Brett Itterman

Chief Executive Officer

Brett Itterman serves as the Chief Executive Office of Pentex Restaurant Group. A graduate of North Dakota State University and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, he is responsible for the company’s management, operations and development. He is a member of Taco John’s Presidential Council and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Taco John’s Franchisees.

Prior to joining Pentex Restaurant Group he worked for Huron Consulting Group, United Health Group and MBA Building Supplies. Brett lives in Fargo with his wife, Katie, and their children; he enjoys skiing, hunting and spending time at the lake.

Damien Varela

Damien Varela

Chief Financial Officer

Damien Varela serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Pentex Restaurant Group. He is responsible for leading all financial aspects of the organization and driving profitable growth. Damien is a graduate of the University of Florida and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Prior to Pentex Restaurant Group, Damien spent 15 years with McDonald’s Corporation in a variety of financial and leadership roles. Damien lives in Fargo, ND and in his free time enjoys traveling, spending time with dogs and watching sports. 


Benjamin Anderson

Vice President Operations

Benjamin Anderson serves as the Vice President of Operations of Pentex Restaurant Group. He is responsible for leading the company’s operations and training, to deliver on the company values and create a people first environment.

Prior to joining Pentex Restaurant Group he worked for Caribou Coffee and Jamba Juice for over 20 years, in a variety of operations leadership roles throughout the country. Benjamin lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Jenna, and his four children and when he’s not at work you can often find him coaching a youth basketball team or driving to a violin or dance lesson for the kids.


Michael Tharp

Construction Operations Manager

Mike has worked in the construction industry since he was 16 years old, working for his uncles building hog confinements. Since then, he has done everything from finishing concrete to helping run $150 million multiyear projects. Mike was fortunate to play college football for the University of Wisconsin – Platteville prior to returning to the Quad Cities to start his construction management career.

When Mike is not working, he is spending time working on home improvement projects, gardening, hunting, and fishing. He has always had a passion for cooking and construction, so Pentex provides a great opportunity to combine the two and learn about the fast-paced restaurant industry. Mike really enjoys meeting and learning from new people within the industry from CEO’s to the men and women working in the trades and it is always exciting to see everyone work together to accomplish the goal of completing each individual project.

Mike currently resides in Milan Illinois with his finance Emilie, stepson Grayson and pets Margot and Clark.


Marcy Barrett

District Manager

Marcy Barrett is District Manager for Pentex’s MinnDak Taco John’s. She joined Pentex Restaurant Group in 1979; her experience began as team member and has included positions as General Manager and Quality and Service Lead. In 2015, Marcy was honored with Taco John’s Manager of the Year Award.

Marcy is a graduate of Northern State University. In her free time, she enjoys spending Sundays with her granddaughters.

Nate Borchard

Nate Borchard

District Manager

Nate Borchard is District Manager for Pentex’s Montana Taco John’s. Nate re-joined the Pentex team in June 2021. Nate has over 20 years in the restaurant industry, 14+ years with Taco John’s alone. In addition to Taco John’s, Nate has worked other QSR brands including, McDonald’s, Arby’s and most recently Culver’s. He has a resume of building sales, strong teams, and creating positive community engagement.

Nate has achieved multiple awards ranging from manager of the year, restaurant of the year, and multiple large sales volumes awards. Nate is very passionate, loyal, and dedicated. He has 2 beautiful children named Zaylie and Christian. Traveling has always been his passion and he has traveled all over the world. Nate credits Pentex for giving him a career, a growth path, and the tools he needs to be successful in all aspects of life. 

Jason Locken

Jason Locken

District Manager

Jason Locken is the District Manager for Pentex’s HuHot Mongolian Grills. Jason started with Pentex in 2013. Jason has over 24 years of restaurant industry experience working with Ground Round, Green Mill and HuHot. He also holds degrees in both Accounting and Business.  Jason was the GM at our Bismarck, ND HuHot and was promoted to District Manager February 2020. 

The fast pace of the restaurant industry, working with people and helping them grow and become successful in life is what Jason likes best about his career.  In his spare time, Jason enjoys coaching youth football and serves as the President of Youth Football in Mandan, ND.  In addition, he is likes working out and spending time outdoors, fishing and biking and traveling for fun and his kids sporting activities.

Jason, his wife, Patty, children Dylan, Cierra, Paige, and Turner and their two dogs Jaxson and Jack reside in Mandan, ND.   


Irene Zinniel

District Manager

Irene Zinniel is District Manager for Pentex’s South Dakota Taco John’s. Irene joined the Pentex team in March 2021. Irene brings 25+ years of experience to the team, she started as a QSR assistant manager and then progressed into multi-unit management in the hospitality/restaurant/people industry overseeing up to 72 locations at a time. 

Irene currently lives in Sioux Falls SD. When she is not working, she is spending time with her 3 kids and 2 grandchildren. Irene also enjoys gardening, camping, and has a strong love for traveling.

Irene holds a degree from South Central College for Emergency Medicine where she spent 15 years as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).


Erick Civallero

District Manager

After holding many positions in the food service industry, including 6 years at Taco John’s International, Erick began his career with Pentex RG. In the last 6 years, Erick has held the positions of GM, Training Manager and was promoted into the role of District Manager in 2022. Erick enjoys all aspects of leading and building a team.

In his spare time, Erick likes to take road trips and enjoy good food from destination restaurants.