Eddie Slowikowski - Opening Keynote

3 minutes and 58 seconds. That is the amount of time it took Eddie Slowikowski to run the mile. Whether it’s as a Gold Medal winner for the USA Track & Field Team, an NCAA All-American, or a sought after dynamic professional speaker, Eddie knows a thing or two about Peak Performance.

Eddie's story has always been about taking the lead and setting the pace. Through his years as a world-class runner and now as an internationally known Speaker & Consultant, you can count on Eddie to be out in front. Here are just some of his considerable accomplishments:

  • Self-made Businessman & Entrepreneur.

  • Professional Speaker & Consultant for 25 years

  • Fastest college indoor mile (3 minutes 58 seconds) in the nation in 1990.

  • Member of illustrious Sub-Four Mile Group which has less than 500 members.

  • A 3 time N.C.A.A. All American in Track & Cross Country at Loyola University Chicago.

  • First college athlete to be Midwest Collegiate Conference champion 3 years in a row.

  • Represented the USA at the 1987 Pan Am games, 1990 USA Track in London, England, 1992 Olympic Trials.

  • Graduate of Loyola University Chicago, BA Communications 1990

  • Inducted into Loyola Athletic Hall of Fame, 1998.

    In addition to his accomplishments and medals, Eddie sought to enrich his life with service and empowerment for others. Whether it was in month-long service projects in Central America or helping the homeless in the city of Chicago, Eddie widened his world-view beyond the life of sports. Also, as a husband and father of three, he proves that a successful balance of life and business can be attained.

    Through storytelling and high-energy showmanship, Eddie shows participants how to follow through on a vision from inception to achievement and how to create positive energy for yourself and others.

    It’s time to match who you are with who you want to be. Create the congruency of peak performance and attain the attitude of Be That Now!

Katie Goodman - Closing Keynote
Katie Goodman is an award-winning comedian, author and international speaker. Katie's work in comedy has amassed over 3 million online views. She can be seen on Showtime, Impractical Jokers, and, more often than she would admit, in line getting a mocha latte with extra, extra whipped cream. Katie literally wrote the book on using improv comedy to improve your life. Her show "Broad Comedy" plays Off Broadway and tours nationally. Her love for self-help and comedy lands her career somewhere in between Tina Fey and Deepak Chopra. Her work has been celebrated by Arianna Huffington, Comedy Central, Leslie Stahl, Time Out New York, and her Pilates teacher in Brooklyn who says she is "getting better."

Katie holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania, and was nominated for the MacArthur Genius Grant for her work in theater. She got beat out by the astrophysicist who discovered the multiphase liquid behavior of nuclei, but better luck next time! With over 20 years of experience with training and speaking, Katie has taught over 30,000 people how to use the tools of improv comedy in their lives to handle absolutely anything, and to be more creative, courageous, and confident. When she's not at home in New York City, Katie can be found traveling the country for speaking events, comedy shows, and corporate workshops and trainings, teaching participants how to thrive at handling anything that comes their way.

Sojo Alex

Session: Developing a Campus Master Plan

Sojo Alex is a principal at Envision Strategies with more than 20 years of expertise in the higher education hospitality industry specializing in master planning, dining assessments, facility planning, supplier sourcing, marketing, and strategic planning for complex foodservice programs. Alex has successfully worked on a wide range of projects including market research activities, meal plan assessment, space programming, and comprehensive support for strategic planning. Sojo earned her master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Loyola University Chicago.

To learn more about Sojo, check out S3 Episode 13 of On Tap

William H. Bender, FCSI

Session: If I Would Have Known Then

Bill founded W.H. Bender & Associates in 1996, a Restaurant and Foodservice consultancy in San Jose, California. He specializes in Restaurant Operations Best Practices, Emerging Chain Development, ServPoints Sequence of Service Design, Concept Regeneration, Sales Building, and Profitability Performance.

His deep industry knowledge and tight focus on restaurant fundamentals obtain results for clients – high volume independents, start-up concepts, and emerging brands. His client list includes Cheers Boston, The Loop Pizza Grill, Jacksonville, Florida, Green Street Restaurant, Pasadena, and Erik’s DeliCafe, San Jose.

More about Bill:

  • He has been a Professional Member of the FCSI since 2000 and previously chaired the FCSI Council of Professional Standards.
  • He is an active member of the California Restaurant Association and emeritus director of the California Restaurant Foundation
  • He is an NRA Educational Foundation ProStart® Hospitality committee member, delivering orientation and mentoring for one thousand students and teachers yearly at the NRA Show in Chicago.
  • He was the grand prize winner of the Pepsi-Cola “Name the System” Contest in 1969, winning an Aztec Avenger GT12X Sports Car before he had a driver’s license.

To learn more about Bill, check out S1 Episode 12 of On Tap


Amy Bramwell

Session: Collaborating with the Professional Trades

Amy is a Principal at Studio Steinbomer Architecture and Interiors and has been an integral member of the Studio Steinbomer team for over 25 years. In that time she has led many of the large and varied commercial projects in the office, and enjoys working closely with the stakeholders, consultants and contractors to ensure the planning, design and construction process proceeds as smoothly as possible, ensuring good design and high quality results. Her repertoire includes extensive work on local media production studios, a wide range of ecclesiastical projects, the recently completed new home of Austin PBS, and the re-envisioning of The Backyard Live Oak Amphitheater. Her role includes planning, feasibility studies, programming, design, client communications, consultant coordination, and overseeing in-house drawing production.

Amy received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin.  She is a licensed Architect and Interior Designer in the State of Texas, and a member of the AIA. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Old Settler’s Music Festival.  Her time out of the office is filled with live music, time with friends and family, travel, and spending time with her husband and twin daughters.

Jay Bravinder

Session: Getting the most out of Your Allied Membership

Jay Bravinder has been in the industry for almost 30 years.  He started his career with Hobart Corporation, spent a number of years working with a large dealer in MN, and has spent the last 13 years as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Champion Industries.  He has spent the majority of his career working with customers to find the best dishroom solution for their facility.  He has been on the FCSI Educational Foundation board for 8+ years and currently serves as the Allied Advisory Council (AAC) chairman and as the Allied Trustee on the FCSI TAD board.  He has a passion for education and training new people in the industry, and teaching customers about the importance of warewashing.  When Jay is not measuring dishrooms and looking at design layouts, he enjoys golfing, traveling, and spending time with his family.

Leisa Bryant, MA, MBA, RDN, CPXP, FACHE

Session: Industry Outlook

Leisa Bryant is a registered dietitian, certified patient experience professional, and is board certified in healthcare management.  She is the Executive Director for the Food and Nutrition and Patient Transportation departments at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Leisa holds a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from Hunter College, a master’s degree in community health education from Brooklyn College, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Houston Downtown.  

With over 20 years of healthcare experience in Food and Nutrition Services, Leisa has long championed “finding the sweet spot” for quality patient care, patient and employee satisfaction, and efficient business operations. Leisa has national recognition as a transformational leader in the healthcare support services space for her numerous strategic planning and execution of healthcare dining programs and leading her teams to achieve service excellence for patients, customers, staff, and stakeholders.   

Leisa is a lifelong learner and is passionate about teaching and mentoring. She was an Adjunct Lecturer at Brooklyn College and seize every opportunity to generously share her knowledge as well as learn from her colleagues and industry experts. Leisa is the 2024 President of the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF), and is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and the American College for Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

Brian Bunn

Session: Smart Phone = Smart Marketing

Meet Brian Bunn, visionary Cinematographer and Director of Post Production at FUZE. From his first camera, Brian's passion for visual storytelling has been unwavering. With a formal media production education, he collaborates with diverse clients, from local businesses to international brands, infusing each project with his unique perspective. Brian's commitment to excellence and connection with people make his work a captivating narrative, leaving a lasting impact. At FUZE, he pushes the boundaries of visual storytelling, especially in foodservice productions. Beyond the camera, Brian's love for banana, mayo and Wonder bread sandwiches adds a delicious touch to every creative journey. Brian is also the founder of Brian Bunn Films, a Charlotte-based production company.

James Camacho, FCSI

Session: Marketing to Architects

In 1979, James Camacho, FCSI, CST, CDT, started working full time at Joseph Camacho Associates, the Foodservice Consulting firm founded by his father in 1962.

Camacho studied drafting in school, and so his first position was to create MEP and detail drawings on the drafting board. Camacho worked his way up to Project Manager then Vice President before being named President in 1995. In 1996, he and his wife Cathey, bought the firm and relocated to Norcross, GA.

Camacho has served on the Board of Trustees for the FCSI-The America's Division for twelve years in different positions, including Chair.  His service also included two terms on the FCSI World Wide Board, as Treasurer.

In 2001 & 2005 Camacho was named as one of Food Arts magazines "Top 10 Kitchen Consultants in the Country", and in 2006 he received the FCSI award "Design Excellence for the Chick-Fil-A Corporate Headquarters". In 2010, Food Equipment and Supplies magazine awarded James "Top Achiever Consultant of the year" and in 2015, Food Equipment Report awarded James the "Industry Service Award."

To learn more about James, check out S1 Episode 23 of On Tap

Joe Carbonara

Session: Industry Outlook

Joe Carbonara is editorial director for Foodservice Equipment & Supplies and restaurant development + design. In addition to his editorial efforts, Joe often represents both magazines at restaurant and foodservice industry events. In 2013, he was awarded with CFESA’s Outstanding Support from an Allied Association/Press Partner. In 2017 he was a finalist for Editor of the year at the Folio Awards. In 2022, he was presented with MAFSI’s Market Mover Award. Prior to becoming Editor in Chief for FE&S in 2004, Joe was a marketing manager for SmithBucklin Corp., where he spent six years working with NAFEM.

Melissa Counihan

Session: Collaborating with the Professional Trades

Melissa Counihan has experience in Food Service Design, Marketing, Education, Business Development, Food Service Operations, and Personnel Training. As Chief Operating Officer of Counihan and Asociates. Melissa can envision what any operation needs to succeed and create efficient Food Service Design to drive operational goals.  Ms. Counihan is responsible for all day-to-day operations for Counihan and Associates. As the former VP of Product Marketing and Development at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, she acquired a deep knowledge and experience in strategic business planning. In addition, Ms. Counihan’s background in education has enabled her to become an outstanding Personnel Trainer. Her teaching background paired with her expertise in marketing, food service operations, and business makes her a huge asset for Counihan's  varied clientele.

To learn more about Melissa, check out S3 Episode 10 of On Tap

Anthony Dallessandro

Session: The World of Frictionless Payment

Anthony Dallessandro is a Principal Solutions Architect for Just Walk Out technology by Amazon, where he specializes in design, customer experience, and physical integration for checkout-free stores. With more than 15 years of experience in retail design and technology, he helps global retailers develop innovative shopping experiences that benefit both shoppers and operators. Anthony is a licensed architect and has been with Amazon for more than 7 years. Before joining Amazon, Anthony worked at multiple architecture firms, designing retail stores, restaurants, and airport concessions across the United States. Anthony lives with his girlfriend and their rescue dog in Seattle. On the weekends they can be found outside, exploring the PNW.

Chris Dolce

Session: Collaborating with the Professional Trades

Chris serves as Vice President of Sixthriver's since its inception in 1994 and recently earned the title of Director of Business Development in 2023. His expertise spans tenant programming, space planning, and project management for commercial and institutional spaces, totaling over 20,000,000 square feet.

Chris is a sixth-generation Austinite and Texas A&M University graduate.

John Eckman

Session:  Developing a Campus Master Plan

John is a seasoned higher education administrator with 20+ years of progressive leadership experience effectively delivering essential student-focused campus services at both public and private institutions including the UPenn, Portland State, and NYU. In his current position at Appalachian State University, John oversees Campus Dining, University Bookstore, Parking and Transportation, Post Office, Conference and Camp Services, vending, and campus ID card. He has implemented programs that grow revenue, build cross-division partnerships, promote sustainability, and improve academic success and student retention.

Peg Galie, FCSI

Session:  The World of Frictionless Payment

Peg Galie began her career in the foodservice industry at the age of 14 as a dishwasher and continued to work in foodservice as a server, bartender, cook and front-end manager. She has also been involved in residential construction. That changed in 2008 during the great recession when she joined a health care company. During her time in the health care industry, she worked part-time for S2O reviewing plans and specifications. She joined S2O in 2014 and has worked her way up through prior to becoming a project manager with S2O Consultants.

As project manager, Peg has worked on numerous large venue projects including professional and collegiate sports venues, hotels, K-12 schools, health care, corporate dining, and higher education facilities.

Peg is a Professional member if FCSI and resides in Illinois with her dog. She loves to travel and spend time with her grandchildren and family.

To learn more about Peg, check out S3 Epidose 3 of On Tap

Dan Gallery

Session:  The World of Frictionless Payment

Driving Innovation at Gallery Carts.Kiosks.Portables. | Shaping the Future of Mobility Solutions | Leading the Charge in Design Build Solutions

As president of Gallery Carts.Kiosks.Portables., Dan is passionate about transforming the way people experience mobile solutions. Leveraging his previous 13+ years of experience in finance and sales, Dan lead Gallery through product evolution, service model advancements, and technological integrations to meet ever-evolving client needs. Before joining Gallery in 2016, Dan honed his leadership skills at Allonhill, driving sales strategy and processes. Now, his vision is to propel Gallery Carts.Kiosks.Portables. to new heights by leveraging yesterday’s experience and today’s results to build tomorrow’s success.

When he's not strategizing, Dan finds joy in travel, golf, hiking, and spending quality time with family.  Dan says these experiences fuel his creativity and drive to continue to move Gallery forward.


Ben Gregoire, FCSI

Session:  If I Would Have Known Then

In a distinguished career spanning over two decades, Ben Gregoire has emerged as a preeminent leader in the global hospitality design industry. His career journey began in his native Vancouver, where he got his start in various operational roles at world-class golf resorts and international hotels. His foundational skills were further developed when he received a degree in hotel management from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC.

In 2008, Ben redirected his career trajectory to China, marking a significant phase in his career. He assumed pivotal roles in f+b operations and management with Starwood, progressing through assignments in Nanjing, Hangzhou, and eventually Shanghai. His tenure in Shanghai was marked by his association with CKP Hospitality Consultants, a leading foodservice design company in Asia and the Middle East. As Vice President of CKP, Ben was instrumental in designing high profile projects for leading hotels, resorts, and integrated resorts, collaborating with top-tier hotel chains, interior designers, and culinary experts.

The establishment of LEVELS in 2020 represents a landmark in Ben's distinguished career. LEVELS is renowned for its expertise in concept and brand development in the hospitality industry. The firm has been instrumental in the development of groundbreaking projects across hotels, integrated resorts, and independent bars and restaurants. This enterprise symbolizes the culmination of Ben's vast experience, underscored by his involvement in launching over 75 hospitality projects on three continents

Apart from his professional commitments at LEVELS, Ben currently serves as Chairman of FCSI's Asia Pacific Division, further cementing his status as an influential figure in the industry. Ben splits his time between Kuala Lumpur and Dubai, continuing to bring innovation and unparalleled expertise to diverse hospitality landscapes worldwide.

Will Gresham, AIA

Session: Collaborating with the Professional Trades

A Principal at STG Design, Will joined the firm in 2011 and brings more than a decade of experience as a project architect. His projects range from nonprofits to academic and corporate campuses. Will excels at prioritizing goals in design, schedule, and budget, and leading a team of consultants and contractors to meet those goals. He is also involved with several local organizations including the Board for the Austin Foundation for Architecture and Real Estate Council of Austin.

Christine Guyott, FCSI RDN

Session:  If I Would Have Known Then

Christine is an Executive Principal at Rippe Associates with a passion for the foodservice industry. With over 30 years of experience, Christine guides her clients through the design process, offering solutions to address their goals and challenges. Christine leads projects across a variety of market segments, though as a Registered Dietitian, her true niche is healthcare. From small healthcare facilities to large academic medical centers, Christine brings a high level of understanding and expertise to each project that her clients value. Her goal is to assist foodservice directors, administrators and architects in planning and implementing foodservice spaces that meet and exceed expectations.

In addition to her project leadership, Chrstine is actively involved and viewed as a leader across multiple industry professional organizations. She values this involvement as it gives her the opportunity to form relationships, maintain her knowledge, and give back to an industry that she is deeply connected to.  Christine is a Professional Member of FCSI and currently serves as Chair of The Americas Division.

To learn more about Christine, check out S1: Episode 8 of On Tap

Erik Haviland

Session: Smart Phone = Smart Marketing

Erik Haviland is the Founder and Group Creative Director at FUZE, a full-service agency of talented designers, video professionals, strategists, and marketers who ignite the brands of their clients in foodservice, AEC, and manufacturing. With over 30 years of experience in all areas of creative and marketing, he has a passion for engaging brand storytelling, unique design, and strategic innovation in their marketing strategies.

Erik is also the Chief Creative Officer and Executive Producer of FirstTaste TV, an online streaming platform and production company that produces and shares captivating foodservice stories in long-form documentaries, short form episodes, and limited series productions.

To learn more about Erik, check out S1 Episode 18 of On Tap

Melissa Jennings

Session: Charting Your Course with EPiC

Melissa Jennings is a Senior Foodservice Designer currently working with Foodservice Consultants Studio.  She has been designing foodservice layouts over the last six years in multiple segments, including restaurants, business & industry dining, sports venues, places of worship, K-12, higher education, hotel, healthcare, senior and assisted living.  Her prior design work includes lighting consultant, a junior designer at an architectural firm, her own residential design company, and designing showrooms for a national kitchen & bath retailer.  She is also self-taught in graphic design and layout with the use of creative programs Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator for project illustration and presentation.  Most of her design positions required the use of either Revit or CAD or both for project design and documentation which continues to hone her skills in these programs.  Her educational background includes receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior design with a minor in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

After experiencing a variety of design positions, Melissa found a passion for foodservice design. Foodservice design offers a balance of creativity while providing a sense of purpose.  She continues to build her foodservice consultant career by working towards a Certified Foodservice Professional (CFSP) and Certified Interior Designer (CID) certifications.   She also continues her experience as a member of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and FCSI.  Melissa recently joined the EPiC group of young professionals, in hopes that she can help others build their foodservice design careers.

Michael Jones

Session: Lessons Learned

Voted 'Editor of The Year' at the CMA's International Content Marketing Association Awards 2020, Michael Jones is Editorial Director of 1473 Media and Managing Director of Encaustum Ltd. in the UK. An experienced editor, writer, and event host, since 2013 he has headed up the content team for Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) Worldwide, including its multi-award-winning, quarterly magazine Foodservice Consultant and website. Michael also writes for additional clients in the foodservice sector, including the KTCHNrebel.com website.

Wade Koehler, CAE

Session: Getting the Most out of Your Allied Membership

Wade is the President and founder of Forte AMC and brings over 28 years of management experience to the firm.  Before starting Forte AMC , he was responsible for conference operations at three different universities and was successful at not only increasing revenue but also increasing employee satisfaction in each position.

Wade has served as Executive Director of FCSI The Americas for over 14 years and continues to enjoy every aspect of his involvement with the association.  

When he's not planning epic events and conferences like this one, Wade enjoys golfing and spending time with his family and 3 year-old grandson, Carter.

Laura Lentz, FCSI

Session: Dishroom 101

Laura graduated from Cornell University with a BS Degree from the School of Hotel Administration and embarked on a career that started in foodservice and hospitality management. The daughter of Architects, Laura soon found her own interest in design. Her knowledge of culinary operations combined with her innate sense of design made her ‘a natural.’ Today, Laura has significant breadth and depth of experience, is an active professional member of FCSI and has completed more than 100 projects as lead designer. Her project typology ranges from hospitality to education, healthcare, and workplace dining. As a Design Principal and Owner at Culinary Advisors, she has managed her design studio, mentored upcoming colleagues, and brought in new clients. Laura is now central to Culinary Advisors’ strategic management as well as its public profile.

To learn more about Laura, check out S1 Episode 15 of On Tap

Jose Mendez

Session: Charting Your Course with EPiC

José is a multifaceted professional with over 19 years of combined expertise in the culinary and foodservice design industries. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture and has established a distinguished career that bridges his two passions: Design and gastronomy. 

As a Red Seal-certified chef, José has honed his culinary skills in high-volume environments, working for a renowned restaurant chain with over 70 locations across North America.  In his role, he not only managed daily kitchen operations but also played a pivotal role in menu development within the restaurant's Test Kitchen. His contributions were instrumental in the chain's expansion, assisting in the launch of four new restaurant openings and leading training sessions for incoming staff.

 Transitioning his culinary talents to the realm of design, José currently serves as a Foodservice Designer and Consultant at SmartDesign Group, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada. His project portfolio is diverse, encompassing concept design to build-out phases across various sectors including airport lounges, QSR/sit-down restaurants, and commissary kitchens. José's projects have not only made a mark in North America but have also extended to Europe and South America.

At SmartDesign Group, José specializes in kitchen design and menu development for the hospitality team. His unique combination of culinary training and foodservice design expertise significantly enhances project functionality and gastronomic appeal. José continues to balance his design career with hands-on culinary work, operating a private chef business. This dual expertise allows him to offer a unique perspective to the fields of hospitality design and culinary arts.

As a speaker on this panel, José brings a distinctive blend of professional experience and passion for food and design, offering valuable insights into the integration of culinary arts within architectural and Foodservice design practices.

Ryan Mikita

Session: Dishroom 101

Ryan got his start in food service as a server in a bustling New York City restaurant in Times Square. Since that time, Ryan has gone from working in operations to planning and designing for complex construction projects for clients in New York City and all over the world.

A creative problem solver at his roots, Ryan attended the University of Hartford’s Hartt School where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Following nearly a decade of working in and around New York City’s finest establishments, Ryan stepped into a design role at Patina Restaurant Group. In this role, Ryan managed the design & construction process for nearly every single PRG construction project—design-build, phased construction, renovations, and routine maintenance.

Ryan was often responsible for defining the initial scope of projects, fielding/evaluating vendor proposals, and ultimately managing each project from the beginning all the way through to construction, permitting, and close-out. He was also typically the central point-of-contact for the project team—designers, engineers, contractors/vendors, landlords, the health department, and over government agencies, all in addition to internal stakeholders and executives.

Ryan joined Ricca Design Studios in 2018 and leads Ricca’s New York City studio from Brooklyn. He brings operational expertise, creative solutions, and detail-oriented project management to all projects—those in New York City, the rest of the US, or across International waters. 

As a Principal, Ryan is heavily involved in planning, concept, and schematic design, and oversees the design process through construction.  He creates and drives the project vision, adheres to programming, and provides strategic planning.  Ryan is the leader of the culinary design team and is ultimately responsible for upholding the client's design intent for the duration of the project lifecycle.

To learn more about Ryan, check out S4 Episode 4 of On Tap

Jessica Molter

Session: Collaborating with the Professional Trades

Jessica Molter is the Managing Principal of Pfluger’s Austin office. Over her 19 years at Pfluger, Jessica has focused on educational projects throughout central Texas gaining a breadth of experience in every aspect of the design process, from master planning through construction.

Her project experience includes the Austin Community College San Gabriel Campus, Austin ISD Performing Arts Center, and Tom Glenn High School, among many others. Jessica loves educational design and sees every project as an opportunity to improve the lives of students and educators.  She is driven to find sustainable solutions in her projects, looking for the unique features that can be developed to improve sustainable outcomes.

Jessica received her Bachelor of Art degree from Lehigh University and her Master of Architecture degree at Washington University in St. Louis.  She is a licensed Architect in Texas and Colorado and is a member of the AIA. She is also a LEED AP and a member of the Central Texas A4LE chapter.  

Damian Monticello FMP, CMP, GTP

Session: Industry Outlook

Damian Monticello is the director, enterprise hospitality and event services at GuideWell.  In his role, Damian is responsible for serving the workplace hospitality needs of more than 15,000 employees throughout the GuideWell family of companies through their full-service (CaféFresh) and limited service (PERKS) concepts.   Additionally, he is responsible for, The Conference Center at Florida Blue, corporate travel, employee fitness centers, the GuideWell Athletic Complex, and the GuideWell Innovation Center, a health focused co-working environment and meeting venue

Prior to his now two-decade career with GuideWell, Damian worked in both restaurants and hotels, having held foodservice management positions with the likes of Roadhouse Grill, The American Café, and The Ritz-Carlton.

With a degree in Advertising, Damian is also an accredited Foodservice Management Professional (FMP), a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), and a Global Travel Professional (GTP).  Damian is a past Chair of the IFMA Business and Industry Foodservice Leadership Council, and a Past-President of the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management (SHFM).


Joe Mora

Session: If I Would Have Known Then

A versatile and experienced Foodservice Consultant, Joe Mora brings over 35 years of experience in the industry, 20 of those as a designer and project manager. With a well-developed foundation in design, Joe holds a BS in Architecture from the Ohio State University, as well as a wealth of operational expertise gained working with operators like ClubCorp, Restaurant Associates and Marriott. Joe brings a balance of sound design practices with an understanding of the operational issues of a project to create spaces that work efficiently.

Joe began his foodservice consulting career with Cini-Little and has worked with other firms managing projects in hospitality, healthcare, sports venues, and amusement and entertainment. Some of Joe’s notable projects have been Volcano Bay water park at Universal Orlando, the Arizona Cardinals Stadium, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, and various restaurant projects in the US and Europe.

Joe serves his community as a volunteer with the Civil, Air Patrol, the auxiliary of the USAF. He is a Group Commander, overseeing the operations of fourteen squadrons and holds the rank of Major. Joe is a Professional member of FCSI and resides in in Tampa, Florida.


To learn more about Joe, check out S5: Episode 1 of On Tap

Alison O'Hearn

Session: Charting Your Course with EPiC

Alison O’Hearn is a Project Designer with Cini-Little International, Inc., a multidisciplinary consulting firm offering foodservice, waste, and laundry consulting services to the A/E/C industry. Alison first fell in love with cooking and food while her Italian mother attended architecture school and help was needed preparing dinners for the family. She later graduated from Johnson & Wales University and worked in different foodservice operations from a French bistro to a doughnut shop, and even Walt Disney World. Her experiences taught her that a kitchen can be efficiently designed or a nightmarish operation. She transitioned to design consulting five years ago, became proficient in REVIT and AutoCAD, and now continues her education by her involvement in FCSI.

As a young foodservice design professional on the rise, Alison is aware of the challenges newcomers to the industry face each day. She believes being a part of FCSI The Americas EPiC program is a great way to build a healthy industry community of young professionals and she was thrilled to be elected to the 2024 Committee as Chairperson. Her goal is to welcome new members and onboard them to the exciting world of foodservice. Through EPiC’s education and support, young professionals will move the industry forward bringing new ideas and technology to the ever-changing landscape of foodservice.

Abby Paciotti

Session: Smart Phone =  Smart Marketing

Abby Paciotti is the Creative Director at FUZE where she leads the creative team as they work together to bring clients' visions to life. She manages, develops, and designs branding and marketing collateral, as well as leads the front end design and development process for all of FUZE's website projects. With over 15 years of experience in the design and marketing industry, she strives to create designs that are not only visually appealing but also communicate a message effectively. What also sets Abby a part is that she is the rarest of creatives - she's hyper-organized.

Kelli Pack

Session: Charting Your Course with EPiC

Kelli Pack is the Hospitality Manager at SmartDesign Group, a multidisciplinary consulting firm in Vancouver, Canada offering Foodservice, Interior Design and Graphic Design services.  With 15 years of hospitality design experience, Kelli started her career as an Interior Designer at a boutique restaurant design firm after completing her Interior Design Technologist diploma at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton, AB.  Through collaboration with a local Foodservice consultant, Kelli was introduced to Foodservice design and made the shift from front-of-house to back-of-house design.  With over a decade of foodservice planning, Kelli holds a breadth of knowledge and skill in conceptual design, space planning, programming, design development and build out project management.  Specializing in foodservice design, she prepares equipment layout and specification, mechanical / electrical drawings and manages strong client communication.   Kelli is extremely dedicated and leads by example.  Her strong management skills and attention to detail allow her to execute projects successfully and efficiently.

 As a young foodservice design professional on the rise, Kelli is aware of the obstacles newcomers to the industry approach each day.  She is excited about her contribution to the FSCI The Americas EPiC program and believes it is a great way to build exposure to young professionals interested in a career in foodservice design/consulting.

Jessica Price

Session: Beam Me Up: Elevating Your Bluebeam Expertise

After graduating from Marymount University with a degree in Interior Design, Jessica joined an architectural firm where she was a project designer for seven years. Jessica’s eye for design led her to manage the company’s resource library where she selected finishes and materials for projects company wide. Jessica then joined a large foodservice consulting firm where she strengthened the BIM department and then quickly moved into designing projects. 

Jessica is a Senior Project Manager with Culinary Advisors currently managing more than 50 projects in her design studio. Jessica brings an exciting combination of both foodservice and architectural design to all projects of which she is a part. In addition to direct project responsibility, with nearly 20 years of BIM experience Jessica is also Culinary Advisors’ BIM Manager and oversees the staff producing all project documentation.

Jessica is a 2023 winner of the FCSI project showcase for the University of Maryland’s Jones-Hill House Athletic Dining Facility. Jessica is an Associate Member of FCSI.

John Radchenko, FCSI (PP)

Session: Dishroom 101

John Radchenko, FCSI has been consulting since 1969. He is the President of Van Velzen and Radchenko Design Associates. John's architectural background and marketing experience have influenced the firm’s strategy in design and project implementation. His flexible style and overall expertise provide a comprehensive and diversified approach to foodservice. His range of experience spans 40 years of food facilities design and planning, and includes hotel, hospital, healthcare, corporate, institutional and retail installations. He has been a Sessional Lecturer at George Brown College in Toronto and has lectured on foodservices at Ryerson, Humber College and Industry conferences.

John is a Professional Member of FCSI where he has served as Divisional Chair, Worldwide President, and Canadian Chapter Leader over his 30 plus years of service to the Association.

To learn more about John, check out S2 Episode 6 of On Tap

Scott Reitano, FCSI

Session: Marketing to Architects


Through his 35 years in the foodservice industry, Scott Reitano has become highly regarded for his change leadership, creativity, and his passion for serving others. He brings high-energy and an infectious enthusiasm to all the opportunities and challenges he is afforded in life. Scott believes in the concept of Project Leadership. To that end, he is committed to using his foodservice industry knowledge, design expertise, and project process understanding to guide his clients and advise his design partners throughout the completion of facility design and construction.

As a ten-member team, Reitano Design Group (RDG) serves clients throughout the Midwest and on a National level. RDG received the Management Excellence Award from Foodservice Equipment Report Magazine in 2015 and Scott was named the 2020 Top Achiever for Foodservice Design Consultants by Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Magazine, as well. Scott is a professional member of Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI).

To learn more about Scott, check out S1 Episode 1 of On Tap

Ryan Rongo, FCSI

Session: Beam Me Up: Elevating Your Blue Beam Expertise

Ryan began his career in the foodservice industry over 20 years ago as a project manager for a custom equipment fabricator and dealer before joing the team at S2O Consultants.  Currently the VP of Design at S2O, Ryan has worked on numerous large venue projects including professional and collegiate sports venues, hotels, K-12 schools, health care, corporate dining, and higher education facilities.

Ryan is LEED AP BD+C accredited and is a Professional Member of FCSI.

Kory Samuels
Session: Industry Outlook

Kory Samuels began his career as a student employee for Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) Dining, and has had the opportunity to take on progressive leadership roles for the past 16 years that have lead him to his current role as the Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services.

He leads a staff of 1,500+ employees, coordinates the multimillion dollar capital budgeting for 25 operations ranging from Housing, facilities, Dining, Marketing, Technology, Business strategy, Sustainability and retail operations, that includes staff development, strategic planning, contractual agreements and overall vision for the department.

Mr. Samuels is known as a caring leader who believes in professional development and mentorship to create positive customer experiences. He is a strong advocate for the hospitality industry volunteering his time for numerous organizations including International Food Service Manufacturers Association (IFMA) and the National Association of College and University food service (NACUFS) where he currently serves as Chairman of the board.

Born and raised in Rochester, NY, Mr. Samuels obtained his undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems and Executive Masters in Business Administration from RIT. He has a depth of knowledge and experience in many areas, most notably Operations, Procurement, Technology, Human resource management, Leadership, and Project management.

Robert Scheibly, FCSI

Session: Beam Me Up: Elevating Your Blue Beam Expertise

Robert is a proud member of his local Reformed Baptist Church, husband of 10 years, and father of two boys aged 3 and 6. He is a project manager with Camacho and has been with the firm since 2022. After high school, he started his career in Foodservice consulting and has worked in the industry since. His business information systems management degree allowed him to excel and lead the industry in software and information technology advancements. He has been blessed to learn from some of our industry's finest mentors and work in multiple disciplines of our profession. He tried to leave once, but food service followed him (as it does all of us), and an opportunity opened with Camacho, where he is continually learning under amazing leadership.

To learn more about Robert, check out S5 Episode 3 of On Tap

Jarrod Sterzinger, AIA, LEED AP

Session: Collaborating with the Professional Trades

Jarrod is a passionate architect with a deep-rooted appreciation for education, art, science, math, and computing, which has fueled his love for architecture throughout his life. Currently celebrating his 16th anniversary with O’Connell Robertson, Jarrod has played a pivotal role in shaping spaces for educational and healthcare facilities, many of which feature innovative food service components.

 In his capacity as the Director of Architecture at O’Connell Robertson, Jarrod spearheads the architectural vision for the firm across diverse project types. His commitment to excellence is evident as he guides the design process, ensuring that the delivered quality and service consistently surpass client expectations. Serving as the Education Practice Leader, Jarrod brings valuable insights into 21st-century learning environments, emphasizing the significant impact that facilities have on student and teacher success.

With 25 years of architectural design experience, Jarrod holds an MBA and a Masters in Architecture from Texas Tech University. His educational background and professional journey uniquely position him to contribute expertise and unique perspectives to the panel discussion.

His dedication to creating educational spaces that reflect clients’ values and needs underscores his commitment to fostering achievement and facilitating advanced learning environments. Beyond his professional achievements, Jarrod has been a long-term Board Member and Former President of the Round Rock ISD Partners in Education Foundation (PIEF), a volunteer at the annual Waco ISD Ed Fund Celebrity Cookoff, and participates in the Design, Environment + Wildlife Committee for the Preserve at Walnut Springs.

Jarrod resides in Round Rock, Texas, where he finds joy in spending time with his wife Leslie, a professional chef, and their two teenage children.

Jim Susman, FAIA

Session: Collaborating with the Professional Trades

Jim is a Founder and Principal at STG Design, an architecture, interiors, and planning firm with offices in Austin, Houston, Nashville, and Phoenix. As the firm’s director in complex office and corporate campus projects, he has provided team leadership on numerous corporate campus and mixed use projects such as Dell, Oracle, Google and Seaholm.

Jim has contributed to the changing landscape of Austin’s business community, involved directly in the Urban Land Institute, the Downtown Austin Alliance and the AIA at city and state levels.

Jim's contributions in the area of community service include participation as a board member or advisory board member of AIA Austin, Texas Society of Architects, the Thinkery, UT School of Architecture, Helping Hand Home, St. Andrews School and the Seaholm Residences HOA.

Beth Z

General Session and AI Deep Dive Breakout Session

Meet Your New Nerdy Best Friend... Beth Z: Author. Speaker. Nerd.

Since her first Motorola RAZR flip phone , Beth has made a verb out of the word nerd. She’s here to help you filter through thousands of apps, gadgets, widgets and doodads to find the perfect free and bargain technology tools for work and home.

Although the only real trophy she ever won was for making perfect French fries at McDonald’s in high school, Beth Z has been featured on Best Speaker lists by several groups that write best speaker lists. She is also a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), the highest earned credential from the National Speakers Association - It's kind of a big deal.

As an expert in state-of-the-art AI and tech tools (hello, ChatGPT!), Beth brings a unique and fresh perspective to the latest trends and and advancements in the industry.  She has written multiple books on apps and has spoken to about 100,000 people, about 99% of whom can't pronounce her last name. 



Each edition offers communications from Trustees of the Board and FCSI The Americas staff, as well as feature articles and educational opportunities.

Check Out

the latest edition of DIRECT CONNECTION