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. Food and dining soon became a passion and Meriwether Godsey was created in response to their growing concern that the major food service contractors were more focused on “standardization” and less on hospitality and customization.  From its start, MG has retained its philosophy: integrity and value alongside wonderful food and service, regardless of the size of the client budget. MG continues to grow carefully and responsibly so each partnership has personalized attention, including from Rie.

Leslie Phillips

Chief Executive Officer

A licensed attorney, Leslie came to MG in 2005 after 14 years in private law practice and started as Director of Business Development. Her understanding of business relationships and tendency to view operations from the client’s perspective has helped MG deliver on core values and maintain long-term, trusting partnerships. Her collaborative style, communication skills and love for the business have made her a good partner to Rie in the overall vision of the company, as MG strives to constantly improve and foster healthy growth. Leslie’s strong interest in social and environmental responsibility provides the company with vision and leadership in these important areas as well.

Bob Lemon

Chief Financial Officer

A CPA with a BS from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Lynchburg College, Bob began his career with Deloitte before joining Fleet Laboratories, a multi-national consumer packaged goods and specialty pharma company headquartered in Lynchburg. He grew to become CFO and a member of Fleet’s executive team, with responsibilities for Fleet’s global financial and IT strategies, ultimately 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 people and quality-centered operations, growth, and employee-ownership culture.

Allison Godwin-Kelly

Chief Human Resources Officer

Allison was born and raised 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. Most recently, Allison provided HR oversight to the 1100-person Operations Division located in Lynchburg and the 330-person IT Organization co-located across Lynchburg and Richmond. 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.

Marcus Nucci

Chief Information & Technology Officer

Marcus brings to MG a great deal of experience, including at the CTO level with startups and established companies. He obtained a BS in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University, and specializes in learning and understanding current processes so he can create solutions to streamline and automate them. His curious mind and collaborative approach will allow us to leverage the most practical, efficient and effective IT solutions in our industry. A self-proclaimed foodie, Marcus will assure MG is as cutting edge in its systems as we are in our delivery of service.

Marta Ruggles

Senior District Manager

Summers waiting tables at Lake Winnipesauke hooked Marta on our industry.  Marta is also an alum of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (1982) where she was a server under Rie and has been with MG since 1988.  She has worked her way through the ranks, which is why the details make a difference to her.  Commitment to quality and appreciation for teamwork consistently gain Marta the respect of staff and colleagues.

Sara Thompson

Senior Field Operations Director

Having also started as a server under Rie (R-MWC, 1983), 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 training and coaching.  This combined with her varied experience and industry knowledge make her extremely effective with new hires and long-term veterans.

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.

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 in 1987, 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.

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 food. 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 Manager, 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 and mindful eating classes.

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.