Title: Chef & CEO
Company: 4R Ventures, LLC
Location: Winter Park, FL
John Rivers’ diverse career experience spans two decades and ranges from managing a billion-dollar pharmaceutical distribution operation to opening one of fastest-growing new restaurants in the southeast with his Texas-inspired 4Rivers Smokehouses in Winter Park, Winter Garden and Longwood, Florida.
Formerly the president of CuraScript Specialty Distribution, Rivers managed a $1.4 billion pharmaceutical operation leading strategic growth and business development efforts, which led to the creation of multiple companies, programs and alliances such as the Wal-Mart Specialty Pharmacy. Rivers’ previous positions as the director of the Strategic Business Group for Johnson & Johnson, Cordis Division, and vice president of National Accounts for American Home Products fine-tuned his experiences in business modeling, strategic plan development and leadership skills.
Rivers' experiences parlayed into the business strategies for his new company, 4R Ventures, LLC, the parent company of 4R Restaurant Group. 4R Foods and 4R Signature Products manufacture and distribute the 4R line of sauces, rubs and smoked brisket throughout the United States. Rivers’ first location of 4Rivers Smokehouse opened in 2007. Brand awareness for 4Rivers Smokehouse has been in development since Rivers launched what was dubbed his “BBQ Ministry,” a continuing charitable initiative for local schools, churches and charitable organizations. Since 2004, 4Rivers Smokehouse has successfully contributed more than $300,000 to organizations and families in need.
Rivers’ business concept immediately garnered recognition with three consecutive Silver Spoon Awards from Orlando Home & Leisure and “Best Barbecue” acknowledgments by Florida Travel and Life, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Business Journal, Orlando Magazine and Orlando Weekly, also for three consecutive years. Rivers has appeared on NBC and FOX morning shows as well as The Good Life Network. He has been celebrated nationally on Food&Wine.com, and in Cigar Aficionado, Restaurant Business, FOOD Magazine and the Paula Deen Magazine. In addition to contributing to Cowboys & Indians Magazine, Rivers was invited to present at the 2011 and 2012 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival and to cook at the James Beard House in New York City in 2013.
Rivers is a 1989 marketing graduate of the Florida State University College of Business. He serves on the boards of numerous school and community-based charitable organizations and resides in Winter Park, Fla., with his wife Monica and two children, Jared and Cameron.