Aaron Kennedy is the founder of Noodles & Company, a high growth quick casual restaurant with over 350 locations around the U.S. He launched the business in 1995 and handed over the reigns of Chairman/CEO in 2008. He has just completed a two-year assignment as the Chief Marketing Officer for the State of Colorado. His mission was to help Colorado become more competitive in the global marketplace for Talent, Trade and Tourism. Prior to launching Noodles & Company, Kennedy worked as Marketing Director in New York for the design firm BrandImage, directing brand design projects for Coca-Cola, Swiss Army Products, and the PGA Tour. In the early 90’s, he worked at Pepsi Cola Company as brand manager of Brand Pepsi and while at Kraft/General Foods in the late 80’s he helped develop and launch Lunchables, now a $1 billion brand. In addition, he is a member of the Inc 500 Hall of Fame for making the Inc 500 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies five years in a row, and has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. Mr. Kennedy earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and English at Augustana College (’85) and his MBA from University of Wisconsin-Madison (’89).