High Bluff Capital Partners Team

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Anand Gowda
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Anand is the founder of High Bluff Capital Partners. He brings 20 years of experience in transforming brands & companies. Before founding High Bluff Capital Partners, Anand was the President & Managing Partner of Metropoulos & Company. Previously, Anand founded and led HBK Private Equity, LLC, the private equity arm of HBK Capital Management ($6BN+AUM). Earlier in his career, Anand was a Principal with The Carlyle Group. His experience also includes Morgan Stanley, Robertson Stephens & Company, and Price Waterhouse, LLP. Anand graduated from Washington University in St Louis and received his MBA from the University of Illinois.

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Dan Farris
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Dan is responsible for overseeing the underwriting and financing of new acquisition opportunities, early stage investments and all things real estate for High Bluff Capital Partners and our portfolio companies. Prior to joining High Bluff Capital Partners, Dan has held several senior investment positions and served in senior executive roles for two consumer focus companies. Most recently Dan Co-Founded Modrn Man, a consumer products innovator for men. Previously, Dan served as CEO of Yoga Six, a private equity backed boutique fitness concept. Prior to Dan’s experience leading consumer facing companies, he held senior acquisition and investment roles with The Koman Group, Regions Bank, Mobilitie, and A.G. Edwards. Dan graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in Finance and Real Estate.

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Ken Reber
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Ken leads franchisee mergers and acquisitions. His recent concentration has been increasing the portfolio density of high volume Dairy Queen franchisees in the Midwest. Previously, Ken founded and managed for over 20 years, Redrock Capital, a proprietary derivatives trading firm. He developed algorithmic strategies in the equity options and interest rate markets. Ken graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Economics.

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Coady Smith
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Coady is responsible for diligence on new investment opportunities and helping oversee High Bluff’s portfolio companies. Prior to joining High Bluff, he held investment positions at Regent, L.P. and Ares Management. His private equity experience has largely centered on consumer facing companies, with extended involvement in 99 Cents Only Stores and The Beautiful Group. Coady began his career as an investment banking analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a master’s degree in Finance and a bachelor’s degree in Economics.

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Julie Bayani
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Julie manages the day-to-day office operations; including Executive support, scheduling meetings and coordinating travel logistics. Julie has over 10 years of experience as an Administrative Professional supporting upper management. Prior to joining High Bluff Capital Partners, Julie has served as an Executive Assistant to companies such as NuVasive, a medical device company with $962 million in annual revenue; and ICW Group, the largest privately held insurance company worth over $1 billion. Julie is a Certified Administrative Professional and a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

Restaurant Platform Executives

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Tim Casey
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Tim Casey has been at the helm of Rego Restaurant Group as President and CEO since January 2019. Tim is a restaurant industry veteran who brings a wealth of knowledge and an extensive track record of enhancing economic models for franchise brands. Before joining Rego, Tim led several brands as President and CEO, including PepperJax Grill, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Mrs. Fields Famous Brands, and Vicorp. Tim’s experience also includes holding senior leadership positions at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Starbucks Coffee Company. Tim is equally skilled at bringing both the teams he leads and the brands he serves to their maximum potential. Tim has an MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and a BS from The University of Central Florida.

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Bruce Vermilyea
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Bruce is the Chief Financial Officer for Rego Restaurant Group. He has over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry. Previously, he served as CFO of PepperJax Grill and held various accounting and finance roles with Qdoba Mexican Grill, including CFO of the Qdoba brand. His experience includes financial planning and analysis, cash management, administration of human resources and risk management planning. Mr. Vermilyea holds BS degrees in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Phoenix.

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Mark Lohmann
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Mark Lohmann is Chief Brand Officer for Rego Restaurant Group, overseeing the portfolio’s branding, marketing, strategy and international development. Mark has substantial experience with executing strategy and development in the restaurant sector and additional industries. Prior to joining Rego in January 2019, Mark served as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Chief Financial Officer for Cool Planet, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for Qdoba Mexican Grill, as well as Head of Business Development and Chair of the Operating Committee for Konkola Copper Mines in Lusaka, Zambia. Mark brings a trademark energy to his work and the workplace. He has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS from Kansas State.