Dr. Joseph C. Roetheli
Born and raised in Hermann, Missouri, Dr. Joseph Roetheli earned a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in agricultural economics. After becoming a successful entrepreneur, Dr. Roetheli set out to help as many people as possible through his family’s charitable foundation, The Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation.
In his professional life, spanning nearly 40 years, Dr. Roetheli held key leadership positions at The Tennessee Valley Authority and the US Department of Agriculture and appointments at The University of Idaho and The University of Missouri-Columbia. During his professional career, Dr. Roetheli drafted legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, co-authored the topic “Biomass” in the Encyclopedia of Agriculture, wrote two chapters for the 1992 Yearbook of Agriculture, and served a two-year term on the Economic Advisory Council of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank.
Dr. Roetheli, along with his wife Judy, began as entrepreneurs in 1996. Judy challenged Dr. Roetheli to find a way to clean up the foul breath of Ivan, a family dog, and after considerable prodding, he mixed up a concoction. Ivan enjoyed eating it and about ten days later, Ivan’s breath was vastly improved. Thus, the dog treat Greenies® was born and S&M NuTec was founded. By 2005, Greenies® was the number one selling dog treat in the United States and was sold in over 60 countries. S&M NuTec, under the leadership of Dr. Roetheli and his wife, was honored with more than four dozen major awards, including being inducted into the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, receiving Stevie Awards from the American Business Association as the Best Company in America with under 100 Employees and also for the Best Package Design, receiving the Mr. K Award as the Best Small Business in Kansas City, and being named Exporter of the Year by the State of Missouri and the following year by The National District Export Council.
In May, 2006, Mars acquired all interests in S&M NuTec/Greenies®, and the Roethelis then pursued other interests, such as developing a residential housing project and producing three inspirational films. Through their charitable Foundation, the Roethelis have built nearly 300 homes and four schools for the poorest of the poor in Guyana and Guatemala and financed pet therapy and entrepreneurship projects in the Midwest.
Judy Hill Roetheli was born in Gainesville, Florida and moved to Newberry, Florida when she was eight years old. Judy has always had a passion for community service. She won the “Daughters of the American Revolution” Award” in high school (a community service honor) and thus began her path toward The Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation and giving back to those in need.
Along with her husband, Judy has made a profound imprint in the business world. She’s been able to combine her passions (pets and health/wellness) into successful enterprises: S&M NuTec and “The Spa Tuscano,” a premiere wellness and relaxation spa. Judy conceptualized the now well-known shape of Greenies® dog treats (a narrow green bar with a toothbrush head on one end and a bone knuckle on the other), and along with Joe, started the business from the ground up. In May 2006, the Roethelis sold all interest in S&M NuTec/Greenies® to Mars.
In addition to her successes in business, Judy earned a BA in Education from Trevecca Nazarene University and taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She has been actively supporting third-world assistance in housing, education (a school was named in her honor in Guyana), and micro- enterprise projects, and she supports therapy, entrepreneur, and women’s organizations and projects.
Judy and Joe have two sons, Steffan and Michael (the “S&M” in S&M NuTec). Judy relishes spending time with Steffan and Michael, their wives, and the six grandchildren.
Agnes Roetheli Gaertner
Agnes Roetheli Gaertner, pursuing her Swiss heritage, studied German and French at the University of Missouri, where she earned a BA in German and a BS in Secondary Education. She later earned her Master’s Degree in German Language and Literature at California State University, Fullerton. She taught German and French for 34 years in Southern California and served as the Foreign Language Department Chair for most of that time. In 1978, she was named a Fullbright Foreign Exchange Teacher and spent a year teaching English at a Gymnasium (college-prep high school) in Wuppertal, Germany. She was selected as a mentor teacher, and for the last three years of her teaching career, she served as chair of the Leadership Committee at Valley View High School. She also enjoyed working as the GATE facilitator and as the coach for her high school’s Academic Decathlon and Odyssey of the Mind teams, which won numerous awards.
To confirm their on-going interest in education, Agnes and her husband have established the Gaertner-Roetheli Scholarship at the high school in their hometown of Hermann, Missouri, where each year several students with interests in education, agriculture or foreign languages are named scholarship winners.
Agnes has devoted thousands of hours to the Lil’ Red Foundation. She writes and edits materials, has translated books, and has worked to uncover details of the Roetheli genealogy. She has traveled to Switzerland for the Foundation to garner information and to translate interviews with distant relatives and has also organized and led family trips to Switzerland, where she enjoys using her language skills.
Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Elumines, a socially-conscious, integrated media company, Priscilla has established an industry reputation for conceiving and orchestrating successful, out-of-the-box systems that leverage new technologies and market channels to generate new revenue streams and drive strong ROI across leading global organizations.
With extensive cross-cultural and global experience in over 120 countries at major motion picture studios and A-list broadcast networks in social, digital media, television, film, and music, Priscilla’s senior-level, executive posts include MGM Studios, Lionsgate, Viacom/CBS, and FOX.
Having launched and marketed some of the most successful global franchises and contemporary programming in broadcast history, Priscilla’s prolific media expertise spans the gamut of highly acclaimed Emmy, BAFTA, Golden Globe, SAG, and Oscar award-winning programming, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Survivor, Mad Men, Weeds, Silver Surfer, X-Men and numerous United Artists motion pictures.
Additionally, as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the MGM Worldwide Television Group, she contributed, developed, and launched billion-dollar franchises such as Legally Blonde, James Bond, Pink Panther, and Stargate.
As CEO of her own company and Senior Franchise and Digital Media Specialist at MGM, Priscilla pioneered and packaged strategic, online ad-revenue partnerships among major recording labels, film studios and blue-chip brands with multiple revenue streams. A social media innovator, she specialized in turnkey digital marketing, production, mobile, mobile app creation, and media initiatives, including viral, influencer and social marketing, content creation, website development, and strategic planning.
She attended Boston College and the University of San Francisco, where she designed her own major in Foreign Languages and Comparative Literature, with a minor in Philosophy.
Priscilla is a Board Member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Committee Member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Television with a Conscience, Board Member of The Blank Theatre, and Advisor for Public Works, Inc., a non-profit committed to the betterment of education, through research, tutoring and the education of high-risk young adults.
Robert Kirk is an Emmy award-winning producer and director with over 30 years of television, feature film, commercial and interactive experience. He is Co-Founder of Digital Ranch Productions and Texture, Inc. and recently served as Executive Producer of the Discovery Channel series, James Ellroy’s LA: City of Demons, as well as Out of Egypt, Combat Cash, Animal Planet’s Animal Armageddon and the upcoming 3net series Dark Secrets, produced in 3D.
Rob Kirk was Executive Producer of three popular History Channel series: Mail Call, Dogfights and Shifting Gears, as well as the trueTV series, Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege and Justice. He was the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of Dangerous Missions, also for The History Channel, and Weapons at War, a critically-acclaimed series for the A&E Network hosted by George C. Scott.
Kirk was nominated for an Emmy for his three-hour special, The Last Days of World War II, and received an Emmy for his special, Remembering World War II: Pearl Harbor. He also produced and directed the epic two-hour History Channel special, The Ottoman Empire. His baseball reality documentary, The Minors, followed players in the Baltimore Orioles farm system for over two years.
His feature documentary, Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness, about a Japanese rescuer of Jews in WWII, won Best Documentary at the Hollywood Film Festival, was featured at the United Nations in New York, and aired nationally on PBS.
In the digital world, Rob Kirk is the Executive Producer of the San Diego Zoo Children’s iPad App and Baby Panda’s New Home, and he has also created interactive Apps for companies such as Four Seasons Hotels and Walmart. He produced the iPad App versions of the independent books Surfing the Middle East and Brain Eater’s Bible. He was also the Executive Producer of three renowned interactive CD-Roms: Nine Worlds with Patrick Stewart; Wild Blue Yonder and Alcohol 101.
Rob Kirk and Digital Ranch also created more than 30 national TV commercials and over 70 webisodes for the US Army’s most successful ad campaign ever, An Army of One / GoArmy.com.
Some of Kirk’s other work includes Angels: The Mysterious Messengers (NBC), Robert Redford and Sydney Pollack: The Men and Their Movies (NBC), Making of a Model (ABC), Sightings (FOX), Robots (A&E), Top Speed (History) and Sink the Bismarck (A&E), as well as the feature films Kid Colter and Destroyer starring Anthony Perkins.
As Executive Director of Key Companies & Associates and The Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation, Melissa is a an integral member of the senior management team, providing strategic direction and project execution for all aspects of the businesses, including office and project management, administration, marketing, and communications. With a multitude of responsibilities across thirteen prominent companies, Melissa enjoys taking part in a highly rewarding business environment.
Being able to maintain a strong foundation of values and a positive attitude while treating others with respect and striving to be helpful are the attributes Melissa attempts to achieve daily.
With twenty years of superlative administration and leadership experience, Melissa’s career experiences include working as part of an award-winning mutual fund company and world-class, award-winning pet treat company.
A lifetime resident of the Kansas City area, Melissa is married with three children. She is an active supporter of her children, their schools and activities, and her local church. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and taking excursions to the lake.
ROOTS TO THE AMERICAN DREAM
American Bootstrap Company
ROOTS TO THE AMERICAN DREAM
- Executive Producers
- Joseph Roetheli
- Judy Roetheli
- Agnes Roetheli Gaertner
- Priscilla Pesci
- Robert Kirk
- Associate Producer
- Melissa Place
- R. L. Shontell
- Director of Photography
- Sonja Stark
- Graphic Design
- Jeff Klarin/Bughouse
- Additional Graphics Matt Filer
Composition and Supervision by
- Tommy Coster
- Additional Music by
- Brad Fairman
- Sound Re-Recording Mixer
- Sound Editing
- Russell Gorsky
- Voiceover Recordist
- Tracy Fraim
- Marketing and Distribution
- Elumines Inc.
Lisa Green Bolhuis
- Online Editor
- John Moore
- Footage and Photos Provided by
University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection
Edward J. Kemper
Anna Kemper Hesse
Gasconade County Historical Society
Historic Hermann Inc.’s Museum at the German School
Deutschheim State Historic Site
Brush & Palette Club, Inc.
- Produced by
- American Bootstrap Company, Inc.
- In association with
- Elumines Productions