About Us

 

Team

  • George Fogel

    Chief Executive Officer

    George has over 25 years of education services, operational, and development experience throughout his career. Most recently, George held various senior management positions at Bennett Day School, a private pre-kindergarten to 12 school, Rasmussen College, a private equity backed for-profit college, and Deltak edu, a leader in online higher education partnership and technology solutions. He holds an MBA from Booth School of Business at University of Chicago and a BA in Economics from DePauw University.

    George lives in downtown Chicago with his daughter and enjoy spending time in northern Michigan.  He has been a competitive swimmer since age six.

  • David Prekop

    Chief Development Officer

    David has almost 15 years of lower middle market private equity and investment banking experience. He was most recently an investment professional at a lower middle market private equity investment firm that focused on education, consumer and healthcare companies. Prior to working in private equity, David was part of the investment banking team at Duff & Phelps. He holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago and a BBA degree with distinction in Finance, Investment & Banking from the University of Wisconsin.

    As a father of three young children, David is also a big consumer of early childhood education.

  • Gena Sayej

    Chief Operating Officer

    Gena brings nearly 20 years of experience in early childhood education.  Beginning her journey as a teacher, Gena has continued to take on new positions, challenges, and opportunities with leading early childhood education companies.  In her most recent role, Gena was responsible for new center growth, where she led first-year operations of acquisitions and de novos for 30-50 centers per year. She has a true passion for providing a high-quality solution for today’s working families and ensuring children receive the best early learning experiences possible.

    She holds a BS in Child Development from Madonna University.  Gena lives outside of Detroit with her husband and two sons. 

  • Emmett Riordan

    Chief Financial Officer

    Emmett has over 15 years of finance and accounting experience, primarily at growth-stage, investor-backed businesses. Most recently, he was Director of Finance and Accounting at Q-Centrix, a private equity owned Healthcare IT firm. Emmett’s other roles include leading the finance function for Sagence, a venture capital-backed data consulting/analytics firm. Prior to working in industry, he was an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC. Emmett is a CPA with a Finance degree and recently earned an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Taylor Blaney

    Chief Strategy Officer

    Taylor has nearly a decade of experience working closely with high-growth business and private equity-backed platform companies.  Prior to joining Premier, Taylor was with KPMG, one of the largest global professional services firms, where he performed due diligence related to mergers and acquisitions transactions and he gained a deep understanding of financial and operational performance across a range of industries.  Taylor holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a Master of Science in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame, and a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Miami.  Taylor and his wife live in downtown Chicago.

  • Emily Frankiewicz

    Regional Director

    With over eight years of experience in early childhood education, Emily brings a terrific background of classroom and leadership experience to Premier.  Prior to joining Premier, Emily was the center director for a large provider of early childhood education. She also has served as a preschool teacher at an early childhood education center. Emily received her BS degree in elementary education from St. Xavier University, where she graduated with honors. Her passion is early education; seeing the growth and the “aha” moments of the children make the job a treasure. She finds delight mentoring teaching teams to provide high-quality education.

  • Kimberly Hannell Hopkins

    Regional Director

    Kim brings a unique perspective and background to Premier as she grew up in the world of educating and caring for young children. For more than 40 years, her family built and operated early childhood education centers in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Kim started working in the field during college and has over 25 years of experience as a center and regional director. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with honors in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Early Childhood Education from The University of Iowa.

  • Krista Hurlbut

    Regional Director

    Krista brings more than 25 years of operations and business management experience, primarily in early childhood education.  Most recently, she held the role of Director of Business and Finance for an independent child care company, helping them grow into a thriving multi-location group of Five Star Early Childhood Education Centers.  Prior to that, she worked as both the Director of Operations and Marketing for a contract service company.  Krista holds a Bachelor of Science in Institutional and Hospitality Management from Penn State University.

  • Dr. Lisa Keiper

    Regional Director / Director of Education

    During the past twenty years, Lisa has dedicated her professional life to the field of early childhood education. Lisa has held various roles, including teacher, program director, university early childhood program coordinator, adjunct professor, and director of education.  She strives to make a positive impact on the development and learning of our children.  Lisa earned her Ph.D. in Early Childhood from Oakland University and has focused her research on enhancing early literacy experiences in young children, infant attachment, challenging behaviors in young children, and lastly, promoting teacher self-efficacy.  She lives outside of Detroit with her husband and two children.

  • Lorna Harvey

    Director of Human Resources

    Lorna brings over 20 years of diverse human resources management experience to the team. She has led the Human Resources function in small to mid-size organizations various industries. Most recently, she held a leadership role that included responsibilities for human resources integration of multiple acquisitions. With a strong belief in the power of positive thinking, Lorna operates with this philosophy in mind to enhance the overall employee experience within the organization. She received her MBA from University of Wisconsin and hold a SHRM-SCP certification. 

    Lorna lives in the Chicagoland area and enjoys running with her two dogs, biking, golf, travel, home remodeling projects, cooking, and the outdoors.

  • Rachel Binford

    Director of Business Development

    Rachel has over 10 years of program management, strategic partnerships and development experience throughout her career. Most recently, she held the role of Director of Business Development for an early childhood education organization focused on improving quality in childcare centers across the country. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Educational Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.

  • Elliot Jarvis

    Director of Business Development

    Elliot has almost five years of lower middle market M&A experience. He was most recently an VP of Business Development at a lower middle market buy-side M&A advisory firm. Prior to the buy-side firm, Elliot was part of the business development team at McGuireWoods LLP, where he focused on the private equity and family office sectors. Elliot holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Central Michigan University.

  • Seth Pound

    Director of Business Development

    Seth has over 10 years of Corporate and Business Development experience leading teams in various industries to deliver on key growth goals. He has worked with publicly-traded corporations, family-owned companies, and owners/operators of early childhood education businesses. Seth holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School and a BS with honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

  • Tom Allor

    Director of Acquisitions

    Tom has over seven years of legal and investment experience. Most recently, he was a Director at a private equity firm focused on making litigation finance investments both domestically and internationally. Tom has managed investment processes and navigated complex legal and regulatory matters around the globe.  He holds a JD from the Chicago-Kent College of Law and a BA in Political Science and History from the University of Michigan.

    Tom lives in Chicago with his wife and two dogs and enjoys cooking for friends and family. 

  • Cameron Smith

    Advisor

    Cameron is the founder and CEO of Bennett Day School, a private pre-kindergarten – 12 school. The school was created to fill the unmet need for progressive education in the vibrant West Loop of Chicago and most importantly for his children. Previously he was a vice president at CHS Capital and has been a board member of the New York Kids Club, Namaste Charter School, and Royall & Company. He holds a B.S. degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania as well as J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Northwestern University.

  • Paul Simcox

    Advisor

    Paul is the Founder and CEO of NorthHaven Capital and serves as a Director of Villarboit Realty Partners. He previously co-founded Whiterock REIT and grew assets under management from $0 to $600 million, resulting in the company’s public listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange and eventual sale to Dundee REIT for over $1 billion. Paul also worked at JPMorgan in the real estate private equity group and at Credit Suisse (DLJ) investment banking in New York. He holds an undergraduate business degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.