We learned early on that to attract top talent to our organization
we would have to provide significant
and diverse growth opportunities.
Our unwavering focus on how to deliver development
to our people personally, professionally and financially
has become part of every decision we make.
– MICHAEL KULP,
PRESIDENT & CEO, KBP BRANDS
Michael Kulp, President and CEO KBP Brands
For more than 20 years, Michael’s passion for creating a great place to work, a great place to eat and a great place to own has created a unique culture at KBP. Through his leadership, the company has realized exceptional growth and ensured that key employees can become equity partners, reaping the benefits of their own hard work. Michael’s vision for growth has catapulted the company from $7 million to over $1 billion in annual sales.
Today, KBP exists in more than 25 states and employs more than 15,000 employees. He serves on the KFC® U.S. National Advertising Cooperative Board of Directors and is the sole U.S. member of the Yum! Global Franchise Council. He also serves as the chair of the KFC National Operations Committee, and is one of two U.S. representatives on the Brand Committee. Michael has long been a supporter of the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City and is an active member of the Board. Michael resides in Overland Park, Kan. with his wife and three children, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado Mesa.
Alan Salts, Chief Financial Officer
Alan brings more than 20 years of experience to KBP. Prior to KBP, Alan served as the Chief Accounting Officer and Vice President of Restaurant Services for NPC International, the world’s largest Pizza Hut Franchisee. During Alan’s tenure with NPC, the company acquired 480 Pizza Hut units, and was operating 780 units when Alan went on to become the Chief Financial Officer of Lockton Companies, the world’s largest privately held insurance broker. While at Lockton, Alan was an integral part of a management team that helped grow the company by over seven times in 13 years to nearly $1 billion in revenue, with 4,500 people operating in 60 offices around the globe. Alan has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting & Business Administration from the University of Kansas. Alan was recognized as a 2017 “CFO of the Year” honoree by the Kansas City Business Journal.
Matthew Hansen, Chief Operating Officer
Matt is responsible for the success of more than 750 restaurants across more than 25 states spanning half of the U.S. Matt joined the KBP team in 2009 as Regional Vice President in the newly-acquired Florida market. In 2011, Matt moved his family to Atlanta to integrate KBP Foods’ newest and largest acquisition. Matt assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer in 2014 and was charged with building a leadership team across the business.
In 2017, Matt and his family relocated to Overland Park, Kan. to increase efficiencies between Operations and the Corporate Support Center as the business continues to grow. Matt’s proven success in acquisition integration is invaluable.
Before joining KBP, Matt led a multi-unit management team that oversaw 210 restaurants in 13 states worth $250 million in annual sales within a large national brand in the quick service restaurant industry. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the industry and leads the charge for support of Our Military Kids where he serves on the Board.
Kristi Macaluso, Chief People Officer
Kristi is responsible for developing and executing human resource strategy in the KBP portfolio, which comprises our home office and three restaurant brands with a combined total of over 1,000 locations, including recruitment/retention, total rewards, employee relations, DE&I, organizational and leadership development and HR technology. With more than 20 years of experience, Kristi joined KBP in 2021 as Vice President of Talent Management. Kristi started her career at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and most recently worked at H&R Block where she had an impressive and progressive 14-year career.
Kristi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Missouri State University and she serves on the board at Giving the Basics.
Barry Dubin, Chief Strategy Officer
Barry has a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting, Finance and International Business from Indiana University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is responsible for capital partner development and management, franchisor relations, and mergers and acquisitions for KBP.
Prior to joining KBP, Barry served as the COO of an $80 million window fabricator focusing on turnaround operations, marketing, and business development. Barry was also a Capital Provider in Private Equity Transactions for Merrill Lynch Capital and has also worked in Corporate Restructuring Advisory for Arthur Andersen.
Ben Johnson, Chief Legal Officer
Ben serves as Chief Legal Officer for KBP. He has a wealth of experience representing the restaurant industry, and his areas of expertise include franchising, supply and distribution, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, advertising and promotions providing general business transactions and securities.
Prior to joining KBP, Ben was at Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP where he served as the Managing Partner of the Louisville, Ky. office and as a member of the firm’s Corporate & Transactional Department. Ben received his Bachelors from the University of Kentucky and graduated cum laude from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. He was named to Louisville Magazine’s “Top Lawyers” List in the area of Business/Commercial Law in 2016. He has also been recognized several times as one of the “Kentucky Rising Stars” in the Kentucky Super Lawyers®.
Anthony Gianino, Senior Vice President of Marketing
Mr. Gianino has worked in the Quick Service Restaurant industry for over 20 years. Most recently Anthony led local advertising initiatives for Taco Bell Co-Ops in 27 DMAs and 14 KFC DMAs with a regional YUM! Brands certified agency. Prior to his work with the advertising agency, Mr. Gianino served as Field Marketing Director for Domino’s Pizza International.
Anthony’s expertise in data analysis is critical to the innovation of local store marketing efforts. Mr. Gianino was considered a pioneer in the evolution of POS for Dominos and the implementation of data-based decision making. He has a MBA from the University of Missouri and a BA from Missouri Valley College.
Jim Stanton, Senior Vice President of Operations
Mr. Stanton brings more than 25 years of experience delivering sustainable revenue, market and profit growth for restaurant chains throughout the United States. Jim joined KBP Foods in 2013 as a Regional Vice President. In his current role as Senior Vice President of Operations, Jim now oversees the East Division of our business. Previous to KBP Foods, Jim served as the Senior National Restaurant Operations Manager where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of 287 quick service restaurants and the Vice President of Operations for a large quick service restaurant group, where he managed 185 restaurants with revenues in excess of $194 million. Jim won the KBP President’s Award in 2014 for his leadership and operational excellence. Jim and his wife have two wonderful children and call Tampa home. Jim has a passion for wild game hunting and he and his wife are world travelers.
Tony Buford, Senior Vice President of Operations
Tony has nearly 25 years’ experience in the quick service industry. Tony oversees the Western region of our business, and is known for his focus on maximizing his team’s potential through consistent execution. Tony is also a passionate warrior of culture, he challenges his team to “be better every day” as they live out the company’s values while driving results. Prior to joining KBP, Tony managed over $375 million in business for 275 restaurants in 15 states. Tony also managed $45 million in catering business at that time. He has also supervised Training and Learning and Development Departments. Tony and his family are based in New York.
Scott Duke, Regional Vice President, Midwest
Scott brings 30 years of experience in QSR to KBP Foods. Scott has held a vast array of positions throughout his career including: Area Manager, Operations Manager, Training Manager, Senior Financial Analyst and Director of Operations. Most recently, Scott served as Regional Vice President for Smashburger where he was responsible for 50 restaurants in a growing brand through Franchise Development. Mr Duke oversees the Kansas City and Omaha markets as our Regional Vice President.
Rusty has 20 years of restaurant leadership experience with both QSR and fast casual companies. Before joining KBP Foods, he was a Senior District Manager responsible for 30 units and aggregate revenue of $72MM. While in that position, Rusty exploited his passion for training and development, certifying 26 Training Restaurants and served as the Lead Coach for the organization’s Development Program. Rusty currently oversees the Virginia and Maryland markets in his role as a Regional Vice President. Rusty’s investment in KBP’s mission is commendable – moving his family across the country to lead his current market, Rusty works tirelessly to ensure the success of his entire team. Rusty has a Bachelor of Science in Business from Baker University and lives in Norfolk, Virginia with his wife and two children.
Larry Rooney, Regional Vice President, Atlanta
Larry has extensive operations and leadership experience with Boston Market, McDonald’s, Chicken Out Rotisserie, and Bennigan’s Restaurants. Larry’s distinguished career spans more than 10 years as a Vice President of Operations/Director and more than 25 years in Regional management of multi-unit locations. Most recently, Larry served as Director of Operations for McDonald’s, overseeing 126 locations with a $365 million P&L. Mr. Rooney is a hallmark leader with a proven track record of increasing and driving sales, achieving higher profit margins, developing an abundant pipeline of talent, and strategic marketing.
Jesse Avila, Regional Vice President, Texas
Jesse brings considerable QSR experience and a legitimate passion for making people great. His 23 year QSR journey began as a crew member at a local restaurant. In the years since, he has progressed from shift manager to assistant manager to restaurant manager to area supervisor to his most recent role – Senior Operations Coach where he oversaw over 90 Taco Bell units with annual revenue over $125 million. Jesse joined KBP Foods in 2016 and now oversees the Texas region.
The people are the reason Jesse loves the QSR industry. He does not take lightly his ability to have a positive impact and touch people’s lives with their development and growth. Per Jesse, “I believe in Loving Your People and always giving 212 degrees of effort in all we do. I am Here to Serve”.
Jesse has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from St Leo University, and a Master’s Degree in Human Relations and Business from Amberton University.
Brian Gentile, Regional Vice President, Southeast
Brian has more than 25 years of experience in the quick service industry. Before joining KBP Foods, Brian served as Senior Director of Operations for a fast-casual restaurant chain where he was responsible for more than 100 restaurants and $125M in sales throughout the Southeast region. Brian joined KBP Foods in 2016 as Regional Vice President of Operations for the Florida and North Carolina markets. He is passionate about developing and empowering people to be successful in their careers, and lives by the principle, “always strive to be better than yesterday.” Brian lives in Orlando, FL with his wife of 14 years and two sons. He enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, running and staying active, and going to sporting activities with his wife and children.
Christie Hughes, Senior Vice President Of Development
Christie is responsible for all aspects of new store development as well as ongoing facility/asset management. She brings more than a decade of development experience within the food and beverage industry to KBP, having served in various development functions at The Wendy’s Company, Starbucks Coffee Company, and most recently as Vice President of Development at Shrimp Basket.
Christie has extensive experience in developing and executing holistic and strategic short and long-term new store market growth plans, site selection, geographic information systems, construction, architect-engineer services, project management, design, reinvestment planning and execution, property management as well as vendor and facility management. She enjoys participating in industry conferences and round-table discussions, as she passionately believes that we are all better when we are sharing and growing together.
Adam Wright, Chief Financial Officer
In the CFO role, Adam is responsible to provide financial oversight and strategic leadership to all functions of our finance teams, to include FP&A, business analytics, tax, accounting, and IT. Adam has been a key part of the KBP team since 2019, serving in the role of VP/Financial Planning and Analysis. Prior to joining KBP, Adam held roles with increasingly significant responsibility in the Yum! organization for over a decade, serving in both brand roles and corporate Treasury and Global Planning roles. Prior to YUM!, Adam worked in analytical and strategic planning roles at Ecolab and HSBC. Adam is a member of Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF).
Adam holds a B.S. in Marketing from Miami University of Ohio and an M.B.A. from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, where he had a concentration in finance.
Heather Neary, Executive Vice President & General Manager, KBP Bells
Heather is responsible for the continued growth and development of KBP Bells, including the brand’s financial and operational performance. She brings more than 20 years of brand leadership and restaurant industry experience to KBP. Most recently, Heather served as President of Auntie Anne’s, the world’s largest pretzel franchise, where she was responsible for $560 million in revenue and more than 1,300 franchise locations across the country.
She serves on the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors and the Women’s Foodservice Forum Board of Directors. She has previously been recognized by Nation’s Restaurant News on its list of “50 Most Influential Women in Food “(2020) and the “Power List” (2019).
Heather graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Millersville University in Millersville, Penn., and earned a Master of Business Administration from The Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University.
Heather Stege, Brand President
Heather Stege is currently the Brand President of KBP Inspired and responsible for the operations and growth of the Arby’s brand. Most recently, she was President of Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria. Previously, she ran Marketing and Wholesale for Paper Source, a nationwide retailer. She has over 20 years of expansion experience with deep marketing, digital and operational capabilities.
Heather started her career in the Retail/Restaurant Practice at McKinsey & Company after graduating from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management.