Regional Operations Director at Red Robin
I am honored to be involved. I know this industry has so much to offer our future leaders. The skills learned in this field transfer to every industry and help people succeed. I believe all kids deserve a chance to be who they want to be and love that HEFG helps them find their way.
Justin Gillette CEC
Executive Chef, Sodexo
Chef Justin Gillette is a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation (ACF). He currently holds the position of Executive Chef of Athletics at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. During the course of his career, he has worked as an Executive Chef for Sodexo for the past 11 years. Chef has been selected as National Culinary Chair for Sodexo Diversity North America, and has also been recognized as a Global Executive Chef for Sodexo. Chef also mentors Up and coming High School Chefs in partnership with the NAACP. Chef Justin’s scope of experience also includes Princess Cruise Line, Ritz Carlton at the Reynolds Plantation, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, and Callaway Gardens.
Chef also has been featured in many several publications such as On Campus Hospitality, Food Service Director “30 under 30”, Food Writer for Sheen Magazine, and Featured in Tavis Smiley’s cookbook America I am Pass it Down with 2 recipes.
Senior Director of Learning, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc.
Damian Hanft leads talent and organization effectiveness at Arby’s Restaurant Group, LLC. In his role, Damian develops strategy and oversees the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs/initiatives that enhance organizational performance, facilitate professional development, and builds strategic capabilities and competencies necessary in a changing marketplace. His position consults with other senior executives to create and implement solutions that drive employee attraction, engagement, development, and retention while aligning team members with the organization’s culture, strategies, and vision.
He was actively involved in the development and launch of the SkillFull @Arby’s CSR platform. Other past experience includes training and development, franchise management, restaurant ownership and serving as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin. He has served on the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the International Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Educators (ICHRIE) Board of Directors. He holds a Bachelor and Master of Science from the University of Wisconsin.
On a personal level, he lives in Minneapolis and is actively involved on a local on national level on a diversity of issues ranging from social equality and social entrepreneurship to employee engagement and the environment. In his free time, he enjoys continual learning, travel and the outdoors.
VP Strategic Initiatives; Business Development & Industry Affairs, The Coca-Cola Company
Rob Jefferies joined The Coca-Cola Company in May 1996, assigned to support the Atlanta Olympic Games as part of a team leading the 24-hour International Media Transportation Center. After the Games, he was appointed National Account Executive for Little Caesars Enterprises. In 1998, Rob joined the Sonic Account Team as Senior National Sales Executive, and in 2000, he transitioned to Director of Marketing. In 2006, Rob joined the East Region of National Food Service, as Group Director Customer Marketing. By 2011, he was promoted to AVP, leading 38 customer marketers for the East and Midwest Zones. Effective September 2015, Rob joined the Global Business Development team, as Vice President Customer Marketing, leading the YUM! International marketing team. In January 2017, Rob transitioned to VP Strategic Initiatives, aligned to Industry Affairs, Competitive Assessment and Analysis.
Prior to Coca-Cola, Rob held escalating roles at Coors Brewing Company in Sales, Distributor Management, Brand and New Product Development.
Rob holds a BA in Humanities, with emphasis in Religion, from Hendrix College in Conway, AR. He is married to wife Lori, with 3 children: Taylor 25, Morgan 20 and Olivia 16, they reside in Alpharetta, GA.
James W Paul II, MS, CCE, FMP
Chef Director Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry Culinary Arts Management Wine, Spirits, Beverage Management
James Paul has been a chef for more than 25 years and a culinary educator for more than 15. He has had an opportunity to travel to Ireland, Canada, Spain and Italy with food related work. Chef Paul has an associate degree from Baltimore International College; a bachelor’s degree from The University of Georgia and a master’s degree from The University of Wisconsin-Stout. Chef Paul was with The Art Institute of Atlanta from 1999-2005 and helped develop the bachelor of culinary arts management that is now the Ai system model. Chef Paul also contributed to the first edition of The Art Institutes American Regional Cuisine cookbook. He was chosen as the Chef Educator of the Year for The local chapter of The American Culinary Federation in 2005. He was the Chef Director at The Art Institute of Las Vegas from 2013-2014.
Chief Financial Officer
Tracy Rogge is the Chief Financial Officer for Morrison Healthcare. Morrison Healthcare, a member of Compass Group, is the nation’s only food service company exclusively dedicated to providing food, nutrition and hospitality services to hospitals. Tracy is responsible for the financial planning and operational analysis and support of the organization including budgeting, developing and evaluating new business opportunities, contract negotiations, retention strategy and financial leadership of acquisition activities.
Prior to Morrison Healthcare, Tracy was the vice president of finance operations for Extended Stay Hotels where she was responsible for the operational accounting functions for the organization. Additionally, Tracy spent 14 years with Delaware North Companies, Inc. serving at multiple locations in both finance and operational roles, most recently the vice president of finance for Delaware North Companies Sportservice. She served as the vice president of operations for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at Yosemite National Park, vice president and chief financial officer of Delaware North Companies Delta Queen Steamboat Company in New Orleans, LA; and both vice president of operations and finance while at Delaware North Companies Park & Resorts at the Kennedy Space Center. Prior to working for Delaware North Companies Tracy spent 6 years in accounting management for a hospital and health services organization in East Central Florida.
Tracy received her bachelors’ degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida. She is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Florida and is also a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) through the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Corporate Executive Chef Performance Foodservice Milton’s
Chef John Szymanski, CEC, CCA, CFSP
Corporate Chef, Kroger
John is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Miami. After graduating, Chef John moved to Atlanta where he worked at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel during the 96’ Olympics, before moving to Kroger Co., to manage the Kroger School of Cooking. There he went on to develop programs for the Deli Restaurant departments including recipe and program development for the Kroger Co.
John is a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Executive Chef Administrator with the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
He has been on the Board of Directors for the ACF, Atlanta Chapter since 2001. He is the recipient of the 2002 and 2007 ACF Humanitarian of the Year Award and the 2010 ACF Presidential Award. He is the recipient of the 2007 World Chef’s Scholarship Foundation International Citizenship Award. Chef John is the President of the Georgia Environmental Health Association Foundation.
He is also a Certified Food Safety Professional registered with the National Environmental Health Association, and trains on Food Safety for the Kroger Atlanta Marketing area. Chef John has appeared on many local T.V. networks as well as Radio Stations with Food Tips and Advice.
Attorney at Taylor, Feil, Harper, Lumsden & Hess, PC
HEFG Advisory Board Member
If you wish to join the advisory board, please contact NeshaMason@HEFG.org,