Our Leadership

Executive + Development

Andy Fromm

Chairman + Chief Executive Officer

Andy founded Service Management Group in 1991 with Bill Fromm and Dr. Len Schlesinger. SMG’s first client was a small retail chain, where Andy led a team conducting an employee survey. Throughout the company’s history, SMG’s associate and customer research has included an analysis of their relationship to financial performance. This concept was the primary focus of Dr. Schlesinger’s research at Harvard Business School and first articulated in 1998 in The Service Profit Chain with co-authors Heskett and Sasser. SMG’s research was subsequently published in 2003 in The Value Profit Chain—the follow-up work from the same research group at Harvard.

Andy graduated with distinction from Boston University and has served as an expert contributor in the area of customer service and satisfaction measurement to media such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company.

First Job: I cleaned pools throughout high school and still occasionally get asked for pool-cleaning advice from my former clients.

Michele Vance


As President, Michele leads a strategy-focused team dedicated to developing successful relationships and seeking new opportunities for growth. She’s committed to asking the right questions at the right time to deliver the most measurable and meaningful results in every situation. Prior to SMG, she served as VP of Commercial Sales at Terminix, VP of Marketing at RentWay—and has spent time consulting for brands like CAPCOM, Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership, and H&R Block on marketing and channel sales strategies. Michele holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania.

First Job: I delivered the afternoon newspaper. In my frequently wet and snowy hometown, I learned quickly that a dry paper will drive loyalty. 

Ken White

Chief Operating Officer

Ken has a strong background in innovation, consulting, and technology; applying more than 20 years’ experience toward enhancing clients' customer experience programs. As Chief Operating Officer, Ken oversees SMG’s technology, product development, innovation strategies, and data science initiatives. Prior to SMG, Ken held various product development, technology, and operational leadership roles at H&R Block and consulted with Fortune 500 companies in large business transformational projects at Accenture. Ken earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University.

First Job: I grew up on a farm, so my first job — at the age of 5 — was feeding our chickens and collecting their eggs.

Todd Leach

Chief Client Officer

Todd specializes in developing creative approaches for improving customer loyalty and engagement. To his role as Chief Client Officer, Todd brings more than a decade of experience in market research, competitive intelligence, and business improvement across diverse service-based industries. Prior to joining SMG, Todd helped companies such as H&R Block, Mutual of Omaha, Farm Credit Services, and Cerner Corporation to further refine their marketing, client service, and new business strategies. Todd earned his MBA from Bellevue University and holds a BA in both sociology and political science from Northwestern College.

First Job: I was a busboy at an all-you-can-eat spaghetti restaurant in Omaha. As you might suspect, there were some especially dirty tables.

Shad Foos

Chief Experience Officer

As CXO, Shad helps SMG teams better understand the mindset and motivations of clients and prospective clients, leveraging the power of experience to drive business. After nearly 6 years as SMG CMO, Shad is focused more broadly on buyers’ and prospective buyers’ SMG brand experience across all touchpoints. Shad collaborates with sales and delivery teams, transforming insights into stronger, long-term client partnerships based on mutual success. Before joining SMG, Shad held leadership positions at Barkley and C3, leading business development and account management teams for a host of national and international B2C and B2B brands. Shad is a graduate of Wichita State University.

First Job: At 14 I applied to be a waiter at my favorite Italian restaurant. When I showed up to work on the first day, they informed me I was the new dishwasher.

Mary Widmer

Chief Strategic Officer

Mary is responsible for resource planning, forecasting, and all financial aspects of the company. She directs SMG's strategic human resource initiatives and leads the company's administrative team. Mary also works closely with SMG’s clients during agreement negotiations and provides analysis and pricing of services. Prior to joining SMG as chief strategic officer, she was a partner in a CPA firm where she provided management, tax, and accounting consulting to a variety of businesses — including SMG. Mary earned her accounting degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

First Job: I had every 13-year-old's dream job...detasseling corn for DeKalb. I was in the fields by 6 AM, and by the end of the summer I had extremely tan arms (covered in cuts) and the whitest legs in three counties.

Stephanie Ayers

Chief Marketing Officer

Stephanie leads the marketing team to position and market SMG globally. She works closely with sales and technology teams to ensure the activities of the marketing organization are aligned with business objectives, go-to-market strategy and revenue goals. Stephanie is passionate about building things and loves the challenge of ever-evolving buying behavior and martech solutions. She is a culture champion who makes company and team culture a primary focus. Prior to joining SMG, Stephanie held global B2B marketing leadership positions and worked with a wide range of brands across the healthcare, restaurant, retail, services and technology industries. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Kansas.

First job: Bussing and waiting tables at a small restaurant, which taught me the value of time management, top-notch customer service and a limitless supply of soft serve ice cream.

Kim Klosak

VP, Human Resources

As Vice President of Human Resources, Kim is responsible for SMG's global activities in talent acquisition, development, organization design, and compensation benefit and wellness strategy. She is also responsible for contract negotiation, corporate structure, compliance, and general legal affairs. Prior to joining SMG, Kim served as an HR Relationship Manager at Sprint, where she led cross-functional HR teams in designing and delivering HR solutions. Kim holds a BSBA in Human Resources from Rockhurst University and a Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law.

First Job: I worked at Six Flags with 400 of my favorite friends—great way to spend the summer!

Jeremy Michael

Managing Director

Jeremy leads SMG’s UK branch, bringing his deep industry knowledge and contagious energy to multi-unit brands seeking to drive loyalty. Having been heavily involved with over 100 clients, Jeremy has focused on both customer satisfaction and mystery shopping programmes. Prior experience includes time at global research agency TNS, where he worked on projects for brands such as Harrods, Holiday Inn, and Pret a Manger. Jeremy graduated with an honours degree in French and Spanish and a master’s degree in tourism and hospitality management. Jeremy has served as an official judge at the UK Customer Experience Awards and has appeared as a thought leader on BBC1, ITV, CNBC, and BBC Radio Five Live.

First Job:
 I worked in Brittany, France as a holiday rep and campsite entertainer. At that point I had to choose between a career in customer service or as a full-time juggler.


Bill Fromm

Founder + Senior Consultant

A nationally known expert in strategic planning and customer service, Bill co-founded SMG and created the marketing firm Barkley Evergreen & Partners. Bill’s client roster represents retail, fast food, business-to-business, franchise operations, telecommunications products, and automotive aftermarket.

Bill was named Inc. Magazine’s Regional Entrepreneur of the Year in 1995. He is the author of two books on customer service: The Ten Commandments of Business and How To Break Them and The Real Heroes of Business and Not a CEO Among Them, co-authored with Len Schlesinger. Bill has appeared on both the Today Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show and was featured on a segment produced by CBS’ 48 Hours on customer service. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.

First Job: I worked in a flower shop, preparing flowers for the designers.

Product + Innovation

Bennett Gamel

VP, Product Management

Bennett drives the strategic vision and tactical execution for software product development and product lifecycle management at SMG. By leading development of our product roadmap, he is responsible for prioritizing initiatives based on strategic value and client need. Bennett brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in product management and development at multiple Fortune 500 firms in the financial services and telecommunications industries. In 2001, he led the team that created the business plan and product strategy to enable wireless internet access on mobile devices on the first national network. He is also an inventor with two U.S. patents. Bennett has a master’s of business administration from The College of William and Mary.  

First Job: When I was 14, I set up broadcasting equipment for remote radio shows and lined up interviews for the on-air talent at WSDR 1240-AM in Sterling, Illinois.

Charlie Moore

GM, Digital + Contact Center Solutions

Charlie leads SMG’s CX solutions, bringing expertise to measurement of online, mobile, app, and contact center experiences. Prior to joining SMG, he worked in the healthcare industry, leading client operations and account management organizations delivering population health services. Charlie also directed the customer experience measurement strategies, customer service operations, and account sales for a leading global retailer, during which time he was an SMG client. In this role, he led the global effort to improve associate interaction with customers across multiple channels, leading to significant year-over-year increases in satisfaction and customer loyalty. Charlie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois.

First Job: I worked for a big box retail discount chain, where I met the love of my life under a blue light special.

Jason Norris

GM, Social Solutions

As GM of Social Solutions, Jason leads SMG’s Social Monitoring + Publishing offering. Prior to joining SMG, he was the director of digital marketing for AMC Theatres. Having worked on teams for a variety of products and services, including Sprint, H&R Block, and DirecTV, Jason has a passion for the interactive marketing space and enjoys the dynamic, fast-paced challenges it presents. At SMG, he uses that passion to help SMG provide best-in-class social tools that allow brands to monitor and boost their digital presence by tracking relevant conversations, publishing ratings and reviews, and enhancing discoverability through search engine optimization. He holds both an undergraduate degree and an EMBA from Benedictine College in Atchison, KS

First Job: I worked as locker room attendant at a Denver health club and managed the student store at my high school.

John Lawniczak

Senior VP, Engineering

John leads engineering, architecture, and data services, overseeing the software development life cycle of SMG’s core products. With two decades of experience in software development roles, he specializes in scalable software architectures, largescale data-centric applications, and building high performing software development teams. Prior to joining SMG, John led business and engineering operations for Cerner’s Community Care Solutions, building a highly distributed enterprise mobile medical record and billing platform. He has also held engineering and technical leadership positions in Microsoft Corporation’s Windows Media Services and Speech product divisions. John completed his undergraduate studies in Physics and Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

First Job: I was a paperboy for The Detroit News. I can say it’s difficult, yet possible, to ride a bike in a foot of snow.

Joe Chen

VP, Data Science

As VP of Data Science, Joe oversees the lifecycle development of advanced analytics, machine-learning models and methodologies, and the strategic roadmap for data science at SMG. He brings 20 years of leadership experience in predictive modeling, advanced analytics, and quantitative analytics for multinational companies in the financial and energy industries. Joe holds a PhD in Operation Research from UCLA and a Master of Arts in Physics from City University of New York.

First Job: When living with my grandparents in a village at age 9, I was responsible for raising a goat, pig, rabbits, and geese.

Chris Atkinson

VP, Architecture

As Vice President of Architecture, Chris partners with product, data science, and engineering teams to provide technology architecture solutions for product roadmaps. He leads various teams responsible for technical architecture, DevOps functions, and big data systems operations. Chris thrives in the ever-changing CX space and aims to solve industry problems with technology and innovative products—setting us and our clients up for continued success. He’s held multiple engineering roles at SMG and has been responsible for the rollout of multiple game-changing projects over the years, including data anomaly and text analytics. Chris has a degree in Computer Information Systems from DeVry University.

First job: I had a two-month stint printing prepaid landline phone cards for a small business entrepreneur. I used the money I made there to purchase my first car—a blue Pontiac T-1000.

Michael Beesley

VP, Technology

As Vice President of Technology, Michael is responsible for the development of all mobile innovations, API integrations, and custom client requests. He leads the engineering team while working with other business functions to deliver the best technology for our clients. Michael started at SMG in 2007 as a project coordinator on the Client Insights team—providing skills he still uses today when interacting with clients and creating problem-solving solutions tailored to their needs. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Fort Hays State University and an MBA in Data Analytics from the University of Kansas.

First job: My first job was working on the family farm, where I spent countless hours driving the tractor. Only one radio station came through—a country music station—which explains my encyclopedia-like knowledge of 90s country.

Client Insights

Franci Erdmann, CCXP

VP, Client Insights

As Vice President of Client Insights, Franci leads a team spread across our Kansas City, London, and Tokyo offices. She’s primarily focused on building customer engagement for a wealth of global retail and restaurant clients through actionable insights that help them achieve their strategic goals. Franci’s passion for taking on any challenge makes her an invaluable resource for her clients looking to excel in an always-changing business environment. Franci holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Drury University and an MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

First Job: My first job was a carhop at Sonic. Yes, I was a rollerskating carhop—and no, I never fell but I did have a few close calls! It’s not as easy as it looks!

Jen Grimes, CCXP

VP, Client Insights

Jen leads a team of client services professionals that serves several large multi-unit clients in the retail and restaurant industries. She specializes in guiding her team toward understanding the client’s business needs, determining strategic goals of the project, and delivering quality insight. Prior to joining SMG in 2008, Jen spent five years at American Century Investments, where she held positions within the marketing division that included responsibility for retention of assets and product marketing. Jen has over 21 years of experience in database marketing, product marketing, client retention, research implementation and analysis, and program management. Jen earned a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Southern California.

First Job: I worked behind the deli counter at our local Hy-Vee supermarket. To this day, I have superb meat-slicing skills

Will Mariner

VP, Client Insights

As Vice President of Client Services, Will leads a team to deliver actionable insights that create business impact for several clients in the retail and restaurant industries. In addition to specializing in QSR analytics and insights, he is part of the internal hiring cadre and plays a critical role in maintaining and updating SMG’s industry-leading data integrity efforts. Prior to joining SMG, Will worked as a Management Trainee for Balfour Beatty—a UK construction company—helping to identify safer on-site working practices.

At SMG, he enjoys working with a strong team of ambitious people and interacting with clients to share how SMG solutions can help answer their most pressing business questions, and clients especially appreciate his forthright approach. Will holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Business from the University of Surrey, England, as well as an MBA from Southampton Solent University, England.

First Job: Cleaning dishes at Pizza Express—a current client!

Krystal Montague

VP, Strategic Operations

As Vice President of Strategic Operations, Krystal supports operational resource planning and portfolio optimization for our Client Insights department. She oversees the team responsible for onboarding clients, gives direction for the different product offerings, and provides strategic decision support for the organization as a whole.

Prior to joining SMG, Krystal spent 5 years at NPC International, the largest Pizza Hut franchise in the United States. She held positions within the marketing department that included responsibility for development of print and broadcast media plans, pricing and couponing strategies, and implementation of market-specific growth plans. Krystal earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism with an emphasis in strategic communications from the University of Kansas.

First Job: I was a waitress at the Chicken Inn, where I learned how to make a really good-looking iced cream cone—and ate iced cream for dinner a lot!

Jacqueline Mueller, CCXP

VP, Client Insights

Jacqui leads a talented group of SMG client services teams to deliver solutions to multi-unit consumer brands, enabling them to better serve their customers, accelerate customer loyalty, and drive financial performance. Having prior experience in both executive sales and strategic accounts at Market Force, her expertise spans from customer service and relationship management to business strategy and new product innovation. Jacqui enjoys collaborating closely with bright, hard-working people to identify and implement break-through service insights that lead to results. Clients consistently note their appreciation for her honest approach and her commitment to understanding their business and helping them successfully meet their vision. She has a Bachelor’s of Commerce from The John Molson School of Business at the Concordia University in Quebec.

First Job: I was a sandwich maker at Mr. Goodcents Subs and Pastas. I successfully preserved my fingers from any meat slicer mishaps.

Paul Tiedt

Senior VP, Research

Paul is responsible for leading a team that delivers actionable insights to SMG clients across multiple industries. With over 15 years of experience at SMG and a background in multivariate data analysis, Paul brings an intimate understanding of research best practices. Prior to joining SMG, he conducted research in the areas of employee and guest satisfaction for Tyson Foods and the University of Arkansas. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts in Management from the University of Northern Iowa and an MBA from Northwest Missouri State University. Paul currently serves on the Marketing and Legal Studies Advisory Board at the University of Central Missouri and the Chair of the Metrics and Evaluation team for KC Rising.

First Job: I worked in the kitchen at Burger King during breakfast and lunch. Each day, I'd make myself a Whopper for lunch...dang, they were good.

Josie Gaeckle, CCXP

VP, Client Insights

As Vice President of Client Insights, Josie leads a team that serves multi-unit retail and restaurant clients—helping define and implement strategic business goals that enhance the customer experience. Since joining SMG in 2006, Josie has developed programs and delivered insights for some of SMG’s largest clients, contributing to an impressive number of Top Partnership Insight awards. In fact, it’s what she enjoys most about her role: sharing findings with clients that lead to tangible improvements in the experience, sales, and profitability. In addition to her experience on SMG’s core customer experience offering, Josie also leads SMG’s Analysis & Insights Cadre—training our employees on insight best practices. Prior to joining SMG, Josie worked in marketing for Nissan North America. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business from La Salle University. 

First job: I’ve always loved retail. At 16, I worked in the mall folding clothes, cleaning fitting rooms, and attempting to master the overly complex POS system of a still-thriving apparel chain.

Kate Sizer

VP, Client Insights

As Vice President of Client Insights, Kate works with our clients to better understand and optimise their customer experiences. Prior to SMG, she spent 8 years in various director roles, including positions at Tesco and dunnhumby, where she focused primarily on grocery retailing. That experience lends itself well to her current position, where she helps her clients ask the right questions so they can get real, tangible value from SMG’s products and solutions. Her clients especially love her passionate, courageous, and collaborative approach to solving problems and delivering results. Kate holds a BA in Business Studies with 1st class honours from Coventry University.

First Job: Whilst studying for my A-levels, I was a lifeguard at a swimming pool. My main responsibilities were whistle-blowing and rescuing lost locker keys.

Customer Engagement

Zach Brown

VP, Customer Engagement

As Vice President of Customer Engagement, Zach spearheads the growth of SMG’s retail segment—implementing strategy and training best practices to lead a skilled and knowledgeable Sales team. Having started his SMG career in Client Insights, Zach draws from his direct experience of managing CX programs for multiple retail organizations. This first-hand perspective gives him unprecedented knowledge of the industry and the ability to deliver actionable insights that help clients achieve stronger customer loyalty. Zach is well-versed in all SMG products and enjoys the challenge of working with prospective clients, dreaming up new and inventive ways to best use these services. Prior to joining SMG, Zach was a financial consultant, specializing in employee benefits and company retirement programs. He graduated from Kansas State University with a business degree in marketing.

First job: Mowing lawns in my neighborhood. I promoted my business with custom-made flyers listing “Top 10 reasons to hire Zach to mow your lawn.” I was destined for a profession in Sales.

Katie Cofer

VP, Customer Engagement

Always challenging her team to create win-win CX solutions, Katie cultivates strategic relationships with prospective clients to help turn them into long-term partnerships that drive business results. With progressive roles across brand management, new business development, and strategic communications, Katie leverages her consumer insights expertise to create defined paths to success for some of the world’s largest restaurant brands. Clients particularly appreciate her passion for being a trusted partner, advocate, and extension of their teams throughout the onboarding process. In addition to serving on the marketing and advocacy board for The Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, Katie helps steer community engagement efforts at SMG through her involvement in our internal charity cadre. She holds a B.S. in Journalism with an emphasis in strategic communications, a B.A. in Spanish, and a M.S. in Journalism, Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of Kansas, where she graduated at the top of her class.

First Job: I was a lifeguard and swim lesson instructor at the age of 14—pool-side red cream sodas and cheese pizza every day!

Brian Dennis

Senior VP, Customer Engagement—Retail

With a lifelong passion for delivering the ultimate service performance, Brian joins SMG as the SVP of Retail Customer Engagement. In this role, he provides customer solutions and creates awareness of SMG’s technology and insights to some of the largest retailers in the world. Brian strives to position customers for measurable success and takes a team approach to ensure clients receive the best support possible. Prior to joining SMG, Brian served as Vice President of Customer Experience & Recognition for Kohl’s Department Stores—developing CX strategy and leading all things “customer”. He is a frequent keynote presenter on CEM insights and trend forecasting, and the author of two books on the topics.

First job: My first job was selling seeds door-to-door at the age of 6—my sales doubled the following year when I was finally allowed to cross the street.