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Columbia Business Monthly

Monthly Musings on Leadership Changes, Genealogical Records

May 01, 2024 09:32AM ● By David Dykes

Travelers Rest, South Carolina-based T&S Brass and Bronze Works, a leading global manufacturer of food service and commercial plumbing products, announced significant changes to its leadership team, effective March 1, 2024.

Claude Theisen has assumed the role of chairman and CEO, after 50 years with the organization. His dedication and visionary leadership over the years has helped guide the organization to achieve a solid presence on the world stage, making T&S a globally recognized commercial plumbing brand.

Eva-Marie Fox steps into the position of president and COO, bringing a wealth of experience to direct day-to-day operations. Theisen acknowledged, “I have full confidence in Eva-Marie’s ability to lead our operations with vision and integrity.”

With more than 30 years of dedicated service at T&S Brass, Fox has transitioned through various roles and responsibilities, including vice president of marketing. Actively engaged in the manufacturing industry, she is president-elect for the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM). 

Ken Gallagher, a seasoned veteran with T&S Brass since 2000, has expanded his role to become the global vice president of sales and marketing. Theisen acknowledged the milestone by saying, “Ken is undeniably a driving force in our industry, showcasing unwavering dedication and expertise in every endeavor. His promotion is well-deserved.”

Furthermore, Zachary Theisen, who has been with the company for more than 12 years, has assumed the role of vice president of plumbing sales, solidifying his dedication and proven track record leading the plumbing sales team to success.

Theisen emphasized, “With these changes and the rest of the dynamic leadership team in place, T&S Brass is poised to continue thriving and achieving new milestones of excellence. I’d like to congratulate these individuals on their new roles and offer them full support as we embark on this exciting chapter together.”

Company officials said the transition at T&S Brass marks a significant milestone in the company’s trajectory. With a blend of experience and fresh perspectives, the officials believe the new leadership team is poised to steer the company through its next phase of growth and innovation, further solidifying T&S Brass's position as a leader in the foodservice and commercial plumbing products industries.

T&S Brass and Bronze Works, Inc. has been a leader in providing innovative equipment solutions to the foodservice and plumbing industries for more than 75 years — since 1947 — when it developed the first pre-rinse unit. 

Today, with facilities on the east and west coasts of the U.S., in Shanghai, China, and in Europe, T&S leads the way in environmental initiatives from eco-friendly manufacturing processes to development of award-winning water- and energy-conserving products. T&S is among the first commercial plumbing manufacturers to be registered by UL to ISO 9001 Certification, the most stringent a corporation can receive. 

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza + Craft Bar announces new president, leadership team 

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza + Craft Bar announced details of strategic organizational changes and the appointment of a new senior leadership team as it positions itself for sustained growth and profitability under the leadership of newly appointed president, Scott Isaacs. 

Company officials said the current Brixx leadership team comprised of Brixx co-founders Jeff Van Dyke, Eric Horsley, and Barbara Morgan will continue to make valuable contributions in board member positions. 

Isaacs steps into the president’s role after serving as the company's senior vice president of operations. Having spent 25 years at Darden Restaurants and five years in an executive leadership role at Romacorp (parent company of Tony Roma’s), Isaacs brings a wealth of knowledge about the restaurant industry to the Brixx organization, the officials said. 

Rocky Tradd joins the Brixx senior leadership team as vice president of sales and development. Formerly the international regional vice president of operations of Twin Peaks Restaurants, Tradd will be entrusted with overseeing the rapid expansion of the Brixx Franchise Systems. 

Bill Edwards will assume the role of vice president of finance. Company officials said Edwards brings a diverse financial background and a passion for continuous improvement to drive timely decisions and effective results. 

Rounding out the newly established senior leadership team will be Richard Shinault as vice president of culinary and purchasing. With over 16 years of experience with the Brixx organization, Shinault will provide key insight to culinary, purchasing and vendor relationships, company officials said.

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza + Craft Bar is a casual dining restaurant owned by New South Pizza, Inc. and Brixx Franchise Systems. 

Founded in Charlotte, North Carolina, Brixx has expanded its footprint to North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

IAAM launches groundbreaking genealogy resources at Center for Family History 

Historically, African Americans have faced significant challenges with discovering their ancestral history due to lost or difficult-to-find genealogical records. 

Now, the Center for Family History (CFH) at the International African American Museum (IAAM) in Charleston, South Carolina, is helping to bridge that gap. Recently the CFH launched its new Genealogy Research Area and Reference Library. These resources give visitors access to millions of online genealogical records, including over 1,300 books, and offers them the benefit of real-time expertise from onsite CFH genealogy experts. 

“Conventional wisdom has been that African Americans cannot trace their ancestry in the U.S., prior to 1870,” said CFH Director Brian Sheffey. “With the addition of these resources to the Center for Family History, the museum is making significant strides to change that misperception.”  

The tech-forward CFH Research Area features iPad stations where visitors can search 32 popular genealogy and African American historical websites to begin or further the journey of uncovering their family history. Visitors are asked to bring a USB-C or a standard USB flash drive to save generated genealogy documents to help maintain the center’s paperless environment. 

Nearby, the CFH Reference Library is home to over 1,300 books covering a wide range of genealogy topics. Books reservations are available online at for registered library patrons only. To become a patron of the Research Library, visitors must email their interest to [email protected] along with their first and last name. 

The CFH offers free digital resources on family genealogy. Those seeking additional guidance on uncovering the history of their ancestry can register for a virtual one-on-one consultation. The cost is $79 for a 45-minute session. Consultations are offered Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Admission to the Center for Family History is included with timed ticketed reservations for the museum. Tickets are available online at, and more details on the CFH Research Area and Reference Library are available at

Bojangles crowns Ultimate Biscuit Makers 

Bojangles, best known for its 49-step, made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits, invited the top 12 out of 4,500 Certified Biscuit Makers to its Charlotte, North Carolina, headquarters for the annual head-to-head bake-off. Restaurant leaders nominated the best bakers from both franchise and company-owned restaurants to compete for the title of Biscuit Maker Champion.

On Thursday, April 4, 2024, the contestants matched up in the Bojangles test kitchen. Each was given the same area, ingredients and equipment to showcase their biscuit-making skills. The competition was timed – each contestant getting 10 minutes – and judged closely by trained officials on speed, efficiency and quality of the biscuits. 

The judges considered how closely the contestants followed the delicate process, as well as the resulting biscuits, in their review.

New this year, Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Bryce Young joined as a guest judge, where he gave away the inaugural “Bryce Young Spirit Award” to the contestant who showed the most passion for his or her craft.

The top three biscuit makers from both teams were crowned, with winners receiving $1,000 each, and all other finalists each winning $500. The contestants included:

Company Restaurant Contestants:
Maria Dimas – Conover, North Carolina (Winner: 2024 Champion)
Will Smith – Mint Hill, North Carolina (First Runner-Up)
Donovan Cummings – Hampstead, North Carolina (Second Runner-Up)
Brad Markov – London, Kentucky
Felix Irizarry – King, North Carolina
Carter Hoskinson – Sanford, Florida.

Franchise Restaurant Contestants:
Erica Perez – Randolph Restaurant Group / Salisbury, North Carolina (Winner: 2024 Champion)
Ricky McQuiller – Melanbo / Florence, South Carolina (First Runner-Up)
Edith Chavez-Nava – Huffbo / Yadkinville, North Carolina (Second Runner-Up)
Wesley Crosby – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Kayden Austin – Lithonia, Georgia
Mary Thompson – Forest, Virginia (Bryce Young Spirit Award Winner)
Tacara Smith – Flowood, Mississippi.

The more than 400 biscuits made during the challenge were donated to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gastonia, North Carolina, to help feed the city’s homeless neighbors.