Chief Executive Officer
Brett Itterman serves as the Chief Executive Office of Pentex Restaurant Group. A graduate of North Dakota State University and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, he is responsible for the company’s management, operations and development. He is a member of Taco John’s Advertising Production Committee and Supply Chain Committee.
Prior to joining Pentex Restaurant Group he worked for Huron Consulting Group, United Health Group and MBA Building Supplies. Brett lives in Fargo with his wife, Katie, and their children; he enjoys skiing, hunting and spending time at the lake.
Chief Financial Officer
Damien Varela serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Pentex Restaurant Group. He is responsible for leading all financial aspects of the organization and driving profitable growth. Damien is a graduate of the University of Florida and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Prior to Pentex Restaurant Group, Damien spent 15 years with McDonald’s Corporation in a variety of financial and leadership roles. Damien lives in Fargo, ND and in his free time enjoys traveling, spending time with dogs and watching sports.
Chief Operating Officer
Jill Walz serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Pentex Restaurant Group. She is responsible for leading the teams in operations and training. Jill is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas, graduating with honors and competing on the volleyball team.
Prior to Pentex Restaurant Group, Jill spent 16 years growing and leading a team from 17 locations to 229 locations. Jill’s passion for people and team growth and the hustle of the industry is what drives her. Jill resides in Lakeville, MN with her husband and spends her free time with her family and staying active.
Marcy Barrett is District Manager for Pentex’s MinnDak Taco John’s. She joined Pentex Restaurant Group in 1979; her experience began as team member and has included positions as General Manager and Quality and Service Lead. In 2015, Marcy was honored with Taco John’s Manager of the Year Award.
Marcy is a graduate of Northern State University. In her free time, she enjoys spending Sundays with her granddaughters.
Brian Simmons is District Manager for Pentex’s Montana Taco John’s. Brian started with Pentex in November of 2018. Brian has over 20 years of multi-unit experience with companies such as Burger King, Domino’s, Potbelly Sandwich Works and Chester’s Fried Chicken.
Brian lives in the Billings, MT area and in his free time he enjoys hunting, fishing and traveling.
Brandon Rudkin is District Manager for Pentex’s Wisconsin/Iowa Taco John’s. Brandon started with Pentex in May of 2019.
Brandon is an Iowa Alumni and a lifelong Hawkeye. His educational background is in Linguistics, Foreign Language and International Relations. He has been in the Food, Beverage and Hospitality industry since 1992 and has a passion for Food Safety and restaurant operations. He enjoys living his country lifestyle with his girlfriend, Ashley and his 3 beautiful daughters (Kaitlyn, Ava and Stella). Some hobbies include trap shooting, 4 wheeling, bonfires, outdoor activities and remodeling/improving the old farmhouse with the girls.
Jason Locken is the District Manager for Pentex’s HuHot Mongolian Grills. Jason started with Pentex in 2013. Jason has over 24 years of restaurant industry experience working with Ground Round, Green Mill and HuHot. He also holds degrees in both Accounting and Business. Jason was the GM at our Bismarck, ND HuHot and was promoted to District Manager February 2020.
The fast pace of the restaurant industry, working with people and helping them grow and become successful in life is what Jason likes best about his career. In his spare time, Jason enjoys coaching youth football and serves as the President of Youth Football in Mandan, ND. In addition, he is likes working out and spending time outdoors, fishing and biking and traveling for fun and his kids sporting activities.
Jason, his wife, Patty, children Dylan, Cierra, Paige, and Turner and their two dogs Jaxson and Jack reside in Mandan, ND.
Irene Zinniel is District Manager for Pentex’s South Dakota Taco John’s. Irene joined the Pentex team in March 2021. Irene brings 25+ years of experience to the team, she started as a QSR assistant manager and then progressed into multi-unit management in the hospitality/restaurant/people industry overseeing up to 72 locations at a time.
Irene currently lives in Sioux Falls SD. When she is not working, she is spending time with her 3 kids and 2 grandchildren. Irene also enjoys gardening, camping, and has a strong love for traveling.
Irene holds a degree from South Central College for Emergency Medicine where she spent 15 years as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).