Carl Sweat, a Butler High School graduate, is the CEO of The FRS Co., a Foster City, Calif.-based company that sells energy, protein, immunity and weight-loss drinks. He has also held top positions at Coca-Cola, Fuze Beverage LLC and Starbucks.
Before joining FRS, Sweat served as senior vice president at Starbucks, overseeing the global beverage unit. Previously, he spent 22 years at Coca-Cola North America, and later as president and general manager of Fuze Beverage LLC.
Sweat said his parents and high school teachers told him that he was smart and capable of great things. Participating in the Governor’s Honors Program was a turning point, he said.
“I began to believe a little bit more of what my parents and teachers had been saying. Nobody in my family had ever been to college, but my parents always said ‘When you go to college … ’ ” he said.
Being a student at Butler also taught him valuable lessons in teamwork, which have helped him throughout his career.
“You had to learn to get along with and value people no matter what their background was. I had friends that lived in places that would rip your heart out. You had to learn to appreciate the skill that everybody around you had and be a team player,” Sweat said.
During his time at Coca-Cola, he held various management and marketing positions, helping to launch Coke Zero and overseeing management and marketing for Coca-Cola Classic and Sprite.
Sweat earned a master’s in brand management and a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing from University of Georgia.
“The Coca-Cola company recruited me right out of grad school. When you’re doing something you really love, it tends to come a little easier,” Sweat said. “I was always the youngest person at Coke being promoted into doing certain jobs. I was named at a very young age to be the guy who figures out how to bring the glass bottle shape and put it into plastic bottles back in the early to mid-90s. That gave us a huge competitive advantage here in the U.S.”
Sweat joined FRS two and a half years ago when it was still an Internet company. He has helped FRS transition into retail, with products sold at Kroger, Publix and Bi-Lo.
He said the company’s product was developed 10 years ago by Harvard scientists who wanted to help chemotherapy patients have more energy and support their immunity.
The University of South Carolina has conducted studies about the product.
“They were able to show with these clinical studies that it helps the body generate its own energy … and lets you train longer,” he said.
The products are being endorsed by high-profile athletes, such as NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Sweat met his wife, Michele, a Hephzibah High School graduate, when they worked together at Sconyers Bar-B-Que. She and his son still live in Roswell, Ga.
“I go back and forth between Atlanta and San Francisco, but Augusta’s home,” Sweat said.