Christine A. Specht
President and Chief Executive Officer
"Investing in Cousins Subs gives you access to a group of people who believe in something better. My team works passionately to help ensure your business is a success. While your success ultimately depends on you, the Corporate Support Center, comprised of experienced professionals, works with you every step of the way. When you sign on with Cousins Subs you're not just a number; you are part of the Cousins family and it is our goal to have a mutually beneficial partnership all while growing the brand."
Christine Specht grew up with Cousins Subs—the sub sandwich chain her dad, Bill Specht, founded with his cousin two years before she was born. Prior to returning to the family business in 2001 as its human resources manager, Specht worked as a staff member of the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau in Madison, Wis. In 2008, she became the president and chief operating officer of Cousins Subs and in 2015 assumed the role of chief executive officer following her father's retirement. Specht earned a bachelor's degree in criminology and law studies from Marquette University. While she worked towards her master's degree in public administration from American University in Washington, D.C. she spent time in the human resources departments of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Academy of Public Administration in Washington. Specht serves on a number of boards in Wisconsin that focus on healthcare, senior care and higher education. She also serves as the president on the Cousins Subs Make It Better Foundation board.
Chief Financial Officer
"As the former CFO of a large franchise, I understand the issues that impact franchisees at a local level. It is with that knowledge that every Cousins Subs initiative I am involved in will be scrutinized to make sense for the franchisee and the franchisor. Cousins is a great brand with a superior product and a strong history. We are in the process of redefining the standards of everything else about the brand to meet or exceed these standards. With all of that inline, I believe there is no reason why Cousins can be not just the best sub chain in Wisconsin, but in any new market it chooses!"
Jason Westhoff joined Cousins Subs in July 2012 as chief financial officer, responsible for accounting and finance with a heavy involvement in technology decisions and defining and developing strategies into executable and measurable results. He brings more than 10 years of strategic restaurant industry experience and 20 years of financial industry experience to Cousins Subs. Westhoff holds a Bachelor of Arts in management from Luther College and a MBA from Northern Illinois University. He is a recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal's 2015 CFO of the Year award. Westhoff currently serves on the Cousins Subs Make It Better Foundation board, Wisconsin Hospitality Group board and plans to accept a position with a municipal board in the next year to work more closely with the community in which he lives.
Vice President of Development
"Cousins Subs has been reborn through the design of its new store concept, and we are ready to lead the growth of the company. Cousins has taken the best features from its 45-plus years of experience to create a better experience. We are ready to launch our brand with the right franchisees. Now is the time to join an aggressive company that has launched itself into the fast casual segment with a superior product and attention to quality."
Joe Ferguson has been with Cousins Subs for 12 years and has more than 20 years of experience in the field of business. In June 2011, he assumed the role of vice president of development and has since spent his time reinventing the brand. Over the past five years, the company has focused on raising average unit volumes at all of its locations, closed stores that no longer follow brand standards, and developed a store remodeling program to reimage all locations. In his current role, he introduces potential franchisees to Cousins Subs and works with them through all phases of franchising including site acquisition, lease negotiations, in-store design, and construction. His leadership and experience has helped entrepreneurs in realizing their dream of owning their own business. Ferguson holds a degree in real estate and finance from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, and he currently serves on the Cousins Subs Make It Better Foundation board.
Vice President of Marketing
"For more than 45 years, Cousins Subs has been an iconic Milwaukee-based brand with superior deli-fresh cold subs and made to order grilled subs. Our team has worked tirelessly to capitalize on the key attributes that have made us a successful regional brand while creating a refreshed fast casual concept. The new contemporary store design, refreshed menu, operations model, technology infrastructure and comprehensive integrated marketing approach are the cornerstones of our future growth plans. It's our commitment to find partners who share this passion and vision to make us a successful national concept for 45 more years."
Justin McCoy joined Cousins Subs in January 2006 as an entry-level marketing specialist and held several marketing positions before being named vice president in May 2013. He is responsible for managing advertising agency relationships, developing national promotion calendars, and creating system-wide strategic initiatives related to advertising, marketing and public relations. McCoy brings nearly 10 years of restaurant industry experience to Cousins Subs as well as more than four years in public and media relations with the Milwaukee Bucks and several years in the finance industry. McCoy also serves on the Cousins Make It Better Foundation and Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation Board of Directors. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Cardinal Stritch University.
Vice President of Operations
For 20 years, I played an active role in my family's Cousins Subs franchise system. Growing up in the business and ultimately operating my family's company, I have acquired intimate knowledge of what it means to be a Cousins Subs Franchisee. In my role as vice president of operations, I apply my experience as a Franchise operator to continuously improve training and operations procedures to align with the progression of our brand. I believe that our operational foundations (100% Guest Focused; Quality, Service and Cleanliness) and our desire to serve others is the key to your success.
Jason Valentine joined Cousins Subs in 1994 and has held various positions at his family-owned Cousins Subs franchise in Waukesha County. Starting as a team member, he worked his way to vice president of operations for their restaurants. Valentine was recently promoted in January 2015 to vice president of operations at Cousins Corporate Support Center and is responsible for overseeing operations for the entire system—including corporate and franchise operations, training, menu development and culture building. Valentine is a recipient of the 2010 Milwaukee Business Journal's 40 under 40 award. In addition, Valentine currently serves on the Cousins Subs Make It Better Foundation board, is an Upward Sports coach for youth football and basketball, and is actively involved in his local church.