Leadership

Jim Creel, President

JIM CREEL, PRESIDENT

 

Jim joined Taco John’s International in January 2000. Jim is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the AICPA and Wyoming Society of CPAs. Over the years, he has served on the Board of Directors for over 15 non-profit organizations. Jim is a graduate of the University of Wyoming and was previously a partner at RSM McGladrey, Inc. for nearly 20 years.


Rocky Clark, Vice President of Operations

ROCKY CLARK, VICE PRESIDENT FOR OPERATIONS

 

Rocky joined Taco John’s International in July of 2013 and brings with him over 30 years’ experience in the food service industry. Rocky has previously worked with Arby’s, Chick-fil-A, and as an owner of his own coffee shops and hardware store. His experience as a small business owner along with many years in operations gives him a unique perspective of both franchisee and franchise support. Rocky’s primary focus at Taco John’s is to enhance the guest experience for each guest every time they visit a restaurant.


Stephanie Gooden, Vice President of Human Resources

STEPHANIE GOODEN, VICE PRESIDENT FOR HUMAN RESOURCES & TRAINING

 

Stephanie rejoined Taco John’s in 2016 as Vice President for Human Resources & Training after spending 1-1/2 years with the Wyoming Department of Corrections as Deputy Human Resources Manager. Prior to the State, Stephanie was with Taco John’s for 33 years, primarily in Human Resources. Her areas of expertise are staffing, compensation/benefits, employee relations and training/development. Stephanie is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management and served as President of the Chain Restaurant Total Rewards Association.


Patricia Hays, General Counsel and Secretary

PATRICIA HAYS, GENERAL COUNSEL AND SECRETARY

 

Patt joined Taco John’s International in June 2010 as GC and corporate secretary and leads TJI’s internal legal department. Prior to joining TJI, Patt was assistant general counsel of TBC Corporation, parent company of Big O Tires, LLC, a retail tire franchisor, as well as parent company of Tire Kingdom and Merchant’s Tire & Auto, and National Tire and Battery where she was responsible for litigation management, real estate, and franchising matters.


Van Igram, Vice President of Development

VAN INGRAM, VICE PRESIDENT FOR DEVELOPMENT

 

As Vice President of Development, Van Ingram oversees development, design and construction and equipment, helping both new and existing franchisees. “Some franchisees have been with us 20 to 40 years,” he says. “We want to give them a chance to grow within the Taco John’s brand. We will also aggressively pursue multi-unit franchisees of other concepts and new franchisees entering the industry.” Van brings 16 years of franchise sales experience to Taco John’s from YUM! Brands, VIOC, Arby’s Restaurant Group and Volvo Rents.


bob

BOB KARISNY, VICE PRESIDENT FOR MENU STRATEGY AND INNOVATION

 

Bob Karisny has been with TJI for over 7 years and he has been in the food service industry for over 3 decades. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Bob has honed his profession from line cook to Vice President. After years of working in and leading individual kitchens, Bob started his career in research and development with companies including Long John Silver’s, Jerry’s Restaurants, Village Inn, and Boston Market.


Renee Swisher, Vice President of Finance and Technology

RENEE SWISHER, VICE PRESIDENT FOR FINANCE AND TECHNOLOGY

 

Renee Swisher has been with Taco John’s for more than 20 years, most recently as the Director of Finance. A graduate of Mankato State University with a degree in Accounting, she is a Certified Public Accountant. Prior to joining Taco John’s, Renee gained valuable accounting experience at Unicover Corporation and McGladrey, Hendrickson and Pullen. She has served on the Board of Directors of United Way of Laramie County and well as other non-profit entities.


Alan Wright, Vice President for Marketing

ALAN WRIGHT, VICE PRESIDENT FOR MARKETING

 

Alan joined Taco Johns in January 2018. His marketing leadership positions have been with legacy and disruptive franchised brands including Hardee’s Food Systems, Rent-A-Center, Olan Mills, The Krystal Company Hamburgers, and Newk’s Eatery. A strategic and creative brand leader he has led management teams through the social, digital, mobile, and brand journey processes. He believes “it’s better to be different not just better” which leads to a unique brand personality. Alan has served on the Technomics Operational Advisory Board and Greater Chattanooga Hospitality Association Board.