About Us

Employee-Owned, Women Run

Our Beginnings

In the early 80’s, while working for a large contractor and catering part-time, Marie “Rie” Meriwether Godsey, and her husband Eddie became convinced that they could provide what the global operators could not: personal attention, real partnership, and fabulous food. They believed that hands-on ownership, which is often found in the finest restaurants, would make a difference in contract dining. In 1985, with this ideal in mind, they launched Meriwether Godsey with two locations, an independent school, and a small college.  Almost entirely by word of mouth, today we have grown to operate throughout the east coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts.

Our Beginnings

In the early 80’s, while working for a large contractor and catering part-time, Marie “Rie” Meriwether Godsey, and her husband Eddie became convinced that they could provide what the global operators could not: personal attention, real partnership, and fabulous food. They believed that hands-on ownership, which is often found in the finest restaurants, would make a difference in contract dining. In 1985, with this ideal in mind, they launched Meriwether Godsey with two locations, an independent school, and a small college.  Almost entirely by word of mouth, today we have grown to operate throughout the east coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts.

Meet Our Team

 

Marie 'Rie' Meriwether Godsey

Founder & Chief Branding Officer

Like many young people, Rie and her husband, Eddie, found their first jobs in food service – Eddie as a dishwasher and Rie as a server. Hospitality soon became much more than a job and they launched MG in response to their growing concern that the major food service contractors were more focused on “standardization” and less on personal attention and customization. Rie lives the MG philosophy: to create fabulous food and remarkable service regardless of the size of the client budget. Today, Rie's passion and talent comes full circle as she devotes her time to studying trends and style and adapting them to each of our operating environments.

 

Leslie Phillips

Chief Executive Officer

Leslie came to MG in 2005 as Director of Business Development after 14 years in private law practice, having earned a BA from Randolph-Macon College and JD from University of Richmond. Her understanding of business relationships and view of operations from a client’s perspective helps MG deliver on our promises and maintain long-term, trusting partnerships. Her collaborative style, communication skills and love for the business made her a good partner to Rie in the overall vision of the company, as MG strives to set the standard for excellence in what we do, how we treat people, and the opportunities we create for our employee-owners.

 

Allison Godwin-Kelly

Chief Human Resources Officer

Allison was born in Bermuda, and came to the U.S. to pursue her degree in business from Howard University. She later received her Masters in Human Resource Management from the University of Connecticut. Before joining MG, she had a long career with Genworth, serving in a variety of HR roles. Allison brings years of experience in recruiting, talent management, and employee engagement; as well as an in-depth understanding of the HR complexities companies face in today’s environment.

 

Marta Ruggles

Senior District Manager

Summers waiting tables at Lake Winnipesauke hooked Marta on food services. Marta has been with MG since 1988 and is also an alum of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (1982) where she was a server under Rie. She has worked her way through the ranks to be our senior field leader by demonstrating strong communication, coaching, and leadership skills. Her commitment to quality and appreciation for teamwork consistently gain Marta the respect of staff, colleagues, and clients.

 

Denise Simmons

Corporate Executive Chef

Denise has always known she wanted to be a chef. She graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 1987. Her career has included working in hotels, clubs, restaurants; and since coming to MG, she has been an Account Director and Executive Chef at our first restaurant, Meriwether’s Market. Her love for food and sustainability make her a wonderful leader for all things edible at MG.

 

Marcus Nucci

Chief Information & Technology Officer

Before joining MG, Marcus served in a variety of roles including at the CTO level with established national and international companies as well as startups. He obtained a BS in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University, and specializes in learning and understanding current processes so he can create solutions to simplify them. His curious mind and collaborative approach enable us to leverage the most practical, efficient and effective IT solutions for our industry. A self-proclaimed foodie, Marcus assures MG is as cutting edge in its systems as we are in our delivery of service.

Sara Thompson

Senior Field Operations Director

Having also started as a server under Rie (R-MWC, 1983) and growing with MG through the roles of Director and District Manager, Sara has always been known for her high ethical standards and her ability to do whatever it takes to assure operational performance. She adopts a systematic, “drumbeat” approach to onboarding, training, and coaching. This combined with her varied experience and industry knowledge make her extremely effective with new hires and long-term veterans.

 

Cate Smith

Corporate Chef

Cate began her food journey at a very early age in her grandparents’ garden and cattle pastures where she learned to respect where food starts. Her culinary path began in 1983 and has taken her from restaurants to hotels to private schools. Cate came to MG in 2001 and, like Denise, her career has included Account Director/Chef and Executive Chef at Meriwether’s Market Restaurant. Because of her passions for healthy eating and a healthy environment, Cate has expanded her work to include teaching culinary skills, nutrition and mindful eating classes.

Bob Lemon

Chief Financial Officer

Bob holds a BS from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Lynchburg College. His career started at Deloitte before joining Fleet Laboratories, a multi-national consumer goods and specialty pharma company headquartered in Lynchburg. Ultimately, he served as their CFO and was responsible for their global financial and IT strategies, culminating with overseeing a transformational exit to private equity ownership. With a collaborative and team-oriented management style, Bob brings a wealth of financial experience and practices to support MG’s operations, growth, and employee-ownership culture.

Long Nghiem

District Manager

Long’s passion for food and serving others started at an early age working in his family’s restaurants. A graduate of Virginia Tech’s Hospitality Program, Long was the chef operator of his own restaurants for many years before moving to contract dining. Long has leveraged his diverse experience to hone his culinary talents as well as his own unique leadership style. His commitment to excellence and tireless drive are a perfect fit for supporting our clients and our values.

 

Don Beck

Director of Systems & Technology

Don received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Wittenburg University (1978), but like several at MG, pursued as a career the jobs that helped put him through school. As a GM for Steak & Ale and then as the Food and Beverage Director for a full-service hotel, he developed a keen appreciation for a systematic approach to every aspect of our industry. Don came to Meriwether Godsey in 1994 and was initially in operations. Fiscal responsibility and systems savvy make him an outstanding resource internally and for our clients.

 

Allison Godwin-Kelly

Chief Human Resources Officer

Allison was born in Bermuda, and came to the U.S. to pursue her degree in business from Howard University. She later received her Masters in Human Resource Management from the University of Connecticut. Before joining MG, she had a long career with Genworth, serving in a variety of HR roles. Allison brings years of experience in recruiting, talent management, and employee engagement; as well as an in-depth understanding of the HR complexities companies face in today’s environment.

 

Marta Ruggles

Senior District Manager

Summers waiting tables at Lake Winnipesauke hooked Marta on food services. Marta has been with MG since 1988 and is also an alum of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (1982) where she was a server under Rie. She has worked her way through the ranks to be our senior field leader by demonstrating strong communication, coaching, and leadership skills. Her commitment to quality and appreciation for teamwork consistently gain Marta the respect of staff, colleagues, and clients.

 

Denise Simmons

Corporate Executive Chef

Denise has always known she wanted to be a chef. She graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 1987. Her career has included working in hotels, clubs, restaurants; and since coming to MG, she has been an Account Director and Executive Chef at our first restaurant, Meriwether’s Market. Her love for food and sustainability make her a wonderful leader for all things edible at MG.

 

Marcus Nucci

Chief Information & Technology Officer

Before joining MG, Marcus served in a variety of roles including at the CTO level with established national and international companies as well as startups. He obtained a BS in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University, and specializes in learning and understanding current processes so he can create solutions to simplify them. His curious mind and collaborative approach enable us to leverage the most practical, efficient and effective IT solutions for our industry. A self-proclaimed foodie, Marcus assures MG is as cutting edge in its systems as we are in our delivery of service.

Sara Thompson

Senior Field Operations Director

Having also started as a server under Rie (R-MWC, 1983) and growing with MG through the roles of Director and District Manager, Sara has always been known for her high ethical standards and her ability to do whatever it takes to assure operational performance. She adopts a systematic, “drumbeat” approach to onboarding, training, and coaching. This combined with her varied experience and industry knowledge make her extremely effective with new hires and long-term veterans.

 

Cate Smith

Corporate Chef

Cate began her food journey at a very early age in her grandparents’ garden and cattle pastures where she learned to respect where food starts. Her culinary path began in 1983 and has taken her from restaurants to hotels to private schools. Cate came to MG in 2001 and, like Denise, her career has included Account Director/Chef and Executive Chef at Meriwether’s Market Restaurant. Because of her passions for healthy eating and a healthy environment, Cate has expanded her work to include teaching culinary skills, nutrition and mindful eating classes.

Bob Lemon

Chief Financial Officer

Bob holds a BS from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Lynchburg College. His career started at Deloitte before joining Fleet Laboratories, a multi-national consumer goods and specialty pharma company headquartered in Lynchburg. Ultimately, he served as their CFO and was responsible for their global financial and IT strategies, culminating with overseeing a transformational exit to private equity ownership. With a collaborative and team-oriented management style, Bob brings a wealth of financial experience and practices to support MG’s operations, growth, and employee-ownership culture.

Long Nghiem

District Manager

Long’s passion for food and serving others started at an early age working in his family’s restaurants. A graduate of Virginia Tech’s Hospitality Program, Long was the chef operator of his own restaurants for many years before moving to contract dining. Long has leveraged his diverse experience to hone his culinary talents as well as his own unique leadership style. His commitment to excellence and tireless drive are a perfect fit for supporting our clients and our values.

 

Don Beck

Director of Systems & Technology

Don received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Wittenburg University (1978), but like several at MG, pursued as a career the jobs that helped put him through school. As a GM for Steak & Ale and then as the Food and Beverage Director for a full-service hotel, he developed a keen appreciation for a systematic approach to every aspect of our industry. Don came to Meriwether Godsey in 1994 and was initially in operations. Fiscal responsibility and systems savvy make him an outstanding resource internally and for our clients.

 

employee-owned, women run

What makes Meriwether Godsey different is our commitment and capacity to create unique, customized dining experiences for each of our client communities; to set higher standards for ourselves and to meet them; and to provide more support to our teams to deliver on these promises.

Experience it once and you will understand! We are a family of talented, and dedicated “owners” — managers, chefs, and service staff — operating from North Carolina to Massachusetts.

employee-owned, women run

What makes Meriwether Godsey different is our commitment and capacity to create unique, customized dining experiences for each of our client communities; to set higher standards for ourselves and to meet them; and to provide more support to our teams to deliver on these promises.

Experience it once and you will understand! We are a family of talented, and dedicated “owners” — managers, chefs, and service staff — operating from North Carolina to Massachusetts.

Our Culture

We help our people achieve their highest personal and professional goals through steady support, coaching, and development. We set high expectations, provide ongoing training and mentorship, and cultivate an atmosphere in which we learn, grow and improve, constantly.

Tenure and Loyalty:  words that go hand in hand, but are often forgotten in business today.  Because of our people-focused approach, we experience very low staff turnover.  This is unusual, particularly in the foodservice industry.

Our teams work to eliminate the “us and them” often found in contract relationships.  We become an integral part of our client communities.  Through food, our teams learn and respond to the unique preferences of our guests from students, to faculty and administration, to frequent visitors.  We work with each partner to be sure our service is a bright spot in everyone’s day.

Our Culture

We help our people achieve their highest personal and professional goals through steady support, coaching, and development. We set high expectations, provide ongoing training and mentorship, and cultivate an atmosphere in which we learn, grow and improve, constantly.

Tenure and Loyalty:  words that go hand in hand, but are often forgotten in business today.  Because of our people-focused approach, we experience very low staff turnover.  This is unusual, particularly in the foodservice industry.

Our teams work to eliminate the “us and them” often found in contract relationships.  We become an integral part of our client communities.  Through food, our teams learn and respond to the unique preferences of our guests from students, to faculty and administration, to frequent visitors.  We work with each partner to be sure our service is a bright spot in everyone’s day.

Contact Us

4944 Old Boonsboro Rd.
Lynchburg,VA 24503
434.384.3663

Want to talk Business?
partner@merig.com

Human Resources
hr@merig.com

Testimonials

Testimonials

The food is just incredible! I really mean it...I hope you know that I am not just saying this. It's so colorful, fresh, and delicious...so special every day!"

Faculty Member 

Just a note to say thank you for all of the delicious food you and your staff serve each day. I never knew kale could taste so good!

Administrator 

Outstanding food, outstanding service, outstanding people. I brag about MG to my peers at other schools, and even to my friends and family!

Administrator 

Thank you so much for all the gluten-free options this year! All of your staff have been so helpful. They make a point to come up to me at meals and let me know what options you have for that meal. Salads are great, but sometimes a warm meal is just what you need!

Faculty Member 

Thanks for all of the good work you and your team did to ensure that last night’s welcome gathering for new faculty went off without a hitch. I’m so grateful for Team MG working so hard to make sure things are done the right way.

Head of School 

It’s an understatement to say we were surprised by the excellent quality of the food. We could not recall having a better tuna dish, even at the four-star resturants we frequent in Raleigh. Duke Integrative is a special place.

Guest 

Many times I find a favorite thing out of the many items served during lunch, and although the featured spinach and fruit salad was visually stunning; the SHOUT OUT winner of the day hands down was the very delicious unassuming Vegetarian Pinto Beans!!! The onions were glistening and the peppers served as a complimentary color to the two different shades of beans...I have one regret and that is I didn’t think to take a picture!

Administrator 

Thank you for making pimento cheese today! It not only is divine, but also hit the spot. I now regret wasting 62.5 years of life on this planet in which I did not eat this heavenly mix. As I explore different recipes in my home kitchen I will try my best to live up to the standard demonstrated by what I had today.

Faculty Member 

Everything was wonderful...as usual! The food was scrumptious...and the weather was gorgeous!

Conference Client 

I would not change a thing! Your staff was not only professional, but warm and caring. They truly set the tone for a memorable night. The food was delicious...our family and friends left with hearts and bellies full!

Catering Client 

I just wanted to thank you so much for all the delicious food at Duke. Your food was such a happy and positive experience and it made the days there so much more enjoyable to eat healthy, but tasty, great food.

Client 

Thanks for the delicious soup and the new harvest salad - and thanks for removing half the calories out of the Farm Basket brownie...haha.

Resident 

THANK YOU for your help today with the open house! Our visiting families raved about the personalized environment. We had a student tell us that Guilford went from his 3rd to 1st choice!

Administrator 

Thank you for all of your hard work on the meals and breaks for the Alumnae Board. The food was outstanding; everyone raved about each meal. Favorites included the grits on Saturday morning and the butternut squash soup on Sunday. YUM!!!

Administrator 

The amazing characteristic is that, on a day by day basis, you give us nutritious, varied, interesting, delicious food...not just something special for company. Please know how much you are appreciated and loved by this community.

Conference Administrator