Biographies of Principals
Mr. Hiatt has been involved in all aspects of the Food Service industry for over thirty years. After early training with a Marriott affiliate, he was with the Walt Disney Company for twelve years in restaurant operations, financial analysis and project development. Among his duties there were the complete restaurant development for EPCOT Center and the restaurant logistics for Tokyo Disneyland.
Randall spent six years as Vice President of Food and Beverage for the diverse Grace Restaurant Company and Vice President of Operations for its successor, Restaurant Enterprises.
Mr. Hiatt has been President of Fessel International since its inception in the United States in 1988.
HIROO “RIKI” CHIKARAISHI
Mr. Chikaraishi is the President of Thomas and Chikaraishi Inc., Japan’s premier consulting firm in the hospitality industry. Formed twenty-five years ago, this firm counts among its clients Japan’s major trading companies (C. Itoh and Sumitomo), the largest restaurant companies (Royal and Kentucky Fried Chicken), independent restaurants, and the finest hotels, such as the Hotel Seiyo Ginza.
Thomas and Chikaraishi Inc. does project planning, restaurant development, operational analysis and organization development. In addition, Mr. Chikaraishi is the founder of H&RI, a hotel and restaurant management school that specializes in intensive training courses. Specific courses are developed for companies or properties, and standard courses on Service, Food and Beverage, Administration and other aspects of the hospitality field are offered. Most of Japan’s key organizations have sent participants to these classes.
Mr. Armstrong was most recently Vice President of Resorts and Food Administration for Walt Disney World. During his twenty-two years with the Disney Company, he led the formation of its Food Service organization, and built the company into an industry leader with over 200 unique units and sales approaching $400 million. These operations won two Changemaker Awards for innovation under his guidance. He was also in charge of their diverse resort operations for eight of these years.
Prior to his Disney tenure, Jim was with Restaurant Associates during the period when they developed some of New York’s finest restaurants, including the Four Seasons, Forum of Twelve Caesar’s and Tower Suites. Jim was with Hilton Hotels prior to this period.
EUGENE P. LAWLESS
Mr. Lawless is Vice President and Senior Consultant for Fessel International and specializes in strategic planning for a wide variety of clients. Prior to joining Fessel International in 1993, Gene was associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services for University of Southern California, a $100 million University services department. Gene's background also includes master planning for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games and the 1986 Winter Games, and food service leadership positions at Rochester Institute of Technology and Cornell University.
Gene has assisted our clients in a wide variety of projects, including master planning of college and university, hospital and theme park food services, concept and business plan development for start-up companies, operations analysis and brand concept positioning. Mr. Lawless also has an extensive background in the preparation of Requests For Proposal and Proposal Responses for non-profit governmental agencies, food service operators and colleges.
RICHARD E. WHEELER
Mr. Wheeler has been Vice President and Senior Consultant for Fessel International for the past twelve years. Prior to this, Rich was Director, Food Service with the Associated Students UCLA. During his 19 year with ASUCLA, he directed the retail food operations at UCLA into a leadership position in the industry, and established them as a frequent planning model for other Universities.
Rich was recognized with IFMA's 1993 Silver Plate Award in the College and University sectors for the extensive growth and development of the operations at UCLA. In addition to his experience at UCLA, Rich's diverse background includes project management, operations, marketing, market research and design development with Bullocks Department, A&W International and McDonald's Corporation.