Mr. Mednansky has served as Chief Executive Officer since March 2007. Prior to this, he served in senior management roles with Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. From 2005 until March 2007, Mr. Mednansky was the Chief Operating Officer of several Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon restaurant concepts, including Del Frisco's and Sullivan's. He also served as Vice President of Operations of the Del Frisco's and Sullivan's concepts from 2000 to 2005 and President of the Texas Land & Cattle concept from 2003 to 2006. Mr. Mednansky has over 35 years of restaurant industry experience and 25 years of experience as a senior operations manager. Prior to joining Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc., he was Director of Operations for Big Four Restaurants from 1997 to 1998, Director of Culinary Services for Dial Corp. from 1990 to 1997 and Area Manager for Big Four Restaurants from 1985 to 1990.
As our Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mednansky brings a deep understanding of the Company's business, industry, operations and strategic plan to the board of directors. He also has extensive institutional knowledge gained through his more than 12 years of experience with the Del Frisco's and Sullivan's concepts.
Thomas J. Pennison Jr. Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Pennison has served as Chief Financial Officer since November 2011. Prior to Del Frisco's, he served as Chief Financial Officer for iSeatz Inc., a customized software technology company primarily serving the travel and leisure industry, from 2009 to 2011. Mr. Pennison also operated his own financial consulting firm in Louisiana from 2008 to 2009 where he provided financial and business consulting services to clients in the hospitality and other consumer and retail related industries. Prior to that, Mr. Pennison spent 12 years at Ruth's Hospitality Group, Inc., a restaurant company focused exclusively on the upscale dining segment, formerly known as Ruth's Chris Steak House, Inc., from 1996 to 2008 serving in various capacities, including Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Additionally, from 1994 to 1996, he served as Assistant Corporate Controller of Casino Magic Corp., with primary responsibilities for corporate finance and SEC reporting, and from 1991 to 1994, Mr. Pennison was at the public accounting firm KPMG LLP. He is a member of the Financial Executive Institute and the Louisiana Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Jeff Carcara Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Carcara has served as Chief Operating Officer since November 26, 2012. 2007. Prior to Del Frisco’s, he served as senior director of operations for Seasons 52 ® , a restaurant concept within Darden’s Specialty Restaurant Group, from 2004 to November, 2012. While at Darden, Mr. Carcara was responsible for the operations and financial results of the Seasons 52 ® concept, lead a team of direct reports including five regional directors, designed an opening and training process, and created a talent management program. From 2003 to 2004, Mr. Carcara served as corporate director of food and beverage for the Kessler Collection Hotels where he led implementation of department upgrades, re-branded and created several hotel restaurants, and implemented a nationwide purchasing program. Earlier in his career, Mr. Carcara served in various positions with Houston’s, part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group, and Darden’s Bahama Breeze restaurant concept. Mr. Carcara received a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management from the University of Central Florida, completed Level 1 certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers, and was selected to participate in the Executive Leadership Excellence Program at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.
Thomas G. Dritsas VP of Culinary & Corporate Executive Chef
Mr. Dritsas has served as Vice President of Culinary & Corporate Executive Chef since December 2006 and oversees the day to day culinary operations of Del Frisco's, Sullivan's and the Grille. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Dritsas served as Corporate Executive Chef for Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc., during which time he oversaw the daily culinary operations for each of its concepts. Mr. Dritsas joined Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. in 1999 and served in various culinary capacities, including as part of new opening teams. Prior to joining Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Mr. Dritsas assisted in the opening of numerous independent restaurants and operated his own restaurant.
James W. Kirkpatrick VP of Real Estate
Mr. Kirkpatrick has served as Vice President of Real Estate since February 2012 and oversees real estate matters for our three concepts, including strategic development and lease administration. Prior to joining our company, he served as the Senior Vice President of Development for Morton's Restaurant Group, Inc., an operator of company-owned upscale steakhouses, from 2006 to 2012, where he managed all aspects of development including real-estate strategic development to lease administration. Prior to Morton's, Mr. Kirkpatrick worked in several leadership roles with Applebee's International, Inc. from 1999 to 2006, including Senior Director of Real Estate and Vice President of Real Estate & Construction. Mr. Kirkpatrick has also held a variety of other positions focused on real estate development with a number of other companies in the restaurant industry including Houlihan's Restaurants, Inc., TGI Friday's and Pizza Hut, Inc.
Lisa H. Kislak VP of Brand Marketing
Ms. Kislak has served as Vice President of Brand Marketing since February 2012 and is responsible for all aspects of marketing for Del Frisco's, Sullivan's and the Grille. Prior to joining our company, she was the Vice President of Marketing for The Picture People, a privately held company with more than 170 company-owned portrait studios in 34 states, where she managed the company's marketing activities. Before that, Ms. Kislak served as a Principal for Premium Knowledge Group, a firm specializing in luxury lifestyle marketing, from 2007 to 2010. Ms. Kislak started her career with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts where she held various marketing roles over a 13-year period, including Vice President of Brand and Relationship Marketing with Wyndham Hotels, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and Senior Vice President of Marketing for ClubCorp.
William S. Martens VP of Development & Construction
Mr. Martens has served as Vice President of Development & Construction since 2011 and is responsible for market planning, site selection, site acquisition and construction for our three concepts. Mr. Martens also oversees concept design, portfolio management and facilities operations. Mr. Martens has been with us since 2008, previously serving as our Director of Development where he managed all facets of new unit development and established the infrastructure to support our growth in new and existing markets. Before joining our company, Mr. Martens served as Vice President of Portfolio Management with Hudson Americas, LLC, and affiliate of ours and Lone Star Fund, from 2007 to 2008. Prior to Hudson Americas, Mr. Martens spent nine years with Yum! Brands, where he held multiple leadership roles in Finance and Development, including the position of Senior Manager of Development. In this role, he worked with senior brand leadership teams to develop market plans, define asset strategies and make capital appropriations decisions for approximately 350 new restaurants annually.
Ray D. Risley VP of Operations
Ray D. Risley has served as Vice President of Operations for Sullivan's Steakhouse since October 2013. Prior to becoming Vice President of Operations, Mr. Risley served as a Regional Manager for restaurants under all three of the company's brands, as well as oversight of the openings of a number of new restaurants. Prior to becoming a Regional Manager, Mr. Risley served as a Regional General Manager of Del Frisco's and Sullivan's from 2005 to the end of 2007, during which time he also assumed the role of General Manager of the Del Frisco's restaurant in New York. From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Risley served as Regional Manager for all Sullivan's Steakhouse restaurants. From 2000 to 2003, Mr. Risley was District General Manager for four Sullivan's Steakhouse restaurants. Mr. Risley joined Del Frisco's Restaurant Group in 1998 as the General Manager of the Sullivan's Steakhouse restaurant in Dallas. Previously, Mr. Risley held various management positions with the Morton's chain of steakhouse restaurants, including General Manager of the Beverly Hills location and with the original Spago restaurant as the General Manager.
April L. Scopa VP of People and Education
Ms. Scopa has served as Vice President of People and Education since June 2011 and is responsible for recruiting, human resources, talent development & training strategy. Prior to joining our company, Ms. Scopa worked with Landmark Leisure Group, a national leader in entertainment development since June 2010 and served as VP of People & Development, beginning in January 2011, where she led the HR, recruiting, new store opening development, employee relations, talent management and personnel development strategy. Prior to Landmark, Ms. Scopa spent eight years with The Capital Grille, an upscale steakhouse division of Darden Restaurants, as Director of Operations and Senior Director of Training, where her responsibilities most recently included quality of operations, people and P&L results for six locations. Prior to The Capital Grille, Ms. Scopa also worked for C.A. Muer Corporation and LongHorn Steakhouse, both in a training and operations capacity.