• Serving independent schools and colleges with since 1990
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Welcome

There are many dining contractors out there — some smaller and some much, much larger. We like to think we're the right size to offer the experience and efficiencies you need, as well as the personal attention and support you may not be accustomed to receiving.

When we come to your school and take stock of the situation in your dining hall — the challenges and the opportunities — we bring our best practices to bear to raise the bar for you. But that's only part of the equation.

We take the time to understand your school community, your tastes and preferences.

We work with you to develop a food program that meets your community's culinary, nutritional and social needs, and that does so within a reasonable budget.

How are we able to do this? It starts with hiring an incredibly talented and committed work force, individuals who are passionate about food and dedicated to pleasing the customer.

We maintain the highest standards of integrity throughout our company, from accounting to purchasing to marketing. And we never waver from our focus on serving great-tasting, wholesome food.

Financial Transparency

Trust is Essential

Our financial transparency is built into our business model. We work on a management fee basis, which means that SAGE earns a fixed amount of money per year for administering the food service agreement. This is our salary. The amount does not change, whether we're under- or over-budget.

We have amazing, transparent financial systems. Each week our managers update wages, purchases, inventory and receivables. Then they generate a statement and deliver it to our clients.

When everyone works from the same set of numbers, the results make total sense. If a question arises, you can rely on our managers, district manager and Accounting department to have the answer.

We share all of the financial information with you because this is a partnership.

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Our leaders are experts with years of hands-on and management experience in the food and dining industry

News Center


Spoonful of SAGE

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SAGE In the News

Paco Rodriguez

Paco Rodriguez is the founding president of SAGE Dining Services®.

Before SAGE's launch in 1990, Paco served in the school and college division of a large food service company. He was also an associate at McKinsey & Co., a worldwide management consulting firm, and chief operating officer of the regional ice cream chain, Emack & Bolio's.

A frequent speaker on management strategy, Paco enjoys presenting leadership lessons based on the Battle of Gettysburg. A wine collector and connoisseur, he hosts frequent wine tastings with SAGE clients.

He has played an active role in the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), a global network of 23,000 young business leaders in more than 130 countries. Having 'graduated,' he now offers counsel by sitting on company boards and advisory committees.

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

Tina Rodriguez co-founded SAGE Dining Services® in 1990, blending her passion for culinary excellence and financial integrity with a lifelong commitment to education. She oversees SAGE’s finance and legal operations, and travels extensively to connect with Clients and Team Members across North America.

She is also Board Chair of Common Market Philadelphia, a nonprofit regional food hub that connects local farms with urban consumers and institutions. She helped guide Common Market’s growth in the Mid Atlantic market, and its recent expansion into Georgia.

Tina is sought after by the independent school community as a speaker and webinar host on the topics of dining service management, local food procurement, and nutrition. She regularly addresses regional and national gatherings of school business officers.

While growing SAGE, Tina served as an adjunct faculty member in the Business Program at Johns Hopkins for over 15 years, teaching a variety of courses in strategic planning and management to MBA candidates.

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.

Tina and her husband, Paco, have four grown children and live in Baltimore, Maryland. In her spare time, she enjoys speed walking, singing in a choir, working in her organic garden–and, yes, going wine tasting with Paco!

Marcel Gallo

Marcel Gallo oversees all of our accounts in North America. Prior to becoming COO, Marcel served as SAGE’s Vice President for the Northeast.

As a young man, Marcel owned and operated a retail catering and imported foods business in Pawling, NY. He later sold the business and began a career in school food service as the sous chef at an independent school. Before he joined SAGE in 2005, Marcel held key management positions in the school food service industry, as food service director and district manager for a large contract food service company.

Marcel earned an associate 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. In his spare time, Marcel loves building things and being the “sports guy” for his kids and the Frisbee thrower for his dog.

Maurice Short

Maurice Short is Vice President and Director of Sales for SAGE. He was part of the original team that founded the company 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 was asked to lead SAGE's sales effort.

Prior to joining SAGE, Maurice worked in food service management 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 Parrish, Florida.

Lyle Kan

Lyle has over 35 years of combined experience in food industry marketing and management consulting. He specializes in strategic planning, business development, and customer service management. Most recently, Lyle has worked as an independent marketing and business development consultant. Prior to that, he served as the Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Development for a West Coast-based food service manufacturing supplier.

Lyle graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College and received his MBA from the Harvard Business School, earning multiple awards for academic excellence, leadership, and service along the way.

He has channeled his leadership skills into community involvement in the service of Team Red, White and Blue (a veterans service organization), the San Gabriel Valley Council of the Boy Scouts, the Los Angeles Children's Museum, the West Point Parents Club of Orange County, and the San Marino Schools Foundation. Lyle, who enjoys traveling, trying new foods, collecting art, and competing in marathons and triathlons, has relocated from Los Angeles to join our Team at SAGE.

Scott Mowery

Scott has over two decades' worth of experience in accounting, finance, and strategic development. Most recently, Scott served as Vice President of Finance at a nationwide landscaping company. Prior to that, he advanced within a major recruiting and contract staffing firm, eventually becoming Executive Director of Financial Operations.

Scott received his Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Finance from Gettysburg College, and his MBA from Loyola University. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Maryland.
Scott lives in Hunt Valley, MD, and has recently served as Vice Chairman for the Special Olympics of Maryland.

Todd Evans

SAGE Dining Services is pleased to welcome Todd Evans to its leadership team as VP of Procurement. Evans supervises all procurement functions, including product consolidation, vendor sourcing, contract negotiation, relationship management, compliance, and contract manufacture.

Evans has over 33 years of experience in materials management, purchasing, and procurement. He has spent most of his career at Hunt Valley-based McCormick & Company, Inc., moving up from Purchasing Agent to Procurement Director. He was responsible for leadership of North American and global strategies in the areas of Indirect Procurement and External Manufacturing, and he developed and deployed the global Procurement Center of Excellence (COE), an organization focused on procurement analytics. Evans received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Towson University and a Master of Science in Business Management from Johns Hopkins University.

John Posenau

John Posenau joins SAGE as the Vice President of Technology. John comes to us from Red Lion Controls in York, PA, where he served as the Vice President for Global Shared Services. John started his career designing data acquisition and control systems for NASA’s Langely Research Center. He’s worked as a CIO or Technology Director for organizations including The Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Sungard Higher Education, the NAACP, York College of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins University.

John has an M.S. in Computer Science from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He’s married with two children and lives in York, PA. When he’s not working or serving as the President of the York Suburban School Board, John enjoys traveling with his wife.

Mark Benfield

Mark Benfield is SAGE’s Vice President of Operations in the Middle States, with responsibility for venues in Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Mark regularly visits client venues to ensure that SAGE is meeting its standards for culinary expertise, food safety and sanitation, nutritional education, and community 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 an 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 back of the house.

Mark pursued general management studies at West Chester University. He and his wife live year-round at the Jersey shore.

Jon Hess

Jon Hess is Vice President of Operations. He manages a team of District Managers in the Southeast. Jon maintains SAGE standards for culinary expertise, food safety and 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 in Hyde Park, N.Y., and is ServSafe® certified. A collector of local and regional cookbooks, Jon lives in suburban Atlanta with his two children.

Jennifer Quick

Jennifer Quick is SAGE's Regional Manager for the Western United States.

Jennifer joined SAGE as a food service director in 2003. Since her promotion to District Manager in 2005, she has assisted in new account openings and renovations and helped train and mentor many SAGE managers and district managers nationwide.

Before coming to SAGE, Jennifer owned her own catering company and seafood restaurant on the Texas coast. She graduated from North Texas State with a degree in marketing. In her spare time, Jennifer loves entertaining and interior design and is a connoisseur of Mexican food. She lives in San Antonio with her husband and two daughters.

Steve Kittredge

Steve Kittredge is SAGE's Area Manager for the Sunshine State: Florida.

A native New Englander, Steve settled in South Florida in 1996. He joined SAGE in 1997 as a food service director. He was promoted to district manager in 2007 and served accounts in Florida, Arkansas and Louisiana. His management skills, attention to detail, and culinary expertise were recognized in 2015 with his promotion to Area Manager.

Steve earned his associate’s degree in culinary arts and his bachelor’s degree in food service management from Johnson and Wales University in 1985 and 1987, respectively. He is ServSafe® certified. Steve lives in Delray Beach, FL and loves fishing, all sorts of music, sports and the beach.

Gary Fugman

Gary Fugman is a SAGE Area Manager in the Northeast United States. He ensures that operations are in compliance with SAGE Standards, and that our services are consistently maintained at the highest levels.

Gary began his career in food service in 1992, working in roles that ranged from sous chef to the owner of a 250-seat restaurant. In 1999, Gary joined SAGE as a Catering Manager and was promoted to Food Production Manager in 2000, and Food Service Director in 2002. In 2005, Gary was promoted again to District Manager. Gary continues to foster the success of his accounts through his communication, food, and catering expertise.

Gary earned his A.O.S in Hotel Management and his Culinary Arts Certificate in 1992. He is also a registered ServSafe® instructor for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Gary currently lives in Niverville, NY.

Tom Ankner

Tom Ankner is a SAGE Area Manager in the Northeast United States. He ensures that operations are in compliance with SAGE Standards, and that our services are consistently maintained at the highest levels.

Tom came to SAGE in 2005 as a CST member and later became the Food Service Director at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, FL, where he oversaw a team of three managers and was heavily involved with the daily food production and catering. In 2007, Tom continued this role at Columbia University Teachers’ College, and in 2008, he was promoted to District Manager. Tom continues to foster the success of his accounts through his communication, food, and catering expertise.

Tom earned his associate degree in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America. He went on to earn his bachelor's and master's degrees in Hospitality Management and Food Service Management from Florida International University. Tom is ServSafe® certified and has accumulated certificates in a variety of food service topics from his participation in SAGE University.

Carl Sharrio

Carl brings 26 years of sales experience to SAGE. After working for Aramark and Compass Group for 14 years, Carl spent the last few years as a Business Development Manager for Fooda and Unidine Corporation, where he oversaw the sales process, including prospect identification, qualification, survey organization and execution, proposal development, sales presentation, and contract negotiation. Of particular interest for SAGE, he developed the organization’s education division.

Carl resides in Andover, MA, where he’s a little league coach, high school hockey supporter, and children’s philanthropist. Carl looks forward to growing SAGE’s presence in the Northeast.

Georgina Knipe

Georgina Knipe is the district manager/sales executive for British Columbia, Canada.

She joined SAGE in 2015 after serving as general manager for a multinational food service and facilities management corporation. There, she operated a 600-man pioneer lodge for the oil and gas industry as well as other large operations in the Northwest Territories and various sites throughout Canada.

Georgina has extensive management experience in a wide range of settings. She directed a dining hall, two restaurants, and two catering departments at a major university; supervised catering at a golf course clubhouse, and managed an international hotel restaurant. She operated a fly-in wilderness resort in Ontario and owned a restaurant in the Malaga Province of Spain where she was able to blend her passion for travel and adventure with her expertise in the hospitality industry.

Her education and training include certification in building maintenance, a degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Casino Management from Westervelt College in Ontario; and certification, Established Manager Path, Harvard Business School Publishing. She lives on Vancouver Island and owns a home on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Georgina cherishes spending time by the sea and finds relaxation in fishing and sailing.

James Leachman

James Leachman joined SAGE in 2008 as the sales account executive for the Southeast. He is responsible for growth in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

He began his food service career in 1990 with an intensive, 18-week culinary training program. He spent nine years in various operational and sales positions with a large contract food service provider, working in the collegiate, corporate, and healthcare sectors. He also managed the company's largest vending operation in the Southeast and trained new operators.

Before joining SAGE, James was president and co-owner of a mobile home business for eight years.

A resident of Mobile, AL, James holds a B.S in business administration from Spring Hill College in Mobile. He is an avid gardener, golfer, and saltwater fisherman.

Linda Keefe

Linda began in the food industry over 30 years ago at Frito-Lay®. Linda has since worked in a variety of industry segments. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at C&W Services promoting client performance objectives. She’s delivered measurable sales results for companies including Kimberly-Clark® Corporation/Scott® Paper Company, ISS Facility Services, and Sodexo®—where she led innovative client initiatives throughout the Western United States.

Linda has a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing from Arizona State University.

Linda currently lives in Tucson, Arizona where she enjoys spending time with her husband and supporting her children’s beloved Arizona Wildcats!

Brenden McNamee

Brenden McNamee joined SAGE in 2013 as the sales account executive for the Midwest. He is responsible for growth in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Brenden began his food service career in 1993, as a customer service representative for a Saint Louis area supermarket. In 1999, he joined one of the largest beer distributors in the Midwest as a sales representative, before becoming a territory account manager focusing on bars and restaurants. Before coming to SAGE, Brenden served as the Midwest Regional Manager for UBC Group USA.

A resident of St. Louis, MO, Brenden holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Lindenwood University in St. Charles. He is an avid cyclist, runner, and snow skier, and an active traveler with extensive cultural experience in North and Central America, Europe, and Asia.

William Velez

William (Bill) Velez is SAGE's sales account executive for the Mid-Atlantic region, responsible for the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Bill has been a food service professional for over 25 years. He had his first taste of the business at the age of eight when he joined his father's bodega in Trenton, New Jersey. Following in his dad's footsteps of food service and entrepreneurship, Bill began a career in food management, operating facilities in corporate, educational, and leisure dining.

Later, Bill founded a stay-at-home senior care business, but food service remained his passion. He sold his business and began a career on the sales side of the industry, where he has enjoyed continued success at several large contract food service companies.

Bill has a certification in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Mercer County Community College and attended the College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College).

Bill is a big sports fan, and particularly loves following international soccer. When not playing or watching ball himself, he keeps busy by coaching his son's baseball, soccer, and basketball teams. He lives in Lambertville, New Jersey.

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