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Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Speaker Bios

Sarah Richmond (G3)
President, Dawn Foods Foundation



SARAH RICHMOND is President of Dawn Foods Foundation, the Family Foundation of Dawn Food Products Inc.

Prior to becoming involved in the family business, Sarah worked in advertising and event/sport marketing for 3 years after college. In 1993, she began a career at Dawn, serving in a variety of sales and marketing positions and then finally as a product manager. In 2003, she left Dawn to attend the University of Michigan where she earned an MA in Education. She went on to teach English as a Second Language for just over 2 years at a local, inner city elementary school. In 2006 she became a stay at home mom and the following year, she returned to Dawn, where she established a corporate foundation, managed Dawn’s business travel program, assisted with sustainability and total waste management projects, and Chaired the Family Steering Committee.

Sarah is married to Brian, and together they have 4 children ages 15, 12, 7 and 3. She enjoys reading, photography, friends, travel and sleep in her free time.

Joe Astrachan
Executive Director, Cox Enterprise Business Center



JOSEPH H. ASTRACHAN, Ph.D. is Wachovia Eminent Scholar Chair of Family Business, Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship, and executive director of the Cox Family Enterprise Center at the Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb. In addition he is Distinguished Research Chair of Family Business at Loyola University Chicago’s Business School. 

Astrachan is editor of Family Business Review, a scholarly publication of the Family Firm Institute (FFI) of which he is a former board member. He is also editor of the Family Business Casebook Annual which publishes the best in teaching and educational family business cases. Astrachan received the Richard Beckhard award, which is the Family Firm Institute’s highest honor, the Family Business Network’s award for best-unpublished research paper of 2001 (along with co-authors Smyrnios from Australia and Klein from Germany), the International Family Business Program Association’s Lifetime Achievement in Research Award, and he received the McGregor Award from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science

In addition to his non-profit and community board service, he serves on the boards of six privately-owned family businesses and comes from a family business background.  His extended family has owned businesses ranging from container and tanker shipping to pharmaceuticals.  Astrachan earned his B.A., M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. degrees at Yale University. 


Rebecca Peterson (G4)
Sasser Family Holdings



REBECCA PETERSON (G4) is a Family Council Member and former Family Council Chair of Sasser Family Holdings.

Prior to becoming involved in the family business, Rebecca worked in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office: Abuse and Neglect Division until moving out west to Elgin. For 3 years, she as the Sasser Family Council’s Chair. She is still a member of the council and also participates in the Next Gen Committee, encouraging active and responsible ownership in Sasser’s upcoming 5th Generation.‌    

Rebecca attended American University, BA (then Georgetown University Law Center) graduating in 2000 with her JD.

Jack Veale
Nationally recognized Speaker and Author of "Creating Strategic Innovation"



JACK VEALE is the President of PTCFO, Professionalizing The Corporate and Family Organization. He is a nationally recognized management consultant for privately held, family-owned and ESOP businesses. PTCFO specializes in ownership succession and management development/strategy. Prior to establishing PTCFO in 1992, Jack was the former CFO of an Idaho family business that exported $100 million in annual sales. He is the author of the book “Creating Strategic Innovation.” In 2000 he earned a Fellowship with the Family Firm Institute. Jack is the founder of the following websites that focus on family business: FamilyBusinessMarketplace.com, DirectorsMarketplace.com, ESOPMarketplace.com, ESOPB2B.com and FamilyBusinessB@B.com 

Jack earned his undergraduate degree at Norwich University and his MBA from Boise State University. He currently resides in Connecticut with his wife of 30 plus years. He is the father of two grown children. 

Susan Kolavo (G4)
Director and Shareholder, Ed Miniat Inc.



SUSAN KOLAVO is a 4th generation Shareholder of Ed. Miniat Inc (EMI) where she serves on the Board of Directors as the liaison between the Miniat family and the Board.   Susan grew up surrounded by her grandfather, father, uncle and brothers owning and operating the more than 100 year old meat processing business.

Today, Susan is contributing to the family business by serving as a Director and the lead spokesperson for the 4th and 5th generations.  She has attended many seminars and classes on family business and is implementing a comprehensive family business education plan for the Miniat family to ensure that the business is perpetuated for future generations.

Most of the Miniat family members do not work in the business but want to be engaged in some way.  As a result, Susan and her cousin Renee Botelho are working as a team to build a Family Council and provide opportunities for those family members.  Susan and Renee are also leading the Shareholders in the creation of a Family Constitution.  The Constitution will provide the appropriate governance to allow the 25 members of the next generation to sustain the business.

Susan and her husband Jerry (an orthopedic surgeon) were born and raised in the Chicago area and have five children who have kept them very busy and fulfilled over their 32 years of marriage.  Their son Dan is working in the family business.  In her spare time Susan enjoys volunteer work, bridge, traveling and managing the countless needs of her large extended family.

Heidi Vermeer-Quist (G3)
Owndership Council Chair, Vermeer Corp.



DR. HEIDI VERMEER-QUIST is a 3rd Generation Shareholder of Vermeer Corp.  She has led the family over the past 3 years to develop a representative Ownership Council.  She currently serves as Ownership Council Chair.  Heidi also works part-time as a Clinical Psychologist and enjoys life with her amazing husband Chad and three wonderful kids.


Lauren Tracy (G3)
Business Development Manager, Dot Foods Inc.



LAUREN TRACY graduated from Illinois State University in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. She received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Colorado, Denver in 2007. While Lauren started working for the family business at the age of 14, her full-time career with Dot Foods didn’t begin until 2007. Since then she has held positions throughout the organization in both sales and business development. Lauren is one of 47 third generation family members and has held seats on both the Tracy Family Foundation and the Tracy Family Council.

Dot Foods Inc., is a national food distribution company that specializes in food and ingredient redistribution. The company operates ten locations across the country, including eight distribution centers that service food distributors in all channels, including foodservice, retail, vending and convenience store, in all 50 states. 


Quinlan School of Business · 820 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312.915.7057 · quinlan@luc.edu

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