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Kurt Steiner

Mr. Steiner joined the Company in 2008 as a Staff Accountant. In his current role, he is the Corporate Controller responsible for the Company’s financial statements, accounting policies and procedures, internal controls, franchising, leasing and other duties of the Company. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Steiner was employed by Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. Mr. Steiner received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Northern Iowa in 2006 with a minor in Economics.

Brandon Uehran

Mr. Uehran joined Heart of America Group in May of 2014 as an executive for Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse in West Des Moines, Iowa. Mr. Uehran has been involved in Johnny’s brand development and has helped facilitate the opening of several Johnny’s locations. In his current role as Brand Leader, his principal focus is on the strategic operational development of the Johnny’s brand including menu development, cost controls, brand standards, staff development and franchise training and support. Mr. Uehran is a graduate from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in business finance.

Emily Sutton

Emily joined Heart of America Group in 2011 as Graphic Designer, and is responsible for the design and layout of marketing pieces, ads, websites and social media for Heart of America Group’s restaurants, hotels and corporate office. Emily coordinates production of print materials with various local and online vendors, working closely with the Brand Managers to insure timely delivery. Prior to joining the Company, Emily was the lead graphic designer and pre-press specialist for Davenport Printing Company. Emily received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Design from Wartburg College in 2001.

Dan Oliver

Since 1999, Mr. Oliver has served as Corporate Architect for the Company and is responsible for the design process, including plans and specifications, for new project developments and property renovations. Mr. Oliver is a LEED certified architect. Prior to joining the Heart of America, Mr. Oliver was the Director of Design for Design Build Associates, a Ryan Company, from 1993 to 1999, and was an Architect with Mekus Johnson in Chicago from 1988 to 1993. Mr. Oliver received his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Illinois in 1988.

John Schulz

Mr. Schulz joined the Company in 2013 as VP – Construction and is responsible for all project construction activities and property renovations, including management/oversight of our development projects, onsite staff and the quality of the finished project. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Schulz was a VP of Project Management of multiple Project Mangers while directly project managing large single projects with extensive hands-on experience from project conception until well after its completion for 27 years. Mr. Schulz experience in a wide range of locations and types of construction fits well with the upcoming retail, hospitality, and convention ...

Jenny Drake

Ms. Drake joined the Company in April, 2019 as General Counsel and is responsible for all legal matters of the Company, including contracts, development agreements, legal issues, and employment matters. She is also involved in all real estate and development activities, including site acquisition, entitlements, site plans, project development, municipal activities, and other real estate matters. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Drake was a partner with the Whitfield & Eddy law firm in Des Moines, Iowa from 2016 – 2019, and was Associate General Counsel for Hubbell Realty Company from 2004 – 2016. Ms. Drake received her Bachelor’s degree in ...

Chuck Ullrich

Mr. Ullrich joined the Company in 1999 as Vice President & CFO and is responsible for the finance, accounting, insurance/risk management, human resources, information technology, budgeting, capital expenditures, forecasting, and administrative functions of the Company. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Ullrich was employed by Mid-Continent Bottlers, Inc. as Vice President & CFO from 1994 to 1999 and as Corporate Controller from 1987 to 1993. From 1982 to 1987, Mr. Ullrich was employed by the public accounting firm of Deloitte & Touché. Mr. Ullrich received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Northern Iowa in ...

Kim Whalen

Ms. Whalen began her career with Heart of America in 1979 when she joined the company as the first accountant and has since been an integral part of the strategic direction of the company. Her ability to manage accounting processes for several restaurants and hotels, new development projects, as well as maintain strong banker and vendor relationships led her to become Heart of America’s first CFO. After the arrival of her children, Ms. Whalen stepped away for awhile to focus on family. Since 1999, she has served as the Executive Vice President. Her unique knack for thinking strategically and creatively parlayed her into a leadership role on the ...

Mike Whalen

Mr. Whalen is the founder of Heart of America Group (the “Company”) and has served as President and CEO since 1978. Through Mr. Whalen’s entrepreneurial leadership and vision, the Company has grown from a single 100 seat restaurant operation to a profitable and growing real estate development and hospitality enterprise with twenty-seven existing restaurant/hotel properties and several retail/office developments. Several exciting plans for future developments are also underway. Mr. Whalen’s expertise in the food and beverage and hospitality arena has been recognized with several distinguished awards including Entrepreneur of the Year, Inc ...

Ajay Singh

Mr. Singh joined the Company in 2012 to oversee the franchise development of the Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse concept. Mr. Singh’s career spans a diversity of experience from the automotive sector to the financial industry. From 1991 to 2004 Mr. Singh oversaw several luxury brands for one of the nation’s largest privately held automotive firms. His experience with Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi, Jaguar and Lexus included sales, operations and manufacturer relations. In 2005 Mr. Singh entered the financial industry as a Private Banker with Wells Fargo Bank. He would then lead the development of a Private Banking unit as Executive Vice President for ...