, Florida. They enjoy traveling and supporting local community organizations.