J.C. Newman Cigar Co. has announced that Aimee Cooks has been promoted to Vice President and General Manager of its historic El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa, Florida. In this new position, Cooks will oversee all manufacturing responsibilities, including tobacco fermentation, cigar rolling, aging, and packing. Additionally, she will be responsible for the warehousing and shipping of imported J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente cigars that are distributed from El Reloj. Cooks becomes one of the handful of cigar factory general managers who are women.

“Aimee has been an important and trusted member of our family for more than two decades,” said Eric Newman, third-generation owner, and president. “Bobby, Drew, and I could not be happier that she is now leading El Reloj.”

First hired in 1997 by the late second-generation owner and Cigar Aficionado Cigar Hall of Fame member Stanford J. Newman, Cooks began her career as J.C. Newman’s director of human resources. By working with every employee in El Reloj, Cooks learned the skill and tradition of handcrafting cigars from the ground up. A decade ago, her role expanded to include quality control. Today, Cooks is now a well-respected cigar connoisseur and assumes responsibility for the entire factory.

“I am honored to be named Vice President and General Manager of El Reloj and thank Eric, Bobby, and Drew for their confidence in me and to Stanford Newman who was my first mentor,” said Cooks. “I am grateful to other cigar industry colleagues, in particular, the women in our industry whom I have learned from throughout my career. I look forward to continuing working for the Newman family in the industry that I love.”

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