Franchise Leadership Team

MEET OUR TEAM

These hands-on, talented team members are truly experts in their fields. They strategically steer the direction of the franchise while working closely with both bakery owners and the 30-member Dillon crew. Whether in bakeries, at industry gatherings, or researching ways to better our business, they're the real thing: great leaders and great people too.

Mike Ferretti, Chairman and CEO
Eric Keshin, President and CMO
Janet Tatarka, Director of Bakery Cafe Training
Mark Peterson, Director of Live Training and Corporate Baking
Christine Koch, Chief Financial Officer
Kayla Conner, Director of Bakery Cafe Performance
Ben Green, Director of Franchise Sales

Mike Ferretti

Chairman & CEO

I joined Great Harvest Bread Co in 2001. That was before Carbs became evil. Before Atkins. Or South Beach. Or Paleo. Or low carb. Or gluten free. Or, the latest, Keto. In other words we were a mainstream company doing mainstream things. During my tenure at Great Harvest I have had the honor of working with a great group of people to keep doing that. The only difference is that what is mainstream now was not mainstream then. We have had to morph into a cafe from a strict bread store. The public demanded that as we see less demand and more competition for bread but the opposite in the cafe space of our business.

If you've had a chance to check out some of the other pages on this site, you're probably thinking the same thing I was when I joined Great Harvest. What a cool company. What great franchise system. What cool people. What a philosophy. Wow! Such corporate responsibility and stewardship are rare today. We are able to work in an environment of respect, love and laughter. As long as we do that, the rest pretty much falls into place. I am very proud of how we live the last line of our Mission Statement while simultaneously funding our generosity with a sustainable, successful business model. That combination is all too rare. And we are very proud to have largely maintained that culture as we took our journey from bread store to cafe.

How did I get here? I spent quite a few years as a franchisee of a different system to learn how to operate a small business firsthand. I also spent some time consulting for that same franchise company, later acting as their Chief Financial Officer. This combination of franchisee and franchisor experience has allowed me to bring a unique —and hopefully fair— perspective to Great Harvest.

This is a photo of Mike Ferretti

Eric Keshin

President & Chief Marketing Officer

Before coming to Great Harvest, I spent 30 years working at and running McCann Erickson, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. At McCann, I spent years launching the AT&T brand (back when it was known as the Bell System), taking Gateway to #1 in consumer PCs, rolling out Lowe’s and Kohl’s nationally, and working on Coca-Cola, Wendy’s, Burger King, Applebee’s and TGI Fridays among many other brands. I have worked as the CMO for HP Personal Systems (Computers and Printing), competing against Apple, and splitting off . . . then not splitting off. And I worked at a startup. So what am I doing here?

Eric Keshin photo

Well, I have seen many brands and many marketing opportunities in my time. I have been a part of many huge successes, as well as real opportunities squandered for bad reasons out of my control. One thing I do know is that when you do things right, when you are honest and authentic, and you are actually better at what you do than anyone else, then you have every opportunity for success.

That is what I see in Great Harvest. A genuine brand that makes: "Bread. The way it ought to be." (That's why I wrote that line!) The way it was done back in biblical times. It’s not some mythical brand with “bread” slapped in its name just to create the impression that it does things the right way. We do it the right way at every step from start to finish, all the way down to taste testing the wheat we hand select from our farmers in the Golden Triangle in Montana.

Janet Tatarka

Director of Bakery Cafe Training
Experience

I joined Great Harvest in 1991 and I’m still here because it’s the best job on the planet! I get to help people realize their dream of opening their own small business. I grew up in a family where both parents had their own business. I learned that owning your own business is the most rewarding job ever, but that it takes a load of hard work and focus to be successful. It’s great to know that what we do here through the training process and ongoing support makes the road easier for our new franchisees. I still attend most of the openings as the customer service trainer. I love being in bakeries and seeing the excitement on someone’s face the first time they taste hot bread off the breadboard.

Competencies

Production (give me the idea and I can make it happen). Project Management. Training. Supply Chain. Wheat Testing. New Product Development. Meeting Planning. Foodie.

Education

B.S. degree in Food Systems Management from Montana State University. Minor in Business Management.

In My Free Time

Family: My husband and kids are a gift I appreciate and enjoy every day. Cooking and Baking: I love it! It's the way I relax. The Great British Baking Show has inspired me to branch out and expand my skill set. French Macarons, choux pastry, creme patissiere - having fun trying! Gardening: I’ve taken Master Gardener classes to figure out how to grow things in our high altitude, cool climate. A challenge for sure.. Walking: It's my favorite form of exercise (rumor has it I can walk faster than some runners!) Reading: I'll read any cooking magazine I can get my hands on. I have a Kindle too, which is great for travel, but my first choice is a real book in my hands.

Janet Tatarka photo

Mark Peterson

Director of Corporate Baking & Live Training

Experience

All of my work experience has been with Great Harvest, starting in June of 1991. In my 28 plus years, I’ve held numerous positions including candidate selection, opening trainer, field representative, company store manager, supervisor of field representatives and Director of the Bakery Support Department. I joke that I’ve held about every position in the company other than legal and accounting work. I’m currently the Director of Corporate Baking & Live Training.

Mark Peterson photo
Competencies

A natural people person. Excellent team builder and team player. I love to teach and coach, and believe you must do both side-by-side to have a happy staff. Strong at prioritizing and juggling many balls, I get things done and stay balanced at the same time.

Education

B.S. degree in Biology from Concordia College. Minor in Psychology.

In My Free Time

I love to spend time with family and friends. I like to camp, raft the local rivers, bike, fish, hike and do a bit of traveling as time allows.

My Favorite Aspects of Great Harvest

I really love the people and the bread. It's also allowed me to experience our great country, from coast to coast and make great friends along the way.

Christine Koch

Chief Financial Officer
Experience

I began my career at a public accounting firm in Bozeman, Montana and earned my CPA license within a few months of joining the firm. During my public accounting career, I gained extensive experience in payroll tax, income tax, and financial statement preparation and analysis. After eight years at the firm, I craved work-life-balance and decided to leave public accounting. I was hired by Fire Suppression Systems (FSS) as their Controller. Fire Suppression Systems is an established Montana business that is owned by a private equity firm. While at FSS, I assisted in redirecting focus and building efficiencies to achieve record years of growth. Based on my performance, I was promoted to Chief Financial Officer, while also co-managing the operations. After ten years at FSS, I joined Great Harvest in August 2020 as the Chief Financial Officer.

Education

Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Accounting from Montana State University-Bozeman. Minor in English Writing from Montana State University-Bozeman.

In My Free Time

I enjoy spending time with my two children, Keira and Kade, and dog Gus. I thrive on physical activity, whether it is hiking, snowshoeing or working out at a gym; I love to test my physical limits. Besides being active, I enjoy gardening and reading.  

Favorite Aspects of Great Harvest

I am impressed with Great Harvest’s Leadership Team and am eager to collaborate with a group of dedicated, experienced, professionals. As a fourth generation Montanan, I am also excited to have joined an organization that utilizes Montana made products.

Christine-55

Kayla Conner

Director of Bakery cafe Performance

Experience

I have been with Great Harvest for 21years working closely with bakery and bakery cafe owners as a field rep, a post tracker and now as Director of Bakery Cafe Performance. My professional background is varied from the ad agency business to newspaper publishing, a combination that gives me an appreciation for balancing the service and creative side of the business with achieving financial goals.

Kayla Conner photo
Education

Northeast Louisiana University with a degree in communications and a minor in Journalism.

Competencies

Encouraging others to see their potential and not dwell on mistakes made. Everyone has strengths to play on and can find success.

Favorite Aspects of Great Harvest

I love that our bakery cafe owners want to make the most phenomenal products on earth while being generous to their communities and employees. In order to continue doing that, the business has to be financially healthy -- which is why I like to emphasize that ‘Profit” is not a dirty word!

Favorite Quote:

“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” ~ Bette Davis as Margo Channing in “All About Eve.”

Ben Green

Director of Franchise Sales

Experience

I began my professional career in marketing for Aaron’s Inc. working with franchisees on their targeted marketing programs. It did not take me long to realize I loved working with franchisees! I spent the next eight years in franchise development and helped our team award over 800 franchises in that time. In 2013, I took over the franchise development for Buddy’s Home Furnishings and helped grow that system from just over 100 stores to over 300 in five years. Then in August of 2018 I decided to join the Great Harvest team.

Education

B.S. degree in Marketing from Old Dominion University

Qualifications

15+ years in franchising, awarded over 500 franchises

In My Free Time

My favorite thing to do is spend time with my wife and two children. We enjoy the outdoors, living in Tampa, FL allows us to spend a lot of time on the water paddle boarding, fishing and going to the beach. I also love to travel and explore new places and do new things.

Favorite Quotes

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” ~ Henry Ford

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” ~ John Wooden

Ben Green photo