With more than 30 years of senior leadership experience, Jeff Kiesel is both the head and heart of Restaurant Technologies. He led the company to expand into a national service provider, established a new products team that has successfully launched a series of value-added services, and continues to lead the evolution of an innovative and highly engaged team of over 1,500. Jeff joined in 2005 as CEO and stands by the set of values we call the 5 C’s: customer, character, commitment, courage and community. These values ensure that we put our customers and our community first—never being afraid to reach out to help, lead by example and put our best foot forward. As part of this commitment, Jeff drives the Restaurant Technologies Cares program and is Chairman of the RT Educational Foundation. He also serves as the chairperson of the CEO Connection Talent Management Committee, and serves on the Nixon Medical Board of Directors and the SALO Advisory Board.
Jeff held previous positions as CEO, president and senior vice president in both large and small companies across multiple industries, including 18 years with GE and GE Capital, and C-level positions with G&K Services and VIZTA3D Inc., and has served as a Board Director for Nixon Medical, Salo, and Omni Cable.
Jeff earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Williams College, Williamstown, MA, and an MBA from the Krannert School of Management, Purdue University. Family and fitness are passions for Jeff, including joining the Restaurant Technologies Team competing in Tough Mudder events.
Mr. Reeder is a Managing Partner of ECP and a member of the Management Committee, Investment Committee, Valuation Committee, and ESG Committee. He is involved in all areas of the Firm’s investment activities, with a particular emphasis on power generation and environmental infrastructure. Mr. Reeder led the take-private acquisition of Calpine Corporation and currently serves on the boards of Restaurant Technologies, Inc., Calpine Corporation, Liberty Tire, Gopher Resource, Convergent, Heartland Generation, and Terra-Gen, LLC. Prior to realization, he served on the boards of EnergySolutions, Inc., Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., ADA Carbon Solutions, LLC, Dynegy Inc., EquiPower Resources Corp., Broad River Power Holdings, LLC, CE2 Carbon Capital, LLC, and Empire Gen Holdings, Inc.
Prior to joining ECP in 2006, Mr. Reeder spent his career in the power generation sector, serving in operating and management roles with two power generation companies. He was a Vice President of Texas Genco, LLC, from 2004 to 2006, where he was head of the asset optimization desk, responsible for managing the power and fuel positions for their generation portfolio. Prior to that, Mr. Reeder spent two years as an advisor to the consortium of private equity firms that acquired Texas Genco, LLC, in the evaluation of potential power generation acquisition opportunities. From 1998 to 2002, Mr. Reeder was a Director for Energy Markets and a Finance Manager at Orion Power Holdings, Inc., where he was responsible for power marketing, acquisition analysis and execution. From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Reeder worked at Goldman Sachs.
Mr. Reeder received a B.A. in Economics from Colgate University.
Mr. Brown is a Principal at ECP. He is involved in all areas of the Firm’s investment activities, with particular emphasis on sustainability, environmental infrastructure and services, and he is a member of the ESG Committee. Mr. Brown serves on the boards of Restaurant Technologies, Inc., Liberty Tire, Gopher Resource and Reflectance Energy. Prior to realization, Mr. Brown served on the boards of EnergySolutions, Inc., and Cormetech Inc.
Prior to joining ECP in 2012, Mr. Brown was an Analyst in the Natural Resources Investment Banking Group at Deutsche Bank Securities.
Mr. Brown received a B.A. in Economics from the College of William & Mary.
Mr. Ciabatti is a Principal at ECP. He is involved in all areas of the Firm’s investment activities, with particular emphasis on the downstream and environmental infrastructure sectors, as well as environmental and industrial services. He serves on the boards of Restaurant Technologies, Inc., Transit Energy Group and US Development Group. Previously, he served on the boards of CIG Logistics, Summit Midstream Partners, L.P and ADA Carbon Solutions.
Prior to joining ECP in 2013, Mr. Ciabatti was an Analyst in the Natural Resources Investment Banking Group at Barclays.
Mr. Ciabatti received a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Yale University.
Kathy Leo is the former Chief Legal Officer of Chobani Global Holdings, LLC where was responsible for all legal affairs of the company as well as the company’s ESG, external and internal communications, public policy and community affairs functions. Prior to joining Chobani, Kathy was the Chief Legal and People Officer of Gilt Groupe, an e-commerce company, where she led the legal and people functions and was instrumental in the sale of the business to Hudson Bay Company. Prior to joining Gilt Groupe, Kathy built the legal and human resource functions at United Media and after six years, successfully sold the business to Iconix Brand Group. Earlier in her career, Kathy was a business and transactional lawyer for Primedia, Inc. (a NYSE integrated media company majority owned by KKR), Warner-Lambert Company and for multiple companies as a corporate transactional attorney at Dewey Ballantine.
Kathy served on the Board of Thinx Inc. from 2017 until its successful sale to Kimberly Clark in 2022, serving as the Chair of the Special Committee of the Board. Kathy also served on the Board of the New York Business Council for Access to Justice from 2020 to 2022.
Kathy holds a B.A. from Tulane University and attended New York University School of Law and Albany Law School where she received her J.D., with honors.
Mark is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Enlightened Hospitality Investments. Mark is actively involved in all of EHI’s portfolio companies, and serves on the boards of Joe Coffee, Salt & Straw, Goldbelly, Dig, Banza, Restaurant Technologies, Slutty Vegan and is a board observer at Madison Reed. Additionally, Mark sits on the board of Union Square Hospitality Group, is a member of the Council on Chicago Booth for the University of Chicago, and serves as Chairman Emeriti at Jacob’s Pillow, a dance school and performance space in the Berkshires. In 2020, Mark was included in Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 50 Technology Power List which features the 50 most influential leaders of technology and innovation in the restaurant industry.
Prior to founding EHI, Mark was head of the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Investment Banking group at Piper Jaffray & Co. He previously served on the boards of Trinity College, the Harlem Globetrotters, Centennial Communications, Citadel Communications, T/SF Communications (TSF), US Radio, and Leap Wireless (LEAP) where he also served on the Finance Committee and Transaction Committee during its sale to AT&T.
Mark earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Trinity College.
Ari Gendason is Continental Grain Company (Conti)’s Chief Investment Officer. Ari joined Conti in 2004 and has been involved in many of its investments in the food and agriculture sector over that time. He currently leads the company’s Corporate Investments group and oversees a portfolio of both public and private food and ag investments. Prior to this role, he managed Arlon Opportunities Investors, an equities and commodities hedge fund backed by Conti. Before joining Conti, Ari worked in private equity and investment banking. Ari is a member of the Board of Directors of Wayne Farms LLC, Restaurant Technologies, Hissho Sushi, and Agile Cold Storage. Ari holds a BS and MBA in Finance and Accounting from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Kevin Thorson is Continental Grain Company (Conti’s) Vice President, Direct Investments. Kevin joined Conti in 2013 and has been involved in the acquisition and management of private investments in the food and agriculture sector. He started his career in Piper Jaffray’s investment banking division where he focused on M&A advisory for restaurants, retailers, and food companies. Kevin is a member of the Board of Directors of Restaurant Technologies and Caulipower. Kevin received his BA, magna cum laude, in economics and Spanish from Bates College.
George Chavel is the former CEO of Sodexo, a Global Services Company, where he ran the $10 billion North American Operations, leading 133,000 employees, serving the Fortune 500, Health Care, Education and Government Segments. In addition, Mr. Chavel served as Global Healthcare CEO.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Giant Eagle (Pittsburgh, PA), Valet Living (Tampa, FL), Corelle Brands (formally World Kitchen, Chicago, IL), Pure Star (Las Vegas NV), and Restaurant Technologies (Minneapolis, MN). He is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).
He is a recent Independent Director at CH Guenther & Sons, San Antonio, TX (2016-2018), where he served on the Executive and Compensation Committees of this private family-owned company that was sold to private equity.
Chavel joined Sodexo in 1991, and held a wide range of leadership positions, including COO, and President of Healthcare where he authored and implemented an innovative patient experience model that resulted in record growth and employee engagement. He was appointed CEO in 2007 where he served for 8 years delivering a $3 billion revenue increase while doubling operating profit.
Mr. Chavel was recognized among U.S. CEOs as a strong advocate of diversity, talent development, workforce development and corporate social responsibility. Under his leadership, he imbedded diversity and inclusion in the company with measurable demonstrated outcomes. He and his team received numerous accolades for its commitment to diversity and inclusion including the 2012 Catalyst Award and the #1 ranking on Diversity Inc’s Top 50 Companies twice.
Previously, Mr. Chavel had extensive experience in the franchising industry as both franchisor and franchisee in the fast food segment, including expertise in franchise sales, and real estate and store construction. He began his career as a consultant with Arthur Andersen.
Mr. Chavel is a past member of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., and a previous board member of the National Committee for Quality Health Care (NCQHC) and the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NHCL). He also served on the Albion College Board of Trustees, the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Corporate Advisory Board, and the Boards of the Hispanic College Fund and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce (MD). He is past Chairman of Sodexo Foundation, an Independent Charitable Organization committed to ending childhood hunger in America.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, he began learning his foundation of business acumen working in the summers for his family-owned wholesale distribution company. Mr. Chavel earned his B.A. in Economics and Management from Albion College in Albion, MI.