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.
Continental Grain Company
Paul J. Fribourg is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Continental Grain Company, an international agribusiness and investment company. Prior to assuming the helm of one of the largest privately held corporations in the United States, he held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility—from Merchandiser and Product Line Manager to Group President and Chief Operating Officer. Paul Fribourg serves as the Lead Independent Director of Loews Corporation, a Board Member of The Estee Lauder Companies, Inc., a Board Member of Restaurant Brands International Inc., a Board Member of Apollo Global Management, LLC, a Board Member of Syngenta AG, and a Board Member of Restaurant Technologies. He is also a Board Member and Member of the Executive Committee of Castleton Commodities International, LLC. In addition, he is a Member of the Rabobank International North American Agribusiness Advisory, the NYU Mitchell Jacobson Leadership Program in Law and Business Advisory Board and Endeavor Global, Inc. He also serves as Director of the Continental Grain Foundation, a Trustee of the Fribourg Family Foundation, a Member of the Board of Managers of Wayne Farms, LLC, and a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Business Leaders Advisory Council for The Mayor of Shanghai. Mr. Fribourg graduated Magna Cum Laude from Amherst College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Kenneth D. Sweder
Ken is the Chairman & CEO of SouthernCarlson, Inc., which is owned by Kelso & Company and management. Prior to SouthernCarlson, Ken was the Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Operating Officer of Interline Brands, Inc. (eleven years at the company), a nearly $2.0 billion (revenue) distributor of MRO products; Ken was also a Senior Vice President at The Home Depot from 2015-2017. Prior to Interline, he was First Vice President of Property Operations Strategy at Equity Residential Properties, a Consultant at Bain & Company and Vice President, National Corporate Banking at PNC Bank.
Ken serves on the Board of Directors for SouthernCarlson, Inc. and The Episcopal School of Jacksonville. He formerly served on the Board for Interline Brands while owned by Goldman Sachs & P2 Capital Partners from 2012-2015. He also holds advisory roles for Kelso & Company, Goldman Sachs (Merchant Banking) and Periphas Capital.
Ken earned his BSB with honors from Miami University, Ohio and MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Ken is married with three children and resides in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
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.
Willis (“Chris”) E. Lowe III
Chris is a senior marketer and business executive with over 35 years of business experience, domestic and globally. He has worked with, or consulted to, a host of premier package goods companies including General Mills, Kraft, Quaker Oats, Pillsbury, Heinz and The Coca-Cola Company. He has led businesses in the U.S. and in Latin America and consulted to a host of global business units in the areas of: consumer insights, marketing and business strategy. He is currently president of Lowe & Associates, a market research and consulting company, where his diverse experience in consumer goods; depth and understanding of brand strategy, consumer and customer insights; and knowledge of expanding brands globally will add value to consumer goods companies.
As President of the Foodservice and On-Premise Division of The Coca-Cola Company, Mr. Lowe was the chief executive in charge of a vertically integrated, $5.5 B business unit. Under his leadership and strategic direction, the business experienced record levels in volume, profit and market share growth. He was responsible for the development of one of the company’s most significant innovations, the Freestyle dispensing platform, which is viewed as a game changer in the industry. Operating in a marketplace defined by exclusive availability and long-term contracts, Mr. Lowe developed a marketing and sales strategy that allowed his operating unit to successfully renegotiate 15% of their portfolio of customer contracts every year with a 95% success rate and always at a premium price to the competition.
Earlier, as President the Central Latin Business Unit, he managed the company’s business in 34 countries in Central America and the Caribbean. In his area of responsibility he worked with 24 bottling companies, across five languages and multiple currencies. He was also responsible for operating the company-owned bottling operations in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago. Under Mr. Lowe’s leadership the business unit experienced significant growth in volume, profit and share.
In the marketing and innovation area, Mr. Lowe has had a number of significant roles. He was the President of Fizzion, LLC, which was a wholly owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company tasked with sourcing new innovations to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness of the company’s value chain. As the Chief Marketing Officer for Coca-Cola North America, he reconfigured the business unit’s marketing organization to be more consumer- and brand-centric and drove new brand introductions such as Vanilla Coke. In the role of Vice President of Worldwide Brand Strategy, he led the development of the positioning and architecture for the company’s brands globally, and the creation of a suite of tools to adapt the global brand strategies to locally relevant ones. As the Vice President of Pre-search, Research and Trends, Mr. Lowe led the design and implementation of moving the company’s worldwide market research organization to a segmented approach around pre-search (predictive analysis), research (analysis of past data) and trends (predictions of changes to the consumer and customer landscape). In addition, he was responsible for the digitization of The Company’s research data base through the creation of a data warehouse (Inform) and led the design of a digital desktop for brand planning (Brand Planning Tool) where marketing associates could share brand planning work across The Company’s worldwide system.
Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Mr. Lowe was a partner at Marketing Corporation of America in Westport, Ct. In this role he consulted to a host of Fortune 500 companies in marketing, brand and competitive strategy. Some of his clients included The Pillsbury Company, Heinz, Kraft, The Quaker Oats Company, Sarah Lee, Beiersdorf and Jacob Suchard.
Mr. Lowe started his career at General Mills where he held a variety of marketing roles, in Minneapolis and London, including brand responsibility for the company’s flagship brand, Cheerios.
After receiving a BS in economics from the University of North Carolina, Mr. Lowe attended Wake Forest University where he received an MBA degree with a concentration in Marketing. He is married to Melissa Lowe and has two daughters, Amanda and Meredith. The Lowes live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Richard L. Wyckoff
Richard began his career at IBM Corporation in a sales position within the large systems data processing division. In this capacity, he held responsibility for marketing complex and multimillion-dollar solutions to the ﬁnancial services market within New York City, earning four promotions within seven years and exceeding sales goals every year with the company.
After IBM, Richard earned an MBA in general management from Harvard Business School in 1990, graduating with High Distinction and awarded the Baker Scholar Honors. Upon graduation, he joined Culbro Corporation as Vice President of Business Development, serving as the point person for acquisitions, divestitures, strategic planning and business planning. In addition, he worked closely with the ﬁve operating divisions to develop three-year strategic plans.
Two years after joining Culbro, Richard was promoted to the position of President of Imperial Nurseries, one of Culbro’s operating companies. In this capacity, he led a dramatic ﬁnancial turnaround, strategically re-positioning this lawn and garden industry manufacturing and distribution business for sustained growth. Richard held a key leadership role during the spin-out of this NYSE subsidiary into a NASDAQ stand-alone company.
In 1998, Richard joined ARAMARK Corporation in the position of President, Refreshment Services. Here he led the transformation of the business from one of ARAMARK’s poorest performing to one of their best. During his tenure with ARAMARK, Richard was given increased responsibilities, including Canadian Refreshments and North American Facilities Services. Combined, this group was responsible for revenues of $700MM, $55MM EBITDA, 14,000 professionals servicing over 100,000 client locations. In 2001, Richard was part of the leadership team to take the company public on NYSE via an IPO.
In 2007, upon change in control of ARAMARK going private again, Richard began independently consulting with consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, ranging from pre-revenue startups to multibillion-dollar corporations, as well as private equity investors requiring business intelligence and operational leadership. During this time, Richard co-founded and raised two rounds of capital for Herbal Water, Inc. which was eventually successfully sold to a strategic buyer.
In 2009, Richard became EVP Sales and Marketing and Chief Customer Oﬃcer of C&S Wholesale Grocers, an $18B private company, and the nation’s largest distribution company within the grocery industry. With his oversight, organic growth increased $8B, as he built a new team, instilled a sales and service culture and implemented innovative technology solutions.
In 2013, Richard joined r4 Technologies, Inc. (Big Data / Artiﬁcial Intelligence) as Chief Customer Oﬃcer and Board of Director. In this capacity, he fostered partnerships with Nestle and PepsiCo, while participating as an investor in both Series A and B ﬁnancing rounds.
In 2014, Richard became President and CEO of U.S. Security Associates, Inc., a $1.B+ Goldman Sachs (PE) sponsored international security services provider. Here he led a major organizational and strategic transformation of the company from a roll-up into a fully integrated industry leader. Building a top team along with a high-performance culture, and diﬀerentiating competitive strategies and Artiﬁcial Intelligence (AI) technology enabled the successful exit in October, 2018 to a strategic buyer.
Richard has been a member of the Young Presidents Organization for the past 25 years.
Chris co-leads the Merchant Banking Division’s Private Equity investing efforts in the Industrials sector. He joined Goldman Sachs in 2003, was named managing director in 2012 and partner in 2016. Prior to joining the firm, Chris worked in the investment banking division of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown from 2000 to 2003.
Chris currently serves on the boards of PSS Industrial, Restaurant Technologies, Sterling Talent Solutions and US Security Associates and is a former board member of Americold Logistics, FloWorks Holdings, GCA Services, Interline Brands, MRC Global and ProQuest Holdings. Chris earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton University.
Cedric A. Lucas
Cedric is a managing director in the Merchant Banking Division (MBD). He serves on the MBD Infrastructure Investment Committee. Cedric joined Goldman Sachs as a managing director in 2019.
Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Cedric led energy infrastructure investing in the U.S. and Mexico at KKR, and headed midstream investing at Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.
Before that, he was a part of the global energy investment banking group at Morgan Stanley. Cedric earned an MBA with high distinction, Baker Scholar, from Harvard Business School, an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, and a Master's in Engineering from Ecole Centrale Paris. Cedric is also a registered Professional Engineer in California.
Mary Pat Christie
Mary Pat Christie is a respected leader in the high yield and distressed debt capital markets industry where she excelled at placement and structuring of debt for highly levered businesses. Through this experience she has become knowledgeable in many industries including healthcare, energy, utilities, aerospace, automotive, telecommunications, retail, restaurants, casinos and hospitality, steel and manufacturing businesses. Currently she is a partner in the Hampshire/Christie Opportunity Zone Fund, where she is seeking to raise 150MM of equity capital to invest in opportunity zone projects along the Northeast corridor, primarily in New Jersey.
Mary Pat’s unique experience as First Lady of New Jersey has allowed her to see public policy up close and personal. Through this office she has advocated for a better path for our citizens who are re-entering the work force after a period of incarceration. These collaborative efforts, along with a better approach to drug and alcohol addiction for our prisoners, has resulted in a lower prison population and a reduction in the recidivism rate from 37% in 2010 to 31%, in most recent studies.
The highlight of Mary Pat’s philanthropic work is chairing The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Mary Pat launched this organization in the aftermath of the second worst natural disaster in our country’s history. She enlisted the help of the corporate community, to personally raise over $41 million and distribute 95% of the money collected to programming and services. The NJ Grantmaker Report cited HSNJRF as the #1 funder of NJ Sandy recovery efforts. Additionally, Mary Pat founded the non-profit foundation New Jersey Heroes, which recognizes and promotes everyday New Jersey citizens active in community service. She also served as President of the Drumthwacket Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps maintain the NJ Governor’s Residence. She currently serves on the board of Hackensack Meridian Carrier Clinic in Skillman, NJ, and Orexo, a specialty pharmaceutical company headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden.
Mary Pat received her MBA from Seton Hall University and her undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Delaware. She lives in Mendham, NJ, with her husband Chris whom she has been married to for thirty-three years. They have four children.