Meet all of our wonderful speakers!
Click pictures to read full bios.
RUSS BENSON, FMP
After graduating from Johnson & Wales University with multiple degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management, Russ worked in the hotel industry for 5 years, primarily at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago in various department head positions.
The last 25 years of Russ’ career has been in corporate dining where, for 10 years, he was a senior member of the MBNA America client liaison team managing over $40M in café and catering volume. For the last 6 years, Russ has been an industry leading foodservice MAS consultant where he led dozens of foodservice projects – most notably, as the lead advisor and interim client liaison for Amazon’s rapidly growing onsite foodservice program in Seattle. Russ is Founder & CEO of DayOne Hospitality Consulting.
After joining SHFM in 1998, Russ was highly engaged from the beginning and has served on several conference planning committees, the Strategic Planning Committee and Co-Chaired the Chicago Local Networking Group, just to name a few. He’s also served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors – serving as SHFM President in 2006. Other notable accomplishments:
- 2005 Hennessy Traveler where he traveled the world evaluating the United States Air Force’s foodservice program.
- Past President of Johnson & Wales University’s Chicago Alumni Chapter
- Recipient of the NAFEM’s Doctorate of Foodservice
- Recipient of the 2017 SHFM Richard Ysmael Distinguished Service Award
- Recipient of the 2019 SHFM Spirit Award
Russ lives in the Chicagoland area with his wife of 22 years and their 18-year-old twins
Tara Bliss leads Brailsford & Dunlavey’s dining practice group, providing foodservice management advisory services for higher education clients. Her advisory practice focuses on dining program assessments, comprehensive dining master plans, and managing dining contractor procurement (RFP) processes. Previously, Ms. Bliss worked with universities to develop strategic housing programs. She holds an undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College in psychology and a master’s degree in real estate development from Georgetown University.
James Camacho, FCSI
April Fool’s day 1979, the day James Camacho, FCSI, started working full time at Joseph Camacho Associates, the Food Service Consulting firm founded by his father in 1962.
Camacho studied drafting in school, and so his first position was creating MEP and detail drawings on the drafting board. Camacho worked his way up to project manager, Vice President before being named President in 1995. In 1996 he and his wife Cathey, bought the firm and relocated to Norcross, GA. The firm has continued to grow in stature and experience. Today there are 16 employees in four offices; Norcross, GA, Charlotte, NC, Birmingham and Eufaula, AL. During his 40 years, the firm has designed or consulted in over 4,000 projects.
Camacho’s FCSI experience includes serving on three Conference planning committees, and as the chair of the Kansas City Conference. He has served on the Board of Trusties for The America’s Division for twelve years serving in different positions including Chair. His service also included two terms on the FCSI World Wide Board, as Treasure.
In 2001 &2005 Camacho was named as one of Food Arts magazines “Top 10 Kitchen Consultants in the Country”, 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, “Industry Service Award”. Camacho is constantly teaching those in his office. His philosophy is to teach everyone in the office at least one thing a day. “As exciting as it is to see them grow every day, they in turn teach me something new.” He has spoken to many College and University Culinary Students. He has provided breakout sessions for both FCSI and MAFSI Conferences. Camacho is always networking and says “if you’re within three feet from another person you should be marketing, sharing your knowledge or your passion!”
Todd Griffith is the Vice President of Strategic Accounts with Singer Equipment Company, one of the country’s largest foodservice equipment and supplies distributors, based in Elverson, PA. Prior to joining Singer, Todd spent 20 years with Alto-Shaam, Inc., an industry leading commercial foodservice equipment manufacturer based in Menomonee Falls, WI, where he served in various Corporate Sales & Marketing leadership roles. He has an extensive background in FOH and BOH operations in hospitality, institutional, and retail foodservice operations.
Erik Haviland has been in the advertising and marketing world for the past 27 years. He founded theFUZE in 2003 with a focus on serving clients in the manufacturing and CPG space. From 2014 to 2018, theFUZE was integrated with Charlotte-based foodservice design firm Foodesign Associates, which served as an accelerator into foodservice and F&B industry verticals. Erik has both held and led every role across the creative agency gamut, and now spends most of his time vision-casting marketing and brand strategies, producing video, and serving as mentor to his team and clients.
KATHLEEN HELD, CPSM
Kathleen Held is the Chief Marketing Officer at Cini•Little International, Inc., a multidisciplinary consulting firm offering foodservice, laundry and solid waste consulting services to the A/E/C industry. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Kathleen oversees the business development and marketing for the firm’s worldwide offices. She develops strategic marketing programs, strengthening Cini-Little’s position in the global marketplace.
Kathleen directs a team of marketing coordinators to manage the firm’s global brand and develop targeted proposals and presentation materials.Kathleen is a Certified Professional Services Marketer. She is an Associate Member of Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI). She is a respected member of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, having held varied positions at the national, regional and local level. Kathleen is also a member of the Society of College and University Planning (SCUP), Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), and International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). She is a frequent presenter at various A/E/C industry-related conferences.
Kathleen received a B.A. in Fine Arts from Frostburg State University.
When not in the office, Kathleen enjoys spending time with her four sons and husband. She also has become a craft beverage aficionado, keeping tabs on the local industry around the historic Frederick, Maryland area.
Teri Kidwell is the Owner and Senior Principal of ATK Design Studios, LLC. A nationally recognized woman-owned certified DBE foodservice design firm. Teri has been designing commercial kitchens for over two decades. Previously employed as Principal at Hammer Design Associates Inc., completing projects from schematic design through construction, giving her the confidence and strong base to begin her new endeavor ATK Design Studios, LLC. Full steam ahead Teri and her ATK team have been coordinating projects nationwide designing commercial kitchens for all areas of foodservice.
As the foodservice industry is constantly changing, Teri too shows her willingness to reinvent. Teri makes it a priority to stay out in front of the foodservice industry. Providing a universally efficient design to work with the latest trends. Her outside the box thinking has allowed ATK the opportunity to expand its design service offerings as well as its client base.
Teri engages and collaborates with everyone on the team from Owner to Architect to Contractor in order to ensure visions become a reality. Fully immersing herself from project concept through completion. Designs are infused with a savory blend of ingredients from food and culture to space planning and sustainability. Providing food facility designs by blending common sense with imagination to create the existence of natural habitats where food is savored and life is enjoyed.
David Kutsunai has over thirty years of experience in the practice of interior design and architecture. He has worked for nationally recognized architecture firms such as NBBJ, Space, Gensler, and is currently a Managing Principal at IA Interior Architects. He has led design, strategic planning and real estate development consulting efforts for clients such as Amazon, Microsoft, Expedia, Starbucks, Uber, Washington Mutual, Verizon, and Merrill Lynch, in locations throughout the U.S., Asia, Europe and Australia. Projects for various clients have integrated boutique beverage, restaurant, pop-up retail and corporate food service venues. His diverse professional career has also included working for various firms specializing in structural engineering, mechanical engineering, residential architecture, and historic preservation. He has been an Adjunct Design Instructor at Cornish College of the Arts and Washington State University and has served on design juries for the Art Institute of Seattle and on the Interior Design Advisory Board for Bellevue College. David received Bachelor of Arts and Master degrees in Architecture from the University of Washington.
Mike Lee is the co-founder and co-CEO of Alpha Food Labs, a food innovation company that helps companies create innovation strategies and new products that are better for people, planet, and palate. Mike is also the founder of The Future Market, a futurist food lab that explores what our food system could look like in the next 5-25 years.
Through Alpha Food Labs and the Future Market, Mike and his team have worked on various innovation strategy and product development projects with companies that include Campbell’s, Danone, Barilla, Google, Applegate, and more.
Mike’s experience in food design & innovation has covered a wide range over the past 14 years. Prior to Alpha Food Labs & The Future Market, Mike led product development initiatives on the Innovation & New Ventures team at Chobani. Mike focused on building out their savory platform and drove food design from consumer insights, to ideation, to food and brand development, to business planning and production.
Mike is a frequent speaker on food innovation and has been featured in many conferences and publications such as CNBC, Bloomberg, Fast Company, The New York Times, Money, Natural Products Expo West & East, The Culinary Institute of America, The National Restaurant Association, and many more. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for the Partnership for a Healthier America.
Mike is the grandson and son of Chinese restaurant owners in Detroit and was raised in those kitchens. He has a business degree from the University of Michigan and design from the Parsons School of Design. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Karen Malody, FCSI
Karen Malody, FCSI, has owned her own foodservice consultancy for 23 years. Prior to establishing Culinary Options, she held leadership management positions with several restaurant and high-end supermarket groups. In addition, Karen has worked with over one hundred restaurants and retail brands to build their concepts, brands and menus to drive top line sales, bottom line profit and achieve concept integration amongst all critical brand elements.
She is a trends analyst and concept strategist focusing on branded concept development, product and menu evaluation, menu diagnostics and assessment, menu concept and equipment integration and integration of trend data into menu content for each client.
As well as her years working with restaurants, Karen has created innovative concepts for several large Corporate Dining operations designed to increase employee participation. She was also the original F&B Director for Starbucks where she developed the Gold Standard for food and beverage that allowed Starbucks to expand outside the Northwest. Karen was part of the three-member team that developed Frappuccino™. As Menu Development Director for six years for Restaurant Services, Inc. in Seattle, she developed all of the menus for five new concepts and reengineered three more existing menus. While Vice-president of Food Service & Product Development for Larry’s Markets, a high-end, trend-setting supermarket, she oversaw seven in-store operations while also creating all recipes for production in the commissary.
Karen has received numerous industry awards throughout the years, to include Top Achiever Consultant of the Year and Consultant of the Year. She now lives in Portland, Oregon where she is an avid dragon boat paddler. Her husband, Charles, is a drink and bar developer.
Juan Martinez, PhD, PE, FCSI
Juan Martinez is a 35-year foodservice industry veteran. Juan is Principal and Founder of Profitality Labor Guru, an Industrial Engineering Consulting Company that helps foodservice brands drive a higher level of efficiency to optimize the “unit economics” to facilitate brand growth. Juan’s experience spans to over 100 different concepts across all menu and service system offerings, including 17 years at Burger King and The Pillsbury Company restaurant team. Juan is a licensedProfessional Engineer, with a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech, and an MS and PhD degree in Engineering Management and Ergonomics from the University of Miami. As an industry “thought leader” Juan frequently speaks at industry gatherings, and has written over 100 articles in foodservice journals, including a regular column in Foodservice Equipment & Supplies. Juan is a Fellow of The Culinary Institute of America.
Kate Petrovich, CPSM
Kate Petrovich, CPSM is a Certified Professional Services Marketer with over 20-years experience in the A/E/C Industry. Her career started with an architecture design working to the level of Director of Marketing & Administration, overseeing marketing, business development, accounting and operations. After leaving the architectural firm, Kate joined a transportation asset management firm. She currently serves as a Project Management Officer and Marketing Manager.
John Reed, CEC, CCA, AAC, Certified Cicerone
John Reed is a professional chef with over 30 years’ experience. He is the owner of Customized Culinary Solutions, a culinary consulting firm located in the Chicago Northshore. He works with restaurant, catering and foodservice companies to provide the highest quality food possible. His contributions include menu and recipe development, emerging concept development, and transition management for companies introducing culinary and production software programs.
His company specializes as an on-demand culinary department supporting out-sourced culinary project management. The support companies from an organizations early stages to transformation required in the constantly changing foodservice landscape.
His expertise also offers him the opportunity to speak and present nationally and internationally from product demonstrations, catering software and the ins and outs of beer styles and food pairings.
He writes for various print and online publications as a contribution columnist for Foodservice Consultant Magazine and Catersouce. on-line Magazine. For a fun read, sign-up for his monthly newsletter the Rubberband Doorknob
An active member of the ACF, he has earned certifications as a Certified Executive Chef, Certified Culinary Administrator, and American Academy of Chefs. He is also a Certified Cicerone®, accreditation one of only 2800 such certifications globally; John won the ACF National Chef Professionalism. John also volunteers his time as a Certification Evaluator Trainer and Competition Judge for the ACF.
He has competed many times in culinary competitions around the country. As part of the ACF Team USA Regional Culinary Team he competed at the International Culinary Olympics in October 2012. He also volunteered as an operations manager for the ACF US Culinary Olympic Team from 2012-2014 that represented the US in all major competitions and recognized in international culinary competitions. He was the WCPC Chef of the Year in 2007 and Member of the Year 2010. He was just recently inducted into the Disciples d’ Escoffier International.
Presently he serves as Certification and American Academy Chefs Chairs for the ACF Chicago Chefs. He is also a member of the Research Chefs Association, Foodservice Consultants Society International and NACE. He also participates in Industry Advisory Boards and Focus Groups.
Tarah Schreoder, LEED AP
Tarah brings over fifteen years of experience in foodservice management, facility design, and project supervision. She started her foodservice journey at Whole Foods Market, helping to develop their Rocky Mountain presence and Green Mission program. Now with Ricca for ten years, Tarah has risen to an Executive Principal level where she manages multiple internal projects and initiatives that drive the company vision and strategy. She still plays an active role in designing projects and working with Ricca’s seven various studios. Adding to her experience, Tarah is a sought-after expert and Director of Sustainability at Ricca. She is one of the primary authors of the National Association of College and Universities Food Services (NACUFS) Sustainability Guide and has presented numerous speeches on sustainable foodservice design to engineers, architects, and others within the foodservice industry.
Joe Schumaker, FCSI
After graduating with honors from the California Culinary Academy, San Francisco, Joe co-founded Cosmopolitan Catering. After growing the business to over $15M in revenue he exited and began consulting full-time in 2015. Joe is an expert in foodservice management, food business growth and mentorship.
Ken Schwartz, FCSI
Ken Schwartz established SSA Foodservice Consultants in 1987 in response to an industry need for professional, innovative and creative foodservice design and consulting. Ken has been involved in the food service industry for his entire life, literally grew up in a prominent Tampa food service equipment company founded in 1897 by his great-grandfather. In college, Ken studied architectural design & technology and engineering as well as accounting and economics. Ken has extensive experience in design and development of commercial and institutional food service facilities. He has experience in interior space planning, equipment design and systems and the efficient design of foodservice establishments incorporating function, flow and theatre to most projects. Since the creation of SSA Ken has been the principal designer and coordinator of a variety of firm projects, both large and small both throughout the world. Ken is the recipient of the foodservice industry’s prestigious young lion award and SSA his the recipient of the firm excellence award.
Kristin Sedej, FCSI
Starting in fast food as a teenager, I worked my way up through operations, into management, until my children were born. Taking a 7 year sabbatical from full time work to raise my children, I worked part time as a waitress/bartender. In 2002, when my youngest started school, I started in the consulting field working for Cini-Little. In 2003, Harry Schildkraut and I, along with a third partner started our own company, S3 Consultants. In 2008, S3 Consultants was dissolved. Harry and I carried on and began S2O Consultants. Today, S2O Consultants has grown to a company of eight incredible people. As President, I couldn’t be more proud of who we are , what we do and the way in which we do it.
KATHLEEN SEELYE, FFCSI (PP), LEED AP
As a Founding Executive Principal, Kathleen provides unique leadership in the firm’s business and design practices in both the United States and Asia offices. She plays a major role as the Design and Planning Partner to many projects.
Kathleen has over 40 year’s culinary experience and has been with Ricca since 1984. Her expertise in providing creative design solutions for dining facilities across all markets is unsurpassed. Her continued focus on “creating what’s next” through leading design concepts such as food halls, marketplaces, emporiums, bistros, prototypical restaurants, and central production kitchens, has made her one of the most highly demanded speakers at national conferences for both foodservice operator and architectural design associations.
As the first US Green Building Council LEED accredited foodservice consultant in the USA, Kathleen pioneered sustainable design and operations planning for restaurants and dining facilities. She was the lead author of the NACUFS Sustainability Guide, Sustainability in Healthcare Food and Nutrition Services Guide, and AIA Healthcare Best Practices. She designed the country’s first LEED certified dining facility at Harvard University and was invited to join the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) Executive Leadership team, as the only individual to represent the restaurant industry.
HONORS & AWARDS
Kathleen has acted as lead designer on over eleven award winning projects. She was honored as the first female consultant to be the worldwide President of FCSI, and became the first woman to be elected to the FCSI Council of Fellows. Also the first woman to be chosen as a “Young Lion” by FE&S Magazine, she has published numerous articles pertinent to foodservice equipment planning trends. She has been a NAFEM CAT Board Member, received a “Market Mover Award” from MAFSI, and regularly teaches at the NACUFS Facility Management Institute focus on design. For over 10 years she served as a judge for the National Restaurant Association’s “Kitchen Innovations” awards. Adding to her list of awards in 2018, Kathleen was the first female inducted into the Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Magazine Hall of Fame.
Kip Serfozo, FCSI, LEED AP+ID&C, WELL AP
Kip, located in Atlanta, is a proven leader in foodservice concept development and facility design. He offers his operational and strategic management background, combined with his design savvy and understanding of customer experience, to create effective and efficient design solutions. Accredited professionally in both LEED and WELL building standards, Kip is an expert in integrating sustainable elements into high performing building and human element designs. As Director of Design for our East Coast design studios, he encourages designers to make sustainability and wellness a top priority in all facets of the foodservice operations. Kip’s attention to detail and focus on quality and industry standards continually allow him to deliver a successful project to clients.
Kip rejoined Cini•Little after a 16-year hiatus whereupon he provided foodservice design with another consulting firm. Kip has held management and leadership roles with top hospitality companies and award-winning independent restaurant concept developments. He is a Professional Member of Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) and is the Chair of the Association’s Council on Professional Standards, The Americas. Kip holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degrees from Purdue University’s School of Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management.
The New York Times has called Peter Shankman “a rockstar who knows everything about social media and then some.” He is a 5x best selling author, entrepreneur and corporate keynote speaker, focusing on customer service and the new and emerging customer and neurotatypical economy. With three startup launches and exits under his belt, Peter is recognized worldwide for radically new ways of thinking about the customer experience, social media, PR, marketing, advertising, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and the new Neurodiverse Economy)
In addition to his passion for helping people and companies find success, some of Peter’s highlights also include:
- Founder of HARO – Help A Reporter Out, which became the standard for thousands of journalists looking for sources prior to being acquired three years after launch
- The ShankMinds Breakthrough Network, an elite, online mastermind of thought leaders, business experts, and change makers
- Faster than Normal – The Internet’s #1 podcast on ADHD, focusing on the superpowers and gifts of having a “faster than normal brain,” which has helped thousands of people all around the world realize that having a neuroatypical brain is actually a gift, not a curse.
Peter is a worldwide influencer and/or spokesperson for several global brands including Specialized Bicycles, Skratch Labs, Sylvania Lighting, National Car Rental, and many others.
Finally, Peter is a father, a 2x ironman triathlete, a class B licensed skydiver, and has a pretty serious Peloton addiction. When he’s not traveling around the world speaking to companies big and small, he’s based in NYC with his five-year-old daughter and 19-year-old cat, both of whom consistently refuse him access to the couch.
Suzanne Painter-Supplee, LEED AP+ID&C, TRUE ADVISOR
Suzanne has been fascinated with the environment ever since growing up in Cleveland watching the Cuyahoga River catch fire for the third time and proudly taking asbestos to school for Show and Tell.
Suzanne earned her LEED AP in 2009, specialty Interior Design & Construction (ID&C) in 2010, TRUE Advisor (Zero Waste) in 2018. She was a pilot tester for Fisher Nickel’s FE3 Foodservice Energy Efficiency Expert program, Master Hotel Supplier (MHS) for American Hotel and Lodging Institute and has been a NAFEM CFSP 25+ years. She is also an ASTM Member on the F26 Foodservice Equipment committee and six subcommittees and influenced the update of the NAFEM/ASTM Lifecycle/Sustainability Calculator. As a consultant, she is well known for her Revit expertise and meal-based equipment energy, water and waste models.
A 36-year veteran of the foodservice industry, Suzanne joined FCSI as an Allied member in 2004 and later became an Associate Member when she began consulting. She has won numerous industry honors during her tenure with Hobart, Scotsman, Libbey Glass, Corning, Vollrath and Champion. Suzanne won an award for ‘Best Article’ from Foodservice Consultant Magazine, and Champion won FCSI’s Education Provider of the Year Award during the time that Suzanne served as the company’s Director of Consultative Services. Currently Suzanne is the Director of Facility Design Services for Turbo Air Inc.
Brad Wilson, MBA, CMA is laser focused on the design industry. He has been the on-staff CFO for a 70-person architecture firm, as well as serving as a consultant and outsourced controller and CFO for many successful architecture and engineering firms throughout his nearly 30-year career. He admires his clients’ design talents and understands the unique nature of the industry.
Brad is passionate about helping firms succeed by incorporating stronger business acumen and practices. He has advised and trained owners and managers of many design firms on financial management, technology, leadership development, strategic planning, ownership transition, and mergers and acquisitions