High Sierra Group
High Sierra Group Areas of Expertise:
• HACCP Certification
• Supply Chain Systems
• Product Certification
• Overseas Certifications
• Chemical R&D
• Lab Research & Testing

  • About Us / History


The High Sierra Group audits, inspections and programs are approved by a number of large and diverse food industry companies throughout the United States and the world-wide community.  It is the most diverse food service group in the industry supplying a wide range of products and services.

The High Sierra Group is one of the most qualified organizations in the food industry with a number of Ph.D. and advanced degreed personnel, a wide range of documented experienced personnel and holds several organizational distinctions of its own.

The High Sierra Group belongs to a number of industry associations to include distinguished manufacturing and quality (APSICS and ASQ) organizations.  At one time HSG was accredited to grand academic degrees.

Employees of the High Sierra Group are highly motivated and skilled and each one has distinguished record of achievements.

The High Sierra Group is affiliated with a number of predominate food industry leaders.

To date, the High Sierra Group has assisted more than a thousand of the food industries finest companies.


The High Sierra Group began in early 1990 as the High Sierra Chemical Company founded by Karl G. Kolb Ph.D.   The name comes from a highly successful turf-grass company called Sierra Chemicals (Company) founded by Karl A. Kolb (Karl G's father) many years earlier. Karl A. Kolb was a prominent turf-grass agronomist who specialized in the design, construction and maintenance of more than 80% of all golf courses and greens in California and Hawaii during his time.  Karl senior was at one time the California state leading expert on California coastal trees and diseases.  He was 94 years old at his passing in 2007 and living with his wife Rosalie in Aptos, California.  It was Karl A. Kolb's zeal for working with, and helping people achieve their goals through an entrepreneurial spirit that his son carried on when developing his own company.  Karl's father impressed on him that if you work for someone - work hard for them; be a leader, not a follower.

Karl (the son) began his entrepreneurial career as a manufacturing engineer after a highly successful Army career by consulting to manufacturing companies on such topics as JIT, MRP, TOC, flow processing manufacturing concepts California-wide.  At the time he also taught in a number of California Universities on a variety of manufacturing topics regarding manufacturing processing and quality. 

Through these efforts he moved into food processing and found a home. In 1995, Karl renamed the company Big Dog Chemicals and began assisting with the development of food safety and agricultural programs.  At the time chemical companies were leading the way in food safety program development and Karl wanted to differentiate the company from others in the market and so it got the name Big Dog Chemicals. Sometime around 1998 the name was changed to reflect the true functions of the organization.  The name "The American Food Safety Institute" (AFSI) was chosen and the company incorporated.  A wide customer base openly enjoyed the name Big Dog Chemicals and surprisingly was saddened by the change.  High Sierra Chemicals remained to handle the chemical side of the business.

By this time AFSI began to have a significant influence on the food industry and participated in a number of national level committees, lectures, programs development, and industry - wide book preparation and reviews.

Some of the interesting projects the company undertook were HACCP development, microbiological testing, farming practices, various food safety and GAP certifications and specialty chemical formulations.

Interesting, while Ford Motor Company, and Hewitt Packard and Apple Computer Companies proudly claim they began in their residential garages, Big Dog Chemical began as a "dashboard" company - there was no garage to develop the concept.  In fact and on many occasions, there was not even a car to call a company as there was no money for gas and Karl often used commercial transportation to go from account to account.  These were the "slim" days of accepting lunches and taking a doggy bag for dinner, slicing a hamburger in half for lunch and dinner, washing clothes at Dad's and sleeping in the car at rest stops to save on hotel bills.  This same attitude of conservative spending persists even today when using company money or trying to save customers funds by flying "Red Eye" flights and staying in moderate accommodations.

Many of the programs now offered by the High Sierra Group (HSG) (the umbrella company for all the companies and divisions) take this same approach with offering added value in many different ways.  The company moved from Southern California in 1996 to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin where it still ran out of the founder's car and later a spare bedroom for a number of years.  Karl was offered a teaching position at the University of Wisconsin in manufacturing and spent approximately five years with them while managing the growth of the company.

In 1999 the company moved from cars and spare bedrooms to its own 200 square foot office near Lake Wissota, outside of Chippewa Falls.  Approximately a year later the company needed still more room and leased an entire half a floor in an old school building on the edge of town.  Eighteen months later the company was forced to move again when the old school building was scheduled to be razed and thought it had found more permanent offices downtown Chippewa Falls.  Much to its surprise, the company outgrew even
these offices and in the summer of 2004 purchased its own office building with a reception area, conference room, library and many offices.

In the year 2000, the demand for special chemicals became so great that this department was spun off of AFSI and was incorporated as "The High Sierra Chemical Company" leaving AFSI to do program development, training and audits.

Today, AFSI is now the The International Food Safety Institute (IFSI),  (Certification, training and special programs), The High Sierra Chemical Company (specialty chemical products for the food industry) and The High Sierra Laboratories (microbiological testing) are proudly under the umbrella of the "The High Sierra Group" (HSG) of companies.

HSG maintains more than five web sites to support its commitment to the food industry.

In 2000, the HSG donated $10,000 lifetime scholarship to the University of Wisconsin to the most deserving student who reflected the values of "Fathership".  The scholarship is dedicated to Karl's father and grandfather who were role models in his life; great fathers, leaders, businessmen and family-men.  Annually, a student is awarded a scholarship in their honor.

Currently, with both national and international accounts, more than 22 great employees and wonderful supporting clientele, the "Can do and go the extra mile" attitude of the Big Dog still prevails.

HSG offers the widest and most diverse collection of food industry services. On the top of its goals statement you will find:

The High Sierra Group is the most effective, diverse, productive and largest full service organization serving the international food industry.

We proudly hold this position because of our customer focused core values.

• Developing sincere and deep relationships that fulfill the immediate and long term needs of the customer
• Providing products and services that support the greatest amount of value to the customer and the industry
• Remaining flexible and responsive to industry and market requirements
• Developing an attitude of dedication, energy and caring with the customer, mission, organization and members of the High Sierra Group

We support these core values through actions such as the following:

• Same day personal response and follow-up to customer requests
• Developing one-on-one relationships to know and understand the customer
• Developing an "I Can Do" attitude toward customer requests
• Be honest, forthright and candid with each customer. The customer may not always be right - we are straight forward!
• Teaching and training where possible to develop the most educated customer base possible
• Remembering that we are stewards of our customer's money and we use it to support our base and grow an organization of value to the customer and the industry
• That we take care of the members of our organization through clear and concise communications, honest and forthright feedback and support of individual goals where possible. Training, flexible work schedules and incentives where possible to return hard work are ways we show gratitude and appreciation to our High Sierra Group members

Dr. Karl Kolb, founder of the High Sierra Group believes in Christian based business principles. The High Sierra Group of Companies practice Character and Integrity - our customers can place well deserved "Special Trust and Confidence" in us!

Karl Kolb Ph.D.