Paco Rodriguez is the founding president of SAGE Dining Services, Inc.
Before SAGE's launch in 1990, Paco spent two years in the School and College division of a large food service company. He also worked as an associate at McKinsey & Co., a worldwide management consulting firm, and served as chief operating officer of the regional ice cream chain, Emack & Bolio's.
A frequent speaker on management strategy, especially to groups of independent school business officers, Paco enjoys presenting leadership lessons based on the Battle of Gettysburg. A wine collector and connoisseur, he hosts frequent wine tastings with SAGE clients.
Until recently, Paco was active in the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), a network of 18,000 young executives in 110 countries. He served the organization as a forum moderator and host. Even though Paco is now a retired member, he continues to be called upon to offer counsel to the group and to moderate forums.
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a political science degree, Paco attended Harvard University's business and law schools, earning an MBA and a Juris Doctor degree.
Tina Rodriguez co-founded SAGE Dining Services in 1990, blending her passion for culinary excellence and financial integrity with a lifelong commitment to education.
Tina served as an adjunct faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Professional Studies in Business and Education from 1990 to 2007, teaching a variety of courses in strategic planning and management to MBA candidates.
While at Hopkins, she coached four teams to first- and second-place finishes in the National Black MBA Case Competition. She received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1996 and served on the School's Advisory Board. Tina also has taught at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
Tina is sought after by the independent school community as a speaker and webinar host on the topics of dining service management, outsourcing and nutrition. She regularly addresses regional and national gatherings of school business officers.
Tina serves on the board of Common Market Philadelphia, a nonprofit food distributor that connects local farms with urban consumers and institutions.
Prior to her work at SAGE, she was a consultant and later a manager at Bain & Co., an international strategy consulting firm. Tina is a summa cum laude graduate of the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School.
Marcel Gallo is SAGE's Chief Operating Officer. He oversees all of our accounts in North America. Prior to becoming COO, Marcel served as SAGE's Vice President, overseeing the Northeast region. Before joining SAGE in 2005, Marcel held key management positions in the school food service industry, having served as a food service director and district manager for a large contract food service company.
As a young man, Marcel owned and operated a retail catering and imported foods business operation in Pawling, NY. After selling the business, Marcel began his career in school food service as a sous chef at an independent school.
Marcel earned an associate's degree from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and is ServSafe® Certified. He also studied business and marketing at Iona College. He is married with two children and lives in Orange County, New York.
Maurice Short is vice president and director of sales for SAGE. He was part of the original team when the company was founded in 1990. A trained chef, he started as food service director at a small college. He joined the sales team in 1995, and 13 years later he was asked to lead SAGE's sales effort.
Prior to joining SAGE, Maurice worked in food service management, at the unit and district levels, in several independent schools and colleges. As a district manager, he worked closely with the sales team on budgeting and dining concepts.
A marathon runner and culinary adventurer, Maurice has a lifelong interest in health and nutrition. He is married and lives in Middletown, Delaware.
Jon Hess is vice president of operations in the Southeast. He manages a team of district managers who are responsible for accounts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Jon regularly visits client locations to ensure that SAGE meets its standards for culinary expertise, food safety and sanitation, nutritional education and customer satisfaction.
Jon began his career at SAGE in 1991, as an hourly chef at an independent boarding school. He advanced to the position of food service director in 1994 and district manager in 1998. Promoted to vice president in 2005, Jon combines a passion for food with a wealth of operational expertise.
He received an associate's degree and a food and sanitation certificate from The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., and is ServSafe® Certified. A collector of local and regional cookbooks, Jon lives in suburban Atlanta with his two children.
Mark Benfield is SAGE's vice president of operations in the Middle States, with responsibility for accounts in Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Mark regularly visits client locations to ensure that SAGE meets its standards for culinary expertise, food safety and sanitation, nutritional education and customer satisfaction.
Mark joined SAGE in 2001 as a special projects manager. He was promoted to district manager shortly thereafter and attained his current position in 2005. Mark's career in food service began in 1993, when he served as executive chef, food service director and ultimately general manager for private colleges with two different contract food management companies. Mark has extensive experience in high-end catering from the front and the back of the house.
Mark studied at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, and is ServSafe® Certified. He also pursued general management studies at West Chester University. An avid surf fisherman, he is married and lives on the New Jersey shore.
Jim Hess is SAGE's regional manager for the western United States, with responsibility for sales and operations in the region. He regularly visits client locations to ensure that SAGE meets its standards for culinary expertise, food safety and sanitation, nutritional education and customer satisfaction.
Jim joined SAGE in 1993 as a manager and held the positions of food service director and district manager before becoming regional manager. Jim has the unique perspective of having served in virtually every position at a SAGE location. He has extensive experience managing cash, debit and board accounts as well as providing upscale catering for day schools, boarding schools and private colleges.
Prior to joining SAGE, Jim spent four years as a restaurant chef and was an assistant manager for a large restaurant in Reading, PA. He earned a Culinary Arts Certificate from Lancaster Vocational School in Pennsylvania and is ServSafe® Certified. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife and three daughters.
Michael Francis is the Regional Manager of the Northeast. He is responsible for SAGE accounts in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
Before joining SAGE in 2013, Mike worked for 29 years with a large contract food service company. His concentration is in the independent education environment. Most recently Mike served as the District Manager, supervising boarding school and college accounts in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York territories.
Mike earned an Associates degree in Business Administration, from the Morse School of Business in Connecticut.
In his spare time he is an avid golfer and enjoys prepping and cooking Jamaican cuisine with his family. He lives in Connecticut with his wife of nearly 30 years and his two children.