We’re Glad to Meet You
Our team has decades of experience in the industries we are passionate about. Whether it’s Development, Recruitment, Furniture, or Logistics, we pride ourselves on unparalleled knowledge and total focus on the success of our clients. Meet our team and drop us a line — we’d love to help your business take that next leap forward.
Pat PhelanFounder, Chief Executive Officer
Pat is an entrepreneur, visionary and strategic thinker in the world of hospitality. He has raised more than $100M in private equity for various hospitality projects, supplied and manufactured more than $75M in hospitality furniture and recruited hundreds of talented people for some of the top food and beverage brands. Pat received his Bachelor's in Business from the University of Missouri- Columbia and his MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. Pat was named as one of the National Restaurant News 2018 top 75 Power CEO's in hospitality. Leap was named one of Kansas City's top 100 growing companies in 2018, 2019, and 2020 by Ingram's Magazine.
I am a golf hack who loves to play new courses whenever I travel, however I am still waiting for the elusive hole in one. I once exterminated Jimmy Buffet’s Key West home, shook the hand of President George H W Bush on the White House lawn, chatted with Vince Vaughn in a vestibule at Disneyland, and hung out with Dick Vitale at a First Watch in Florida.
Chris WunderPartner, Chief Revenue Officer
Chris joined Leap Companies in 2016, then Leap Hospitality, as an executive recruiter and since then has helped build the recruiting business and M&A division. He has a unique background spanning management experience within television broadcast operations, human resources and fitness/retail, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and an Associate’s Degree in Psychology and is currently working on a stealth startup venture that will be launching in 2021.
Crossfit is one of my passions. Although I do not have time to use most of my equipment I continue to buy more and more. It has become like a Pokemon obsession from when I was a child. "Got to catch them all" (Own every piece of equipment and start charging for people to use my home gym."
Omayra PattersonVP of Operations
Omayra is the newest Executive Recruiter for Leap Hospitality. She has 15 years’ experience in talent acquisition, office management, and social work. She is bilingual in Spanish and English. She has a huge passion for helping people and making long lasting connections. Omayra received an Associates Degree in Applied Science from Kansas City Kansas Community College, and she has been recognized as the top performer in each position held.
I love painting. It is one of the most relaxing things in the world to me and making something beautiful out of nothing.
Jeff SchroederExecutive Recruiting Consultant
Jeff is a long-time restaurant industry executive and has worked in literally every operational position from bus boy to Interim CEO. He has worked in many segments of the industry including Brewpubs, Coffee, Fast Casual and QSR. His experience covers both company and franchise business, and geographical footprints that include regional, national, and international. Jeff received a bachelor’s degree in Business Communications from Concordia University and a master’s degree in International Business from the University of Washington. His passion for people and his wealth of industry experience fit perfectly into the Leap team.
Playing trumpet in various community groups is my serious passion. The list runs from musical theater to ballet, to big band and church orchestras. While big band music tops the list, my most notable accomplishment was playing at Carnegie Hall.
Tom KenyonExecutive Recruiting Consultant
I'm a 15+ year veteran of recruiting and have worked with clients across industries. My expertise lies within Accounting & Finance, supporting top financial services firms, including three years as a Senior Internal Recruiter at Blackstone. I can quickly establish relationships with candidates as well as the hiring stakeholders. I am driven by the challenges the recruiting industry presents daily, especially when pairing suitable candidates with complex hiring requirements.
I acquired my skills at the University of Scranton, where I majored in Business Management. After graduating, I began my recruiting career by working within agencies. I have also spent time consulting and internal recruiting for financial services firms.
I come from a family of seven (fun fact - I am an identical twin, and we are both recruiters). I was raised in Syracuse, NY, where I was very involved in sports, mainly soccer, lacrosse, and track. I was a varsity athlete in high school and played lacrosse in college. I have been married eight years to my wife, Tara, whom I met in college. We have two amazing daughters, Maeve (5 yrs old) and Molly (2 yrs old). We recently made a big move, to live by the beach, and we are enjoying our new lifestyle. In my spare time, I enjoy photography and training for endurance sports; I am currently intending to run a half-marathon and one full marathon before the end of 2022. My goal for 2023 is to run an ultramarathon.
Jon BremerDirector FF&E National Accounts
Jon joined Leap in 2013 to help grow the FF&E division. Since then, Jon has managed the production, delivery, and installation of furniture and equipment for over 300 new restaurant openings for customers across the country. From the start of a new project to the final installation, Jon works directly with both the client and contractor to make sure timelines and expectations are met and exceeded. You know you are in good hands when Jon is on the job! Prior to joining Leap, Jon spent over 15 years in the medical equipment industry where he was a highly successful sales rep and won numerous sales awards and industry recognition during that time.
Some of my favorite past times include traveling to warm tropical places with my family and enjoying beautiful beach destinations. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking BBQ and spending quality time with friends and family practicing new cooking techniques on my custom smokers. I’m also involved with a competition BBQ team and have competed in the American Royal-World Series of BBQ competition for over 20+ years.
Mark MilazzoSr. Business Development Manager FF&E
Mark joined in 2020, as a Sr. Business Development Manager. He has a unique background spanning sales & management experience within retail & hospitality for 30+ years. Having worked for factories in the USA, Canada, Vietnam and Asia and I have managed successfully, sales rep organizations across the North American market.
Art has always been a passion of mine, in early 2020 I began to work diligently with “collage”, analog collage, cut paper/mixed media and have been curated by a few collage organizations worldwide in a short amount of time. I have also exhibited (virtually) within Argentina and I have even been asked to discuss collage with 7th & 8th graders from my son’s school. An honor to say the least but if you love something, it shows in your work.
Darrin LygrisseProject Manager
Darrin has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, which he has been working in for over 35 years. This includes numerous restaurants and private clubs, everything from fast food to fine dining. As the Director of Systems and Vice President of Business Operations for a local restaurant management company, Darrin has spent the bulk of his career in project management, systems, technology, and finances. He procured, implemented, and managed a variety of programs including point of sale, enterprise management, guest loyalty, audio visual, budgeting, financial analysis, and payroll.
Darrin has also helped open approximately 20 restaurants during his career, with a focus on spear-heading FF&E and design and layout. Darrin considers himself an expert in budgeting and financial analysis for the hospitality industry and is an excellent problem solver. He received a degree from Friends University in Business Administration with a minor in management and has been involved in the GKCRA and the Kansas Restaurant Association.
I enjoy a good walk every morning with good friends and happy canines. Playing golf is my passion, but unfortunately my skill does not equal my passion, but it’s all about who you play with anyway, right? My quest is to cook “perfect steak” for myself and my wife while listening to some good music while watching the sun set.
Michael WernerDirector of Hospitality & Operations
Michael and has been a leader of our design & hospitality division, since 2006. His approach & perspective coupled with his chameleon-like abilities have allowed him to navigate challenging & complex projects successfully for our clients over the years. He has brought his expertise & leadership to companies and concepts from inception to development through multi-unit growth.
Whether operating as an owner agent, supporting a professional design, or development team accessing or developing food & beverage concepts - Michael has a long standing track record of success. His expertise spans foodservice design & development, FF&E specification, on-premise management, business support, menu development, staffing, training, and more.
I was classically trained in culinary arts and love great wine. Moreover, entertaining with friends & family. For fun, I love to learn & prepare traditional food & drinks from other countries & cultures - As a result, I have more cookware, kitchen accoutrements than one person should be allowed and a well stocked bar to boot!
Andrea BrillembourgExecutive Assistant/Project Coordinator
Andrea is an Executive Assistant and Project Coordinator for Leap. In the past 8 years, she has worked for executives in the hospitality, legal, and financial sectors. Her military background has taken Andrea around the globe, where she has established relationships with people of various cultures and backgrounds. Fully fluent in Spanish and English, Andrea’s next goal is to learn Japanese.
Andrea earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University. Additionally, she graduated summa cum laude from Florida International University as a certified paralegal in 2015.
With her caring demeanor and positive attitude, Andrea is the definition of a team player – always willing to help others, for the well-being of the group as a whole. She relentlessly looks for ways to empower her team and overcome the clients’ expectations.
I am an avid traveler and a foodie. I love meeting people from all around the world. Getting to share life stories with folks from all walks of life feeds my soul. My husband and I traveled to Japan in 2018 and that experience changed our lives! My favorite story to this day, was when we tried to order a caramel sundae through a Japanese drive-through… and then… a deer ate it. Things I LOVE: my family, my Golden Retriever - Shiro, tennis, horseback riding, skiing, roller coasters, wine, Japanese anime, and World of Warcraft.
Mary AyallaResearch Specialist
Mary is the Recruiting Specialist for Leap Hospitality. She has spent the last 10 years providing excellent customer service to individuals. She has a medical background as a Certified Nurse Assistant, which allowed her to hone in on her passion – helping people by providing excellent customer/patient care. Before coming to Leap, Mary also worked at an elementary school, helping shape the minds of tomorrow. She is bilingual and knows sign language. Mary also did volunteer work with Heart of America. Currently, she is actively pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Applied Sciences for Physical Therapy.
Raising my son is the reason why I get up and smile every morning. He makes me want to be the best version of myself. I love my family and being able to spend quality time with them is priceless. I am also a huge Harry Potter fan and love listening to music.
We’d love to chat about how we can make your pad feel more like home for your customers.