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The Winery at Bull Run

Noteworthy People of The Winery at Bull Run

 

The Hickox Family, Owners

The son of a career naval officer completing his service in Washington D.C., Jon Hickox moved to Fairfax County, Virginia as a young boy in 1982. He always preferred to spend time outdoors hunting, fishing, camping and scouring the woods & fields for Civil War relics and Indian artifacts. Many summers and weekends were spent on a friend's family farm near Chantilly and through working on the farm and spending time outdoors, Jon developed a deep spiritual bond with the land and the people who lived and worked there. He was also deeply affected by witnessing firsthand the slow destruction of farmland associated with the rural crescent that encircles the DC metropolitan area. Through these combined experiences Jon has gained an appreciation and respect for the land, history, and people associated with this passing of "Olde Virginia."

While Jon is a relative newcomer to the wine industry the core components of business management, respect for history, and an understanding of agriculture are nothing new. In 1993 Jon graduated from Robinson High School and then attended George Mason University to study business, math, and history. While attending college, Jon worked as a project estimator for a remodeling firm where he would learn more about home construction, architecture, and the hard knocks of business. By his senior year in college he decided to start his own business and spent the next 16 years building his firm into one of the largest remodeling companies in Northern Virginia from the ground up. While attending George Mason University Jon met the love of his life, Kimberly, who was also a history major. In 2005 they got married and settled in Arlington, VA where they live today with their beautiful daughters, Delaney and Lilly, (who have wines named in their honor) and two dogs Hunter & Mosby.

In 2008, with the real estate market in full downturn, an opportunity to purchase a 21-acre farm at the edge of Fairfax County, perfectly nestled against the Manassas National Battlefield and Bull Run Creek, presented itself. Jon & Kim took a leap of faith and 4 years later (and with a lot of hard work and determination) the winery opened in June 2012.

Amongst a sea of urban landscape, The Winery at Bull Run is a working farm winery focused on crafting fine Virginia wines but it also is a tribute to the history and preservation of 19th century pastoral Fairfax County, taking us back to a much simpler time in our nation's history.

 

George F. McDonald II, General Manager

George brings a rich and diverse experience to the service industry and draws from his early preparation in Hotel and Restaurant Management at Paul Smith's College in New York.  His early appointment by the founders of Anton Airfood to a leadership position gave him opportunity to not only establish new trends and a standard of excellence at more than 17 major airport terminals in the United States but to grow the company's annual revenue exponentially.  His commitment to excellence and a keen understanding of vision and purpose was key to his promotion to VP of Operations for the Anton Executive Management Team in 1995 and later to Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer in 2001.

Additional appointments include supervision for operations and food and beverage services at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY.  George was the opening Executive General Manager for the new Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.  George has worked cooperatively with national brands and franchises such as T.G.I. Friday's, Phillips Seafood, and Wolfgang Puck Express to substantiate and diversify food offerings in public spaces.

Equally comfortable in event management and facilitation, George has extensive experience in large and small format functions in regard to menu development, table décor, service and oversight.  His expertise and attention to detail is evident in his work with military and national organizations for which he has coordinated major events.  

Natasha Hamad, Special Events Director

 Natasha Hamad is a native of Manassas, VA and a George Mason University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Tourism & Events Management. While studying at GMU she interned with Celebrate Fairfax, assisting with the success of Northern VA's largest community-wide celebration which hosts tens of thousands of visitors yearly. After graduating she began her career in the events industry with a small non-profit foundation out of Sterling, VA, called The Brenda MacDonald Melanoma Research Foundation. She was hired as a full service planner to coordinate the foundation's annual Wings of Hope Gala in 2010, supporting melanoma research. The event was an amazing success raising nearly $250,000 for the important cause; and with such an experience she gained great knowledge of the industry as well as attention to the importance of non-profit work.

Natasha has a love for event planning that she discovered while studying at GMU which continues to blossom as she gains experience in the event industry in Northern VA. She has an exquisite attention to detail with regards to coordination as well as aesthetics, and her cheerful attitude is contagious, all of which absolutely carries through the events that she is involved in.

Natasha is currently managing events and weddings at The Winery at Bull Run. Natasha was born and raised in Northern Virginia, so the amount of history behind The Winery at Bull Run is a value that she feels cannot be beat. She fits right in with the comfortable atmosphere and brilliant landscape at The Winery at Bull Run; and is thrilled to be a part of such an important up and coming venue in Northern VA, with such tribute to Virginia history.

Though Natasha was raised her whole life in Northern, VA, her parents recently relocated to Dubai in the U.A.E. She enjoys Skyping with them regularly as well as the opportunity to travel overseas to visit them! Traveling the world and experiencing other cultures are at the top of her list of favorite activities to engage in when not spending time at the winery. Above all though, spending quality time with her family, wherever that may be, is truly the spice of her life.

Lisa Damico, Director of Marketing

Lisa Damico joined The Winery at Bull Run in 2015 and oversees the marketing, brand strategy, graphic design, social media, photography, and public events for the winery. Lisa’s strong communication skills greatly enhance our outreach through the winery website, monthly newsletters and email blasts. Drawing on her 15 years of event planning and marketing experience, Lisa is passionate about sharing the beauty of the winery’s property, rich history, and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to produce our award-winning wine. Her previous experience includes seven years at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where she managed the marketing for the Office of VSA and Accessibility. A graduate of the University of Virginia (where she was first introduced to Virginia wine), Lisa speaks fluent Spanish and French and enjoys traveling, cooking, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and photography.
 

Eddie Fam, Event Sales Director

Eddie attended George Mason University where he began working on grassroots marketing for local bands and planning regional music festivals. He specializes in wedding planning, corporate holiday parties, charity fundraisers, and event marketing campaigns. Since 1997, he has also worked with various celebrities, dignitaries, and ambassadors while producing events for up to 30,000 attendees.

Fam is the President of IMPACT Collective which manages an assortment of talented business professionals who offer a variety of unique services including marketing, public relations, event management, concert production, wedding planning, and venue sales. He is also the Founder of Meant 2 Live Foundation who seeks to empower impoverished lives around the world. Eddie's passion and purpose in life is to use his gifts and talents in marketing and events to actively serve the community while making a global IMPACT!

 

Kathleen McCormack, Assistant Manager | Wine Club Coordinator

Kathleen "Kat" McCormack transitioned into the wine industry this past May, after 10 years in property management in Indiana and Washington, D.C. Her love of visiting wineries turned into a passion for premium wines and a desire to be a part of the growing wine industry in Virginia. Kathleen brings a wealth of customer service, leadership, and sales and marketing skills with her and is in the process of obtaining her “Certified Specialist of Wine” through the Society of Wine Educators.

  

Wayne Mills, Vigneron

Wayne Mills has been in the nursery business for 40+ years; he took a part time job while a Senior in High School and is still in the business until today! Wayne is the co-originator and patent holder of the Dallas Fern. He formerly owned Dulles Gardens in Herndon, Virginia, when it was still considered the country. He was the grower for C&M Nursery in Fairfax in the early 90's before running the Garden Center of the Reston Farm Market. While running Wayne's Wholesale Nursery he has grown plants for some of the largest Greenroofs in Washington D.C., such as the US Coast Guard Headquarters, and the 400,000 square foot "Waterfront DC" greenroof project in Southeast DC. As well as providing flowering seasonal plants to the Arlington National Cemetery, The Pentagon, The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial, The Architect of the Capitol, The Library of Congress, The Smithsonian Institution, as well as hundreds of landscape contractors in the Washington D.C. Metro area.

Wayne has always been interested in Virginia's Wine grape industry and has followed its growth for the past 15 years, looking for an inroad into the industry. The Winery at Bull Run has given him that opportunity. Wayne is excited for this ground floor introduction; one where he can grow alongside the vines...

 

Chris Pearmund, Executive Winemaker

Our Executive Winemaker, Chris Pearmund, began his career as a chef in the restaurant industry and has been in the Virginia wine industry for over 23 years. He has opened 11 wineries throughout this period and has assisted in the establishment of numerous vineyards.

Past positions held by Chris include: President of the Virginia Vineyards Association, Board Member of the Virginia Wineries Association, and Chairman of the Virginia Wine and Food Society. He regularly speaks at wine, wine festivals and vineyard seminars and conferences and has published The Grape Press, a quarterly professional vineyard trade publication, for 5 years.

Chris is a nationally certified wine judge by the American Wine Society, has taught the Higher Certificate Education course for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, Masters of Wine program in London, and has organized and taught courses for both amateurs and professionals in wine appreciation.

 

J. Ashton Lough, Winemaker

Graduate of VMI '91, Economics.
Graduate of UGA '12, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Ashton's early interest in winemaking began in his high school years, "much cheaper than the ABC store". He honed his skill as a home wine and beer maker while working in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Georgia. While doing his research on biofuel production, he determined his interest in the fermentation process was far more fascinating than biofuel.

Following on his passion for the art of winemaking he sought out Virginia's preeminent winemaker, Chris Pearmund and a bond was formed. Chris hired Ashton as a "cellar rat" at Pearmund Cellars and after his apprenticeship promoted him to assistant winemaker. When Chris was opening the new Vint Hill Craft Winery he made Ashton his winemaker for that winery. When Jon Hickox hired Chris as his executive winemaker, Ashton lent his hand co-developing the award winning wines currently offered at The Winery at Bull Run. Ashton continues today managing the winemaking processes at all three wineries under the tutelage of his mentor Chris Pearmund. "Winemaking and I found each other and there is nothing I would rather be doing than making fine Virginia wine for The Winery at Bull Run, Pearmund Cellars and Vint Hill Craft Winery."

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