ONCE UPON A TIME...
David Jenkins, Changing the nutrition world from the inside out
David Andrew Jenkins was born (May 25, 1952) in Pointe-à-Pierre, Trinidad and Tobago: British West Indies, the son of an oil refinery manager. Jenkins is a serial entrepreneur and inventor within the United States sports nutrition industry and is an international multi-patent holder. As President and Chief Executive Officer of NEXT Proteins, Inc., Jenkins is the visionary, leader and financier in the creation of the world's first carbonated protein drinks. Today this breakthrough technology is embodied in six patents issued in the U.S. as well as in more than 32 countries representing the majority of the world's population.
Jenkins founded and incorporated NEXT Proteins, Inc., based in Carlsbad, California, in 1988. Under his direction and with 100 percent personal funding, NEXT Proteins grew from a garage startup, with $50,000 in capital, to a leader in U.S. whey protein products.
In 2000, Jenkins' NEXT Proteins was profiled by The Wall Street Journal, "Olympic Runner Goes For Protein Gold – Snack Chip Gives Athlete Lead Over Food Giants and Helps Redeem Tarnished Career".
As a track and field athlete, Jenkins was formerly the number one ranked 400-meter runner in the world (1975) by U.S. Track & Field News, European 400-meter champion in Helsinki, Finland (1971), American 400-meter champion (1975), and an Olympic silver medalist 4 x 400 meter relay in Munich, West Germany (1972). In 1987, Jenkins was the architect and co-conspirator in what the U.S. government said was the largest steroid smuggling operation in the nation's history, at that time.
During the late 1970s, Jenkins began his commercial career as the sales director at Reebok International in Bolton Lancashire, England. There, he was involved in product development and testing. In addition, in the late 70s he met with and visited Paul Fireman, head of a U.S. sporting goods distributor, in Boston introducing him to Reebok and helping establish the then embryonic brand in the United States.
During 1975, although ranked first in the world by U.S. Track & Field News and while training for the 1976 Olympic Games, Jenkins began feeling pressure to uphold his high competitive standards and started using anabolic steroids. "It didn't help" he said, noting that he finished seventh in the 400-meter race that year and in 1980. "I got hurt. I used too much. It was the beginning of selling my soul, really."
In the 1980s Jenkins together with Juan Javier Macklis set up a plant for the production of anabolic steroids in Mexico which they wanted to sell on the U.S. market. In April of 1987, Jenkins was arrested and pleaded guilty in December of that year for the trafficking of steroids worth around $100 million. He was sentenced by Judge J. Lawrence Irving in U.S. District Court San Diego, who famously said to Jenkins during sentencing, "You had it all! You have brains, you're bilingual. In addition, you have great health and a fantastic, God-given athletic ability. Then enters greed and the whole thing seems to go down the toilet bowl", recounted in an Edinburgh Evening Post story dated February 2009.
In 1998, Jenkins was featured in a story in The Independent, a newspaper in the United Kingdom, titled "Drugs in sport: The former cheat who prospered." Here Judge Irving described the case as the greatest tragedy that had come before him in his six and a half years on the Federal Bench. According to the published story, he (Jenkins) engaged in a dramatic pause when asked whether he was a millionaire, before responding with one word - "multi?" At 46, 27 years after winning the European 400-meters title, Jenkins is a sure-fire success once again. The image which many will have of him from his competitive days during the 1970s, struggling over the final 100-meters after blasting out of the blocks, does not appear to be holding true in real life.
In 1988 Jenkins was sentenced to seven years in the Boron Federal Prison Camp in California's Mojave Desert, but was released early, after serving 10 months and 15 days, for good behavior.
Admitting he "screwed up" by getting involved in the steroid-smuggling operation, Jenkins embarked on an honest path that led him to develop whey-based protein powders.
While out on bail, Jenkins wanted to prove to the court he could turn his life around. In 1988 Jenkins started his nutrition company and began working on a protein powder, convinced that its muscle-building properties could be marketed as a healthy, legal alternative to steroids. This is when he created and launched Pro Optibol™.
Today, Jenkins is used as a source for journalists writing stories about fallen sports stars, as in this 1988 New York Times piece titled, "Drug Use By Athletes Runs Free Despite Test". "Jenkins, who was a sprinter on Britain's 1972 Olympic team, divulged another aspect of the problem when he admitted that he had once been ''protected'' by the system. Jenkins, who was using steroids at the time, said that a meet director in Britain told him that the seventh-place finisher in Jenkins's race would be tested. Jenkins said he evaluated the field and decided there was a good chance he could finish seventh, then he withdrew. 'Whether it's a country or a federation,'' he said, ''It is not in their vested interest to lose their competitors.''
Combining his engineering degree and manufacturing knowledge with his passion for sports, Jenkins went to work developing whey-based powders. He initially stored the whey protein supplement in his garage. The effectiveness was legendary and combined with astute marketing; Designer Whey® became a national success.
Jenkins' further honed his expertise in successful product development and marketing. Since the founding of NEXT Proteins, Inc. in 1988 he has developed the following products:
•1988 Pro Optibol™ – recovery formula and lean muscle optimizer, based on postoperative hospital nutrition. The company sponsored seven-time Hawaii ironman winner Paula Newby-Fraserto endorse the product
•1991 Ultimate Orange® - the original pre-workout energy drink (developed with Dan Duchaine)
•1993 Designer Whey® – a market leader and top selling line of protein powders
•2000 Nextra™ Protein Crunch —a protein snack chip. NEXT Proteins, Inc. and Nextra were profiled in The Wall Street Journal article, "Olympic Runner Goes for Protein Gold --- Snack Chip Gives Athlete Lead Over Food Giants and Helps Redeem Tarnished Career"
•2001 Designer Whey® Protein Blast – a ready-to-drink protein beverage
•2002 Detour® Protein Energy Bars – product was described as "Snickers on Steroids" Detour became the market leading and category defining triple-layer protein bar. Subsequently, in 2004 Jenkins and his Detour bar were featured on Food Network's Unwrapped "Protein in Your Pocket" episode.
•2003 Aria® Women's Protein Powder
•2005 XAPP® Carbonated Protein Drinks, the world's first carbonated protein.
In addition to his work with NEXT Proteins, Jenkins founded Xipe Press in 1996 and published the book, "Underground Bodyopus: Militant Weight Loss and Recomposition". The book was authored by Dan Duchaine.
Key Business Development and Transactions
In September 2006, NEXT Proteins sold its protein bar business and factory in Minden, Nevada to Forward Foods. Forward Foods was formed by senior food industry executives, key managers of NEXT Proteins nutritional bar business, and New York private investment firm, Emigrant Capital, a subsidiary of Emigrant bank.
During the Summer of 2008, NEXT Proteins entered into a license agreement with NBC to become the exclusive licensee to manufacture, distribute and sell protein powders in connection with NBC's weight loss reality show The Biggest Loser® to create branded The Biggest Loser® Protein Powders.
In 2011, Jenkins sold the Designer Whey business including the protein powders, bars, and shakes business to Designer Protein, LLC., a subsidiary of Athena Wellness Brands, LLC. Designer Protein, LLC. is a newly formed company that is backed by GarMark Partners, Northwood Ventures and Stockton Road Capital.
Background, Education, and International Sport
David Jenkins attended the University of Edinburgh (1970-1973) where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering Science [Chemical Engineering] as a British Petroleum Industrial Apprentice. Thereafter, he attended Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, where he earned his postgraduate diploma in Business Management and Marketing (1974).
Scottish documentary company, Pelicula Films, featured David Jenkins during his training in 1975 as he prepared for the 1976 Olympic Games (Montreal, Quebec, CA). The film, The Long Sprint: Diary of an Olympic Athlete, follows Jenkins from his training, races and the Olympic Games heats. Jenkins qualified for the Olympic 400-meter finals but did not medal. The documentary film was directed by Michael Alexander and won the Gold Grand Prix Award in the British International Sport Film and Television Festival in 1977. The film is available in the Scottish Screen Archive, the national film library.
In 1976, Jenkins was awarded a Travelling Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. His project's title was "Community Sport Participation and Provision" and the award enabled him to visit the United States and West Germany.
In his youth, Jenkins was the European record holder at 400-meters for under 17 and under 19 years old. In 1969, he represented Great Britain's senior open team in Hamburg, West Germany, winning the 400-meters at age 17 years four months.
Sprinting: It Runs In The Family
In 1975, Jenkins and his renowned brother, Roger Jenkins, represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Finland at Crystal Palace, London as the UK's #1 and #2 400m runners according to "Athletics 75: A Birds Eye Yearbook", written by the late Ron Pickering. Jenkins' international athletic career spanned three decades, 1969 through 1982 starting on cinder tracks, to synthetic tracks from hand timing to electronic timing. His notable achievements include:
•British National 400 meter Record Holder 1971-1985.
•Held British and United Kingdom records for best performances 100-meters at 10.1 seconds [10.33], 200-meters at 20.3 seconds [20.66], 300-meters at 32.44 seconds, 400-meters at 44.93 seconds and 500-meters at 1:00.9 seconds.
•1971 - Jenkins broke iconic Scottish Olympic sprint champion, Eric Liddle's, University of Edinburgh's 400-meter record of 47.6 seconds (world and Olympic record Paris, France 1924). A record Liddle held from 1924 until 1971. Jenkins' University record of 45.3 seconds (Europa Cup Semi-Final Oslo, Norway, 1973) remains today. Eric Liddell's remarkable story has been the subject of several books and television documentaries, as well as the Oscar winning Film 'Chariots of Fire'.
•1973-1977 David Hemery coached Jenkins. Hermey won Olympic gold (Mexico City 1968) and bronze (Munich, West Germany 1972) medals in the 400-meter hurdles. He also earned a silver medal while on the same 4x 400-meter relay team as Jenkins in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. The Olympic silver medal 4X400 meter relay team included Martin Reynolds, Alan Pascoe, Hemery and David Jenkins. Hemery went on to become President of United Kingdom Athletics from 1998-2002.
•1974 Jenkins was awarded Fifth Place in the British Sportsman of the Year voting by the Daily Express newspaper.
•1974 Jenkins had the "greatest run of his life", according to the race announcer, when he won the 4x400m relay in the European Championships.
•1976 Olympic semi-final heat 400-meter men's race featured three former European champions: David Jenkins (1971); Jan Werner (1969); Karl Honz (1974).
•1977 Participated in the first IAAF World Cup in Athletics at the Rheinstadion in Düsseldorf, West Germany. An international track and field sporting event sponsored by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
•1977 Jubilee Games men's 200-meter
•1978 Jenkins featured on a Sportscaster Card.
•1982 European Championships 4x400–meter relay
•1999, former British 400-meter Olympic silver medalist Roger Black dedicated a chapter titled "The Jenkins Factor, in his autobiography "How Long is the Course?" ISBN 0-233-99644-3, to Jenkins who was helping advise him in the final months of his 1996 Olympic preparation. Jenkins was credited with changing Black's philosophy on sports and competition. The book was published by Andre Deutsch.
In the book, "How Long is the Course?" Roger Black recounted: "As I went down to my marks, something else happened. 'This is for you Jenks,' I said. I don't know why. I hadn't been consciously thinking of it. And there are certainly people in the sport who wouldn't have liked to hear me mentioning David Jenkins because, he is, after all, a man who has served time as a drug smuggler and has admitted to taking drugs while competing for Britain in the 1970s and 1980s over 400 metres. But I knew how much his advice had helped me prepare for my highest moment of achievement. That is what I felt; and is what I said."
"The fact stands that I have let the former British 400 metres record holder David Jenkins, who was jailed for drug smuggling in 1988 and who also admitted to experimenting with steroids during his time as an athlete, play a major part in my career."
"That was a period of great pain for him and there was only one way to go from then on. I think he came out a far better man…He's now an extraordinarily successful businessman – more successful, I think, than any of us can comprehend. He has the best-selling protein powder in America."
"This fax he [Jenkins] sent me before the Olympic trials give the flavor: Man, I love to be in your shoes this weekend. You can stamp it down and show them. You can enjoy it for all it's worth…relishing every step, every moment. All the preparation…all that preparation. You are in your zenith. A fabulous time to be alive. And we only go around once. So…Enjoy it…Enjoy it…Enjoy it. No matter the weather. No matter the wind. No matter the lane. No matter who. No Matter how. I wouldn't want to race against you this weekend. You know what to do. You know how. You know it all in every fibre of your body. YOU ARE READY. It's been a pleasure and a privilege. Sincerely, Jenks."
Jenkins credits his interest in athletics to his first coach Jake Young, then Head of Physical Education at The Edinburgh Academy.
Jake Young handed over his young pupil to the then Scottish National Coach, John Anderson, who coached Jenkins from 1970-1973 and 1980.
The Edinburgh Academy's Academical's Club
Jenkins is U.S. Representative for The Edinburgh Academy's Academical Club.