Leadership

JODY LUIHN – PARTNER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, has a BA in Business Administration from Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida. Jody started as a restaurant manager in the  Luihn family business in 1983 and remains in the business as a Partner, President and CEO after the recapitalization into LVE Partners in 2019. He has been the FRANMAC President for Taco Bell for three terms and serves on numerous YUM! Brand committees. Jody is consistently recognized by YUM! Brands for his contributions to the franchise system.  He is a 2005 recipient of the Glen Bell Award and a recipient of the “The Think Outside The Bun” award.

CRAIG BARTLES – CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER, has over 35 years of restaurant operations experience with the organization. He started as an Restaurant General Manager in 1985 after receiving his Associates Degree in Business Administration. Craig has held numerous leadership positions throughout his career and the growth of the organization. He is a 2012 recipient of the Franchisee Director of the Year Award from KFC Corporation.

DENISE BROWN – CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER, SHRM-CP, has many years of HR experience working at Source Refrigeration, Emerson Industrial Automation, Home Depot and Cracker Barrel. Denise has a BA in Business/Managerial Economics from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a Masters in Human Resources from Troy University. Denise joined LVE in 2021.

MIKE COCCIA – CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER, with nearly 40 years of experience in the Taco Bell organization, Mike is a committed and highly insightful senior franchise operations executive specializing in the foodservice industry, with global and domestic experience in operations management, P&L oversight, capital planning, budgeting and cost controls, strategic planning, facilities management, staff coaching, project management, and HR oversight. Mike has a proven track record of bolstering operations in pursuit of sustained growth and profitability in previous roles ranging from Market Strategy Director to Senior Director, Franchise & License Business Leader. Exceling at cultivating and maintaining essential partnerships, Mike promotes alignment to achieve essential objectives.

MICHELLE FUNK – CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, has a BA Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from California State University, Stanislaus. Michelle joined the organization in 2018 after being the Controller for highly regarded Taco Bell franchiseee, OCAT, Inc. She has 20 years experience in the accounting field including eight years in public accounting.

BRET HOOPPAW – DIRECTOR OF TACO BELL OPERATIONS, FLORIDA REGION, has a BA Degree in Education, University of Washington and a BA Degree in Business Administration, Management & Operations, Eastern Washington University. Bret has over 45 years of experience in Taco Bell Operations, People Capability and Leadership.  Bret joined the organization in 2003 after being with franchise organizations on the West Coast, and in the Pacific Northwest throughout his exceptional career.

DEWAYNE MORIN – DIRECTOR OF KFC & MULTIBRANDING OPERATIONS, NC, SC & VA REGION. Dewayne is an accomplished Restaurant Leader and Operations Professional with over 25 years of experience in the Hospitality industry and an excellent reputation for resolving problems, improving customer satisfaction, and driving overall sales and operational improvements.  His past experience includes 17 years with Golden Corral and 4 years with Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N BBQ.

STUART VAUGHN – DIRECTOR OF TACO BELL OPERATIONS, ARIZONA REGION, joined LVE in 2020 and brings over 32 years of experience in Taco Bell Operations, including multi-business locations Taco Bell/Pizza Hut Express and Taco Bell/Long John Silvers. He began his career as a Taco Bell team member and for the past 20 years was the Director of Operations for a highly successful 47 restaurant Taco Bell franchise that is now part of the LVE family.

JW WEST – DIRECTOR OF TACO BELL OPERATIONS, NC & SC REGION, joined LVE in 2019.  JW was previously with well-respected NC Taco Bell franchisee, Fulenwider Enterprises, for 20 years. Prior to the restaurant industry, JW was a General Manager with Marriott International.

MARIO FLORES – DIRECTOR, FACILITIES & DEVELOPMENT, has been a Director since 2019 and was previously our Senior Project Manager for four years. Mario is highly experienced with over 36 years of Construction Project Management. He handles all aspects of our construction; site investigations, project budgeting, bid processing, due diligence, scopes of work for remodels, permitting and construction site inspections.