President and Chief Operating Officer, HomeTown Buffet, San Diego
Age: 40. Why he's rising: Strong operations executive with more than 20-year experience, largely with successful entrepreneurs. Ladder climbing: 1986-88, co-founder, c.o.o., Chicken By George; 1988-92, director of specialty foods, Geo. A. Hormel Co.; 1992-95, vice president, operations; 1995-present, president, c.o.o., HomeTown Buffet. Education: B.S., restaurant management, 1977; Culinary Institute of America, 1979-80. Most proud of: "Progressive increase in responsibility through diverse career paths." Mentor: Dennis Scott, chief executive officer, Home-Town Buffet. Wins praise for: Optimism and dedication. First job in foodservice: Euclid Spudnut Shop, Euclid, Ohio, age 12.