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. Specht lives in the Milwaukee area with her husband J.J. and two sons.

  • jason westhoff


    Jason Westhoff joined Cousins Subs in July 2012 as Chief Financial Officer responsible for accounting and finance with a heavy involvement in defining and developing technology strategies into executable and measurable results. Westhoff is focused on Cousins’ growth strategy through organic and inorganic channels. As a former CFO for a large multi-unit franchisee of Applebee’s and Pizza Hut, he brings more than 10 years of experience in franchising as a franchisor and franchisee to Cousins Subs. Westhoff also has 25+ years of financial experience from his time working in financial services, home improvement services, manufacturing, recruiting, and software development. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in management from Luther College, an MBA from Northern Illinois University, and he’s completed an executive M&A program with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is a recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal's 2015 CFO of the Year award and currently serves on the Cousins Subs Make It Better Foundation and COA Youth & Family Centers boards. As an active husband and father of two, he continually seeks opportunities to be involved in the Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin community in which he lives.

  • Joe ferguson


    Joe Ferguson has been with Cousins Subs for 14 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.

  • justin mccoy


    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.



    J.J. Palmert joined Cousins Subs development department in January 2013 as franchise sales manager. In this role, his core focus was on evaluating and renewing existing franchise agreements and working to exit those franchises that did not meet brand standards. J.J. has successfully renewed or transferred more than 50 franchise agreements throughout his tenure in which he secured each brand partner’s commitment to reinvest through the adoption of Cousins’ remodeling program. These efforts have led to higher Average Unit Volumes throughout the system.

    Palmert is currently engaged in the expansion of Cousins Subs into new Midwest markets through multi-unit franchise development. He works with franchise candidates to see if Cousins is the right investment opportunity and to identify the ideal territory for development. Additionally, he works with existing franchisees to assist them in developing new locations, acquiring existing locations or selling their locations.


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