Founder and CEO
Mark Dawejko is the Founder and Managing Partner of Penn Capital Partners and the founder and CEO of Tomlinson Brands. Since its founding in 2009, Penn Capital, a boutique private equity firm, has focused on four principle activities: angel investing/venture capital, fund management, private real estate transactions, and advisory services. In 2016, Penn Capital entered the Restaurant Industry via predecessor firms to Tomlinson Brands.
Prior to founding Penn Capital Partners and Tomlinson Brands, Mark spent 25 years, investing over $7 billion in real estate throughout the United States and Japan. His transactions were structured in the form of equity, preferred equity, mezzanine, high yield debt, straight balance sheet debt and securitized debt. Dawejko worked in the Investment Banking Division of Wachovia and at GE Capital. He was the head of multiple divisions as Managing Director, President, and Senior V.P. Before joining GE, he held senior positions for real estate companies in the Philadelphia region, and worked as a CPA for KPMG.
Mark has held numerous board seats in both private and public companies in both the U.S.A and Japan. He served on the board of the publicly traded Jack Frost and Big Boulder Corporation. He also served on the board of the privately held Kennedy Wilson Residential, LLC and Kennedy Wilson International companies. Mark led the board of directors for multiple Wachovia corporations doing business in Japan. Mark also served on the boards of many joint venture entities, including GE Capital’s large development and acquisition joint ventures with, Storage USA.
In his free time, Mark spends time with his family and pursuing his passions for hunting, skiing, fishing, and boating. He is an active member of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where he spent 6 years serving on the Board of Trustees most recently as its President. At BMPC, Mark also served on the Pension Committee, Hunger Committee, and the Budget Committee. He also worked closely with the Church’s substantial foundation. Mark headed Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church’s stewardship efforts for 2014 and 2015. His philanthropic activity supports charities that help the weakest in our communities, especially the hungry.
Chief Operating Officer
Stephen McRae’s love of food was solidified in childhood where he grew up as an “army brat”. He moved around often and was frequently exposed to different cultures and cuisines. At sixteen, Stephen got his first job as a dishwasher in a kitchen. He worked hard and moved up the ranks over the years before finding himself in his first Sous Chef role. He continued this job through college where he majored in Political Science and realized that he liked cooking just as much as politics. In 2010, both worlds collided when Clyde’s Restaurant Group offered him a job in our Nation’s capital. Stephen worked for Clyde’s for four years in this time he really honed his managerial skills before accepting a job for Iron Chef Jose’ Garces at his Argentinian Steakhouse, Rural Society. This stop is where the technical side and the creative side became something special, he developed his food voice in South American and Spanish cuisine under Chef Garces’s teachings. He then accepted the position of Executive Chef over the Rustico properties for Neighborhood Restaurant Group. He served in this capacity for Five years before a chance email would lead him to a conversation and an opportunity from Tomlinson Brands that he couldn’t pass up!
When not working, Stephen enjoys spending time with his family, watching football, playing and listening to music, and consuming what his wife thinks is an impractical amount written news from all over the political spectrum and late-night xbox sessions.
Email contact: email@example.com
Director of Culinary Operations and Corporate Executive Chef
Peter Smith is responsible for all things food at Tomlinson Brands. He is also responsible for talent recruitment/development and is a member of the new restaurant opening team.
The son of an Army Lieutenant Colonel and a chef by natural talent, Peter was born with an instinct to take experiences and turn them into food creations with flavor. At a young age he adapted quickly to his family’s moving around the world with the military. Texas, Germany and Hawaii were among his stops before moving to Virginia in 1979. Fortunate to have traveled the world while so young, it would be the food he experienced then that would inspire his career.
From Kulolo and Poke to Schweinehaxe and Kassler, the Smith family incorporated all of their culinary experiences into evening dinners. One country brought to them not by travels but by heritage was Italy. Traditional Sunday afternoon feasts were prepared by Smith’s Italian grandfather, the maestro, with young Peter, the prodigy, excitedly watching each course come together.
At fourteen, Smith “officially” began his culinary career at the Country Club of Fairfax, in Virginia. Three years later, Smith moved to Pino’s, a top local Italian restaurant. Here he participated in menu planning, purchasing, preparation, catering and supervision of the kitchen staff. After Pino’s, Smith worked at the Grand in Shirlington, Virginia while attending culinary school at L’Academy de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Maryland under classically trained Chef Francois Dionot. Following graduation, Smith joined Occidental restaurant in Washington, DC where he met Chef Jeffrey Buben. Buben saw promise in Smith and the two formed a strong working relationship.
When Buben left the Occidental in 1993 to open Vidalia restaurant, he took Peter with him. After 5 years Smith was promoted by Buben to Executive Chef. Vidalia received both local and national praise under Smith’s direction in the kitchen including a James Beard Award in 1999.
Leaving the kitchen for a vacation in 2001 didn’t mean leaving the toque at home. The turn of the millennium took Chef Smith to Tibet and Nepal, where he toured the country, experiencing its flavors and culture. Inspired, Smith tested his culinary skills by using local ingredients and flavors to make dinners for hikers at the very special location 17000 ft high in the sky, the Mt. Everest Base Camp.
In 2004, after 11 successful years at Vidalia, Smith left the famed Southern inspired restaurant to work on two projects, the birth of his daughter Lucy and the creation of a new restaurant that was inspired by his life’s experiences with a modern edge. In 2006 Smith opened PS 7’s at 777 Eye Street, Northwest in Washington, DC.
Prior to joining Tomlinson Brands, Peter was the Culinary Director and Executive Chef for the restaurants owned by Neighborhood Restaurant Group in Washington, DC.
Executive Chef, Philadelphia
Matthew Seckinger’s introduction to cooking came when he was just a boy. His father taught him early on about cooking with passion and love. At 18 he started his first job in a country club kitchen. Matthew went to culinary school at Atlantic Cape Culinary Academy graduating with honors. After graduation he started working for Iron Chef Jose Garces at Amada in Atlantic City. This is where Matthew’s love of experimentation and creation was established.
Garces promoted and transferred Seckinger, to Rural Society in Washington, DC. During his time in DC Matthew instituted an inhouse dry-aging program and was a party to one of the most extensive menu changes in Garces Groups history.
Chef Matthew returned to Philadelphia to run the kitchen at the famous Ace Golf Club. Before joining Tomlinson Brands, Seckinger was Executive Sous Chef at Star’s Jones Restaurant. At Jones Restaurant, Seckinger perfected his skills as a Chef of Southern Cuisine.
When not working, Matthew enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, watching football and continuing to invest time, to the dismay of his wife, into his “ridiculous” brisket smoking habit in his pursuit of the perfect bar-b-que brisket.
Chef de Cuisine, Greenbelt/College Park
Chamaigne Stone was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey where she’s been kicking ass since ’91. Her passion for cooking started as a young child, when she wasoften found in the kitchen tinkering around with her Nana instead of playing with her peers.
As a sophomore in high school, Chamaigne joined the culinary club and quickly became the star of the team. She was also the captain and held a position throughout high school on the women’s FIRST robotics competition team where they won a multitude of trophies and awards. Chamaigne is intrigued by the potential of robotics in the restaurant industry.
At the age of 16, Chamaigne got her first real kitchen job. A year later she joined Egans, a popular pub where she flourished in her first fast-paced environment. Chamaigne enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where she continued to perfect her skills. While in culinary school she worked at several on-campus restaurants and was a member of the Black Culinarian Association.
In 2012 Chamaigne moved to Washington DC where she thrived in several different high-end restaurants and four-diamond hotels. She quickly worked through the ranks and held positions including banquet chef, butcher, lead line cook, and quality control coordinator. Several years after making DC her home, Iron Chef Jose Garces recruited Chef Stone as a pastrychef for his Argentinean steakhouse, Rural Society.
Over the years, Chamaigne has not only become a talented and well-rounded chef, but also an amazing pastry chef. She excels in recipe development, menu creation, and maximizing workspace efficiency. In her free time, she enjoys learning new skills, painting, and traveling with her family. In 2021 she joined Tomlinson Brands and works alongside a team with a passion just as grand as hers.
Will Fleming serves as Acting CFO of Tomlinson Brands in addition to serving as President of Global Shared Services. Mr. Fleming founded GSS as a shared services center in 2003 as a division for finance and accounting services for Lockheed Martin’s telecom division. Mr. Fleming led a GSS acquisition into the restaurant industry in 2014 and has grown GSS to be a nationwide, leading restaurant financial services provider. He started his career in investment banking specializing in M&A and capital raising in the telecommunications industry.
Aley started as a Miss Mabel’s customer who just couldn’t stay away. While searching for a summer job, she applied to Mabel’s and was determined to fill any position available. After applying and finally tracking the CEO/Founder down, Aley was hired as a delivery driver but quickly showed potential for more. Her role evolved into being a core member of the Tomlinson Brands team as Operations Manager. She has made major impact at the company in menu development, our best in class packaging development, and developing our social media platforms. Her tastes in food are so refined our chefs seek her opinion on all recipes in development.
Aley is finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Technology from the University of Maryland. With a passion for sustainability, Aley enjoys all things outdoors. In her free time, you can find her hiking, watching scary movies, or spending time around her hometown of Annapolis, Maryland.
Email contact: Aley@tomlinsonbrands.com
Manager of Marketing
Erin grew up as the only daughter of a single mother. Their weekends were always spent together watching The Food Network and looking through cookbooks, after which, they’d inevitably end up in the kitchen where they would experiment with different foods from around the world and listen to classic rock; the cooking utensils pulling double duty as microphones. At fifteen, Erin got her first job at a chain pizza restaurant where she worked as a server. This is where she first discovered that one of her real talents in life was the ability to connect with people and provide excellent customer service.
These skills continued to benefit her throughout college, helping her to pay her tuition for school while working as a server and a bartender while pursuing her degree in English Literature. After graduating, McRae decided to continue her education, and obtained a second degree in Marketing and Public Relations; all while continuing her kitchen utensil karaoke weekends with her mother, still enhanced by amazing food and their favorite bands, but made all the more entertaining with the addition of wine as she was now of drinking age. After graduating for the second time, McRae kept herself busy working with jobs in the hospitality industry and providing freelance editing and marketing services; and most importantly, raising her children. Her role with Tomlinson Brands is one that allows her to be creative and pursue her passions in life: customer service, writing, marketing, and food.
Erin still spends as much time as she can experimenting (and singing) in the kitchen… only now she gets to do it with her ultimate loves in life, her children and her husband. She’s now following in her mother’s footsteps and teaching her own children a love of food and cooking and really great music. She fully intends to also teach them a love of wine in a few years when they’re of age.
Advisory Board Member
Harris Eckstut’s career spans nearly five decades of success in the restaurant business – his own and others from Philadelphia PA to Bay Village, Long Beach Island, NJ and operations up and down the East Coast. For 25 years, Harris owned and operated the landmark MontSerrat Restaurant on Philadelphia’s famed South Street. He was also instrumental in the “main street” development of South Street and was a leader in the area’s historic preservation, being the founding chair of one of the first small business improvement districts (BID) in the country.
As a long-time restaurant veteran, Harris is knowledgeable in all aspects of the food service business: concept, menu, operations, management, marketing, budgeting, bookkeeping, financing, real estate, leasing, maintenance, and the many, many other hats a restaurant business owner must wear. Harris has used his expertise and experience to help scores of independently owned and franchised restaurants. Some of those most recently award winning clients are: Cicala’s at The Divine Lorraine and Vernick’s Food and Drink in Philadelphia.
Harris has been instrumental in guiding Tomlinson Brands in all facets of its operations.
Alexander Tomlinson Dawejko
Advisory Board Member – Real Estate and Finance
Alexander joined Penn Capital Partners in 2017, helping to found the predecessor firms to Tomlinson Brands. He brings international commercial real estate and energy investment experience. Alexander is a Principal of both Penn Capital Partners and Tomlinson Brands. As an Advisory Board member, he provides invaluable insight on real estate, finance, and investment strategy. His global and analytical mindset is grounded in his belief that successful investments require a deep understanding of the people and communities in which you invest.
Alexander is a Senior Analyst at Brixmor Property group, where he specializes in retail real estate. Prior to his current position, Alexander worked in acquisitions for a non-publicly traded multi-family REIT. Alexander gained his international experience as an economist and investment analyst at the largest private oil company in the Middle East, located in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. He earned a Bachelors in Economics at Washington & Lee University (’17) and attended The Haverford School (’13).