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 Magazine and Restaurateur of the Year (Iowa Hospitality Association). Mr. Whalen is an honors graduate of the University of Illinois (Political Science) and Harvard University (Law). Mr. Whalen is heavily involved in several trade, professional, real estate, political and civic organizations.