2019 40 Under 40: An impressive class

(page 7 of 12)

Erin Vranas

Parthenon Gyros
Age: 31

Parthenon Gyros is an iconic Greek restaurant on Madison’s State Street. In 2017, Erin Vranas and her husband Dimitri bought the business from his parents with bold dreams — to expand and eventually franchise the business — ensuring that it will be around for decades more.

By decreasing the restaurant’s open hours and adding delivery and a catering division, sales and starting wages have increased, Vranas reports. Staff doubled and turnover decreased from what she describes as “a sad but industry standard 83 percent down to 20 percent.”

The restaurant added health insurance for employees working 30 hours or more per week and offered paid time off to those who stay at least a year.

An accomplished skater, Vranas launched her first business at the age of 14 as a private figure-skating coach. “I was a proud little girl who was determined to work for herself and be successful,” she relates. She taught for another 14 years.

Leah H. Ziemba

Partner/Industry Group Co-Chair, Agribusiness, Food & Beverage (AgFaB)
Michael Best and Friedrich LLP
Age: 39

Leah Ziemba is a lawyer, farmer, and perfectly suited for her role representing and making connections in the AgFaB industry.

Being raised on a third-generation dairy farm prepared her for a leadership role.

Food safety and traceability is a primary focus for many clients, she says, and as a known practitioner, Ziemba makes presentations around the country addressing the legal requirements related to food traceability and how technological advances will impact food safety issues.

She’s proud to serve on the board of the National Dairy Shrine organization and be an advisor to the board of the Dairy Girl Network.

Ziemba stands out in her field as a National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest Winner, comparing it to the Westminster Dog Show for dairy cows.

“My cattle judging skills give me the credentials to say that I know a good dairy cow when I see it.”

Jennifer Herritz

SVA Consulting LLC
Age: 39

Jennifer Herritz once doled out burgers and cones at Michael’s Frozen Custard in Verona, and now she doles out sound business advice in SVA’s business intelligence practice — affectionately referred to as “all things data,” she reports.

Herritz recently earned a certificate in leadership from Harvard Business School, a nine-month course that required both distance and on-site learning, and in her data-driven world, nothing pleases her more than to see a process or template she created being used successfully by another individual or team.

She is most proud of how she’s “managed the journey” at SVA, rising through the ranks over the past 17 years while deciding to remain close to home to care for family members when they needed her most.

Always game for learning something new, Herritz says she has a “hobby of finding hobbies,” but her secret talent is naming all the U.S. presidents in order.

Just ask!


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