Meet the Team

We’re a passionate and experienced investment and operating team whose partners have been investing, analyzing, advising and leading food & beverage, retail and other brand-based businesses for decades. We’re also big fans of good food and cold beer – an occupational requirement and perk.

Jeff has almost 25 years of experience as a successful investor and banking professional. He’s played a role in executing more than $2 billion of debt financing across restaurant and beverage, diversified industries and multinational platforms at JPMorgan Securities, First Union Corporation, Bank of America and GE Capital Franchise Finance.

While a partner at Morehead Capital – a private investment firm focused on investing in emerging restaurants – Jeff led the firm’s business development efforts resulting in acquisitions of multiple, well-respected concepts.

Prior to joining Morehead Capital, Jeff was a Director at GE Capital Franchise Finance where he held many roles, including large cap originations for dozens of franchised systems. Ultimately, Jeff helped launch GE’s “Brand Management” group where he was responsible for the corporate relationship for franchised systems headquartered east of the Mississippi that represented more than $3 billion of total system-wide debt exposure.

Jeff currently serves on the North Carolina State Poole College of Management’s Board of Advisors. He holds a BA from NC State University’s College of Management and an MBA from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

When Jeff isn’t working, he’s spending time relaxing at home or the beach with his wonderful family, and making repeated (and failed) attempts to recreate his grandma Tiny Stilley’s crab stew. One of these years, it will happen.

Brian has spent his career investing in and operating food and beverage companies.  While serving as President and Chief Financial Officer of Southern Season, Brian helped the specialty food market, restaurant and cooking school operation grow from a one-store retailer to a multi-state brand opening over 110,000 square feet of retail space and growing to over 800 employees.   As a partner with private equity firm Carrboro Capital, Brian led the group’s strategy of owning and operating companies in the food and beverage and consumer retail space.

Prior to Carrboro Capital, Brian was with Falfurrias Capital Partners, a middle market private equity firm founded by Hugh McColl and Marc Oken, former CEO and CFO of Bank of America.  There he managed investments in companies totaling over $275M in enterprise value including Bojangles’, an operator and franchisor of quick service restaurants currently generating over $1 billion in annual system-wide sales.

Mr. Fauver co-founded the Share the Food Foundation in 2012, a non-profit with a mission to fight hunger and hunger related issues.  He’s spoken at food industry conferences such as the Specialty Food Association’s Fancy Food Show.  Brian began his career in investment banking with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and received both his Bachelor’s and MBA degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Brian is extremely proud of his family, including his wife and two daughters.  While an active athlete in his youth, the only trophy he still displays for all to see is the one he received in 2013 as champion of his neighborhood’s chili cook-off.

Trey began his career at Ernst & Young and spent three years in their Assurance practice. As a senior associate, Trey helped manage and execute a range of engagements, including SEC registrant audits and quarterly reviews.  As part of conducting year-end audits, Trey was also responsible for testing a variety of transactions, including public company M&A transactions, debt offerings, and equity offerings.

Trey obtained his BS in Accounting with a concentration in Financial Analysis from NC State University. He also obtained his Masters in Accounting from NC State.  After finishing his degrees, Trey obtained his CPA and is an actively licensed Certified Public Accountant in North Carolina.

In his downtime, Trey enjoys spending time with his wife and family.  Whenever the weather is right, he hits the water in the lower Neuse River in search of trout and red drum.  Though not a chef by trade, he takes great pride in his red drum risotto…as long as his lovely wife is around to cook the risotto.

James began his career in restaurants, working for his family business at their local southern-inspired South Carolina-based chain.  After college, James received a fellowship form Princeton’s Alumni Corps and went to work in the disability employment space as a business development director for a federal contracting organization in Washington, DC.  He was accepted into the United States Peace Corps in Costa Rica, where he focused on micro-finance with Grameen Bank. Upon his return to the US, James started business school, during which he worked in the M&A practices at Moelis & Company in New York, as well as Jacob’s Capital in Chapel Hill, NC.

James earned his BS in Accounting and Business Administration from Washington and Lee University, where he was a varsity wrestler, and his MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, where he was named a Fellow by the Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics.

In his free time, James enjoys being a full-time father to his black lab, Penelope, taking road trips back to South Carolina for big Italian family dinners and finding any excuse to go adventuring outside. He also firmly believes that his chili is better than Brian’s.

Operating Partners

Kenny Avery

Operating Partner

With 38 years of experience in the quick service restaurant industry, Kenny demonstrates a strong passion for people and culture with a keen focus on servant leadership.  Kenny has led teams that have consistently delivered exceptional operating results.  Over the course of his career, he has developed and implemented numerous strategic initiatives in both corporate and franchise-operated business models.

In late 2007, Kenny joined Bojangles’ Restaurants Inc. as Vice President of Operations Support and was subsequently promoted to Chief Operating Officer.  From 2007 through 2017, Kenny was a key contributor to Bojangles’ industry-leading growth in new unit openings (+80%), revenue (+150%) and EBITDA (+225%).  Additionally, he was a key player during the Company’s sale to a PE group in 2011 and during a successful IPO in 2014.  Prior to joining Bojangles’, Kenny spent 28 years at Hardee’s Food Systems Inc., leaving in 2007 as the Senior Vice President of Franchising.

Kenny currently serves on the Board of the Children’s Attention Home in Rock Hill, SC and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, also in Rock Hill, SC.  He holds a BA from NC Wesleyan in Rocky Mount, NC.

Kenny has a wonderful wife and three sons.  When not working, Kenny enjoys spending time relaxing at home or at Surfside Beach, SC.  His hobbies include boating, fishing and cooking on his Big Green Egg.

Jerry Hennessy

Jerry Hennessy

Operating Partner

Jerry is a casual dining industry veteran, having spent the last 27 years in the full-service segment.  In 1991, Jerry teamed up with his partner, Paul Motenko, to purchase a 3-unit pizza chain in Southern California.  This humble chain would eventually become BJ’s Restaurants and Brewhouse, a publicly-traded, nationally-renowned casual dining concept.

As Co-CEO alongside Motenko, Jerry contributed to BJ’s restaurant growth from 3 to 82 units.  Under Jerry’s leadership, the BJ’s brand became a public company and stands out as a top concept in the casual dining landscape, boasting 200 restaurants and over $1 billion in annual revenue.

Jerry’s keen ability to connect with guests and eye for restaurant development played a significant role in creating value at BJ’s and continues to drive success at STACKED:  Food Well Built, where he is Co-Founder and Co-CEO alongside Motenko.

Jerry began his career in the U.S. Coast Guard before spending eight years in public accounting.

Jerry enjoys spending time with his family.  When not at STACKED or enjoying time with family, chances are that you can find Jerry with his surfboard on the shores of Huntington Beach seeking out the best waves.

Jason has spent his career developing and implementing successful growth strategies across various industries. As Chief Financial Officer of Zoe’s Kitchen for seven years, Jason played a significant role in the growth of the company from 20 stores to 150, and helped increase revenue from $18 million to $223 million, and completed one of the most successful IPOs in the restaurant sector in 2014. Jason also managed a wide range of functions during his tenure there, and was instrumental in the creation of systems, operations and procedures that enhanced new store openings across the country.

Prior to Zoe’s Kitchen, Jason held CFO positions at a private equity-backed start-up and gaming technology company and has also held executive positions in strategic planning, investor relations and treasury at Gaylord Entertainment Co. and Harrah’s Entertainment.

Jason began his career at Arthur Andersen, is a Certified Public Accountant, and received both his Bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Vanderbilt University.

Outside of his wonderful wife and three kids, Jason’s main passion is golf – he attributes his 5 handicap to his natural fascination with the mechanics of the sport, along with his “athlete’s diet” of Diet Mountain Dew and cheeseburgers.

Paul Motenko

Operating Partner

Paul has spent the last 27 years in the full-service casual dining segment of the restaurant industry.  In 1991, Paul teamed up with his partner, Jerry Hennessy, to purchase a 3-unit pizza chain in Southern California.  This humble chain would eventually become BJ’s Restaurants and Brewhouse, a publicly-traded, nationally-renowned casual dining concept.

As Co-CEO alongside Hennessy, Paul’s leadership and entrepreneurial spirit led to exponential growth at BJ’s, taking the chain from 3 units to 82 units by the mid 2000’s.  Having gone public under Paul’s stewardship, BJ’s is now one of the great success stories in casual dining, boasting 200 restaurants and over $1 billion in annual revenue.

Paul’s unwavering focus on quality, experience, and culture were critical to the success of the BJ’s brand, and continue to be a driving force behind the success of STACKED:  Food Well Built, a concept in which he is the Co-Founder and current Co-CEO alongside Hennessy.  Paul co-founded STACKED in 2010.

Before venturing into the restaurant industry, Paul began his career in public accounting.  He received his Bachelor’s from the University of Illinois.

When he isn’t concocting the perfect burger at STACKED or consuming copious amounts of STACKED butter cake, Paul enjoys spending time with his family.  To work off all those calories, he spends many weekends hiking the mountains of Southern California.  Paul is also actively involved in supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Board of Advisors

Mark Brezinski

Advisory Board Member

A renowned concept development expert with 40 years of industry experience, Mark has served as the co-creator of multiple successful brands, including Pei Wei Asian Diner, Velvet Taco, and Banh Shop, among others.  As part of this work, Mark has participated in over 150 restaurant openings in the last 25 years.  Mark has also served as a consultant for YUM brands where he led menu design initiatives, market analysis, and new concept development efforts.  He has been either a co-founder or key executive in 5 nationally recognized Nation’s Restaurant News “Hot Concept” award winning brands.

Chris Morris

Advisory Board Member

Chris has spent over 20 years in the restaurant industry, primarily in the finance and operations functions.  A seasoned leader of high-growth casual dining brands, he was recently appointed as the CEO of Main Event Entertainment, a nationally recognized “eatertainment” brand based in Dallas, TX.  Before taking the CEO role at Main Event, Chris was the President of California Pizza Kitchen, which operates across 30 states and 15 countries.  Chris has also served in Executive Vice President and CFO roles at On the Border and CEC entertainment.

Jim Rudolph

Advisory Board Member

A distinguished franchise industry veteran, Jim has extensive operational and executive management experience as both a franchisee and franchisor.  Jim is the former Chairman and CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, having grown the brand from 300 to 500+ units during his tenure.  He also served as President of Wendy’s Franchise Advisory Council and achieved top-tier sales per unit averages as a Wendy’s franchisee in the Greater Pittsburgh area.  A former franchisee of Chuck E. Cheese, Church’s Chicken, and Baskin Robbins Ice Cream, Jim currently serves as Chairman of Uncle Charley’s Sausage.

Combined Experience

Below is just a glimpse of the companies and systems with which we have worked and financed throughout our careers.