Pizza Executive Summit 2011 announces speakers, agenda

The Pizza Executive Summit, an exclusive executive-only event produced by NetWorld Alliance and hosted by, has finalized its keynote speaker, presenters and agenda. The third annual Summit is scheduled for June 26-28 in Chicago at the Sofitel Water Tower.

The Summit is a three-day event focused on networking and educational workgroup sessions that address operator issues and best practices for the pizza segment of the restaurant industry.

Carlos Herrera, manager of industry forecasting and analysis for Coca-Cola North America, is slated to be the keynote speaker at this year's event.

"Carlos spoke last year at our Fast Casual Executive Summit and his insights became an invaluable tool for our attendees, " said Valerie Killifer, vice president of foodservice media at NetWorld Alliance. "We are thrilled to have him address our pizza executives as what he presents is unavailable to the general public. Nowhere else will they have access to this information."

The first day of the event will begin with a Chicago Pizza Tour, an opportunity to visit several pizzerias located around the metro area and to network with other attendees. Days two and three will include two keynote addresses, executive panels and 90-minute collaborative roundtable sessions structured around specific topics.

Day two of the event will start with the keynote presentation, "What the Big Brands Know: How to survive and thrive in a $10 world," given by Gerry O'Brion, founder of What Big Brands Know. He is the former vice president of marketing for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and has worked with companies such as Coors Brewing Company and the Proctor & Gamble divisions of Crisco, Tide and Mr. Clean.

Other day one sessions include:

10-11 a.m.

  • What's Hot in Healthful Living - A look at culinary trends impacting the segment and how operators can capitalize on their popularity.
  • Pizzerias and the Social Web - How geolocation is driving profits.


  • Working Lunch: The Washington Report - Learn from the National Restaurant Association's EVP of Policy and Governmental Affairs about the regulations that are impacting every aspect of your business.


  • Capitalizing on Commodities - The market drivers for flour, wheat, cheese, pork and beef, and how to price around them.
  • Make More Dough - The secret sauce to building sales with zero marketing dollars.

"The Summit makes it so we all can learn, ask questions and benefit from one another in what I would say is by far the best environment possible," said Betsy Craig, who will speaking on the panel, "What's Hot in Healthy Living," with food and beverage forecaster Suzy Badaracco.

Other presenters include:

  • Bob Graham, founder, Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza
  • Scott DeFife, executive VP of policy and government affairs with the National Restaurant Association
  • Harry Bond, former president and now chairman of the board for Monical's Pizza
  • Kathleen Wood, founder, Kathleen Wood Partners
  • Robert Bresnahan, president and CEO, Trilateral Inc.
  • Don Fox, CEO, Firehouse Subs
  • Scott Baitinger, founder, Streetza Pizza
  • Michael Atkinson, founder and CEO, FohBoh
  • Asif Khan, founder, Location Based Marketing Association
  • Libby Libhart, founder, LossBusters
  • Don Vlcek, VP of purchasing, Marco's Pizza
  • Bob Bielinski, managing director, CIT Corporate Finance

(Click here to view the full agenda.)

Day two will start with two concurrent sessions from 9-10 a.m. The sessions are:

  • Workforce Management - How to recruit and retain a World Series team.
  • Growth and Development - How to use your strengths and resources to build your brand.

Monical's Harry Bond will be one of two panelists discussing workforce management.

"Monical's has enjoyed many years, and much recognition, for increasing leadership education, reducing manager and team turnover and dramatically increasing labor effectiveness," said Bond, who will speak on a panel addressing workforce management. "I plan to share the steps we have taken that have dramatically helped us weather this storm of economical uncertainty through effective leadership and employee team engagement."

Event sponsors include NEC, Burke Corporation, ReadyTalk, Escalon, Musco, The Pizza Butler and Fishbowl.

The Summit is reserved for executives of companies that own or operate multi-unit pizza, and/or Italian restaurants. Registration is now open. Click here to register. For more information, visit

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