FED Global Thought Leadership 2024

The past few years, the restaurant and foodservice industry found itself dancing and moving to unprecedented rhythms. The industry did what it needed to do to survive and the consumers it serves have emerged with new expectations when it comes to experiences, food quality, technology and more. With this period of reaction over, it’s time for the industry to free its collective mind and start creating its own vision of what’s to come by exploring how design, equipment selection and collaboration can pave the way for a successful future.

Sojo Alex

Sojo Alex

Principal, Envision Strategies

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.

Chef Nick Barrington

Chef Nick Barrington, CEC, ACE

President & CEO, U.S. Culinary Open

CEO/President U.S. Culinary Open, Current Executive Chef at East Lake Golf Club since May 2014, Previously the Executive Sous Chef of the prestigious Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge for 21 years whose members include CEOs, Celebrities and Athletes including the Hall of Fame Golf Legend and Owner Arnold Palmer.

Hannah Rose Higdon

Hannah Rose Higdon

Senior Client Success Manager, LifeGuides

Hannah Rose Higdon is Native American Lakota and a part of the Hunkpapa (Leaders of the Circle) clan where she grew up on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. She has an MA in Disability Communications. Hannah has shown perseverance as a deaf individual living in a predominately hearing world. She regularly volunteers by giving back to the deaf community and serves as a deaf advocate. She always brings her unique insights and abilities to create a more inclusive world through education.

Mike Kostyo

Mike Kostyo

Vice President, Menu Matters

Mike Kostyo is the Vice President at Menu Matters. Kostyo has been a recurring guest on Fusion TV’s “The A.V. Club” show; has been featured on NBC News, CBS Radio and Gimlet Media’s “Why We Eat What We Eat” podcast; is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines; speaks at numerous conferences across the country; and was a judge on Food Network’s “Eating America.”

Peter Ortiz

Peter Ortiz

Chief Development Officer, Ascent Hospitality Management

Peter is an accomplished restaurant industry executive with an established track record of building successful franchise growth programs for notable brands such as QDOBA, Potbelly Sandwich Shop and General Motors.

Tarah Schroeder

Tarah Schroeder, FCSI, LEED AP

Vice President, Ricca Design Studios

Tarah brings over twenty years of experience in foodservice, design, visioning, and project oversight to Ricca Design Studios. Tarah promotes the client’s vision, proactively engaging all team members, building trust and consistency, to develop collaboration solutions and innovative designs. Now at Ricca Design Studios for over 15 years, she has deep experience leading projects with colleges, universities, schools, hotels, resorts, healthcare, senior dining, and chef-inspired restaurants.

Sarah Stegner

Sarah Stegner

Co-Owner & Chef, Prairie Grass Cafe

Sarah Stegner is the co-owner & chef of Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook Illinois. She is a two-time James Beard Award Winner and was named Restaurateur of the Year by the Illinois Restaurant Association. She is a founding member of Green City Market (501c3), a founding member of The Abundance Setting, (501c3), a co-founder of Chicago Chefs Cook and is a member of the Chef Corp for WCKITCHEN. She also acts as an advisor to Chef Sebastian White of The Evolved Network, which creates a wellness space through food, farming, and cooking for “our kids”.

Adam Stover

Adam Stover

Senior Principal, Populous

As a Senior Principal for Populous, Adam serves as the Director of Populous’ Design-Build and Product Development teams and plays a pivotal role as a senior member of the firm’s interior design leadership. With over 20 years of experience and a deep knowledge of the industry, Adam has collaborated with the top brands and sports business organizations in reshaping the standard of interior and premium spaces within sports facilities.

Todd Tekiele

Todd Tekiele

CEO, City of Hospitality Group

Todd Tekiele (pronounced T’-kelly) is a founder and CEO of City of Hospitality Group and City of Hospitality Academy, living and working in Marshall, Michigan (aka, the “City of Hospitality”). City of Hospitality Group guides foodservice teams and partnerships to next-level success through one-of-a-kind alignment workshops, health assessments, and accountability programs. Its sister company, City of Hospitality Academy, delivers real world, experiential professional coach education and leadership development for hospitality leaders at every level.

Maeve Webster

Maeve Webster

President, Menu Matters

Maeve Webster, President of Menu Matters, is a leading consultant and thought leader for the food industry with over 23 years of experience. What Maeve excels at is helping her clients find the critical, relevant meaning within data and insights, and to use those insights to inform both tactical and strategic decision making. Maeve has practical foodservice experience, having owned a café in Bennington, VT, for four years and is a regular speaker at industry events.

Richard Young

Richard Young

Director of Outreach, Frontier Energy Food Service Technology Center

Richard focuses his efforts on translating Frontier Energy’s 36 years of food service research into practical information. He has created and delivered over 1500 presentations and classes during the last 30 years and authored numerous research reports and articles in magazines, newsletters, and on the web. He is also the creator and author of the online Foodservice Energy Efficiency Expert (Fe3) training and certification program (www.fethree.com).