Our Team

Triumph’s Executive Leadership Team

John M. Larson, Executive Chairman and Founder

Jack has over 40 years of experience in private and for-profit higher education and is the founder of Career Education Corporation (NASDAQ: CECO), one of the world’s largest higher education organizations. Jack served as the company’s President, Chief Executive Officer, and a member and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Under his leadership, Career Education acquired renowned brands, including Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America, and pioneered its unique virtual campus which was adopted in other highly successful, fully online platforms. Jack is an original investor and current member of the Board of Directors for 2U (NASDAQ: TWOU), which provides online curriculum development for leading US universities. He also serves as a board member for The Family Institute at Northwestern University. Jack was an Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” and was selected as one of the first inductees to the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business “Haas Hall of Fame”.  He currently sponsors scholarships at the Hass School of Business to support entrepreneurship, as well as Berkeley’s School of Information in support of big data development.

Tracy Lorenz, CPA, President, CEO and Investor

Tracy has more than 20 years of leadership experience in higher education, including both online and campus-based operations with oversight from a variety of state and federal regulatory bodies. Prior to joining Escoffier, Tracy served as the President of Western International University, a regionally-accredited institution owned by Apollo Education Group (NASDAQ: APOL). She served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, prior to her role as President. Tracy has held a variety of key executive roles at Career Education Corporation (NASDAQ: CECO) where she led operations, strategy and development, as well as investor relations and corporate communications. Prior to her tenure in higher education, she held positions at McDonald’s International and KPMG in finance and accounting. Tracy passed the Illinois CPA exam and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and  Master’s of Strategic Management Degree from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. She is a seven-time Ironman Triathlete.

Rich Ahrens, Vice President of Talent & Culture

Rich Ahrens is Triumph Education’s Vice President of Talent and Culture. His strategic leadership skills cultivate our recruitment activities and support the development and retention of our best talent. With the assistance of his Human Resources department, he creates a positive work environment and helps staff live the company’s core values every day. With almost 34 years in the human resources field, Rich brings his passion to Triumph from Pearson Online Learning Services, where he was responsible for Human Resources Business Partnership and Talent Acquisition. Prior to Pearson, Rich’s diverse depth of experience was developed through various companies and industries including Verizon Wireless and Honeywell. Rich has a BS in Management/Personnel Management from Elmhurst College and an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources from DePaul University. He remains current in his field with continuing education in human resources through the certification process.

Brian Duffy, Vice President of Operations

As vice president of operations, Brian is critical to the enhancement of processes both internally and student facing. His 20+ years of experience in launching integrated technical and business solutions is key to strengthening our student experience and collaborating with our customer service teams. Brian oversees Escoffier’s strategic operations; focusing on creating operational scale designed to improve student outcomes and enhance organizational agility. Prior to Escoffier, Brian held leadership positions at Career Education Corporation (CEC, now Perdoceo Education Corporation), Colorado Technical University and American Continental University. Brian received a bachelor of science in business administration from Illinois State University and a master of business degree from Northern Illinois University.

Tom Ehrhardt, Chief Marketing Officer

In Tom’s role as Chief Marketing Officer, he is responsible for growing Escoffier’s enrollment and awareness within the culinary and hospitality industries.  He also collaborates with the leadership team to identify programmatic growth opportunities and innovative ways to deliver best in class student experiences.  Tom has over 20 years of multi-industry experience in marketing and product development within higher education, automotive, financial services and publishing.  Most recently he served as the Chief Marketing Officer for National Louis University, Vice President of Marketing at Laureate International Universities and Group Director of Brand and Strategy Development for Career Education Corporation’s Le Cordon Bleu schools.  Tom holds two bachelor’s degrees from Valparaiso University as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Loyola University Chicago.

Steve Georgis, Chief Technology Officer

In his role, Steve is responsible for developing Triumph’s overall technology strategy and implementing initiatives across all functional areas within our institutions.  Prior to joining Triumph, Steve served as the Vice President of Technology for Pearson Online Learning Services where he led a team of over 45 multi-disciplinary professionals in administering all technology initiatives and projects across regional locations throughout the US and Canada.  Prior to his time at Pearson, he served as the Director of Enterprise Applications for Career Education Corporation where he led a team that partnered with and delivered technology services to core business functions that included sales, marketing, academics and student services.  Prior to entering the education arena, Steve worked as a Senior Technology Consultant for Software Architects in Westchester, Illinois and as an Application Developer for the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago.  He graduated with high honors from DePaul University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Information Systems.

Jeffrey Larson, Chief Admissions Officer

In Jeff’s current role as Chief Admissions Officer, he is responsible for managing the admissions functions.  Prior to his current role, he also oversaw marketing, where he was instrumental in leading the growth and development of Escoffier’s culinary and pastry programs, both for online as well as campus-based programs.  Prior to his time at Triumph, Jeff held admissions positions at American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University.  Jeff is a graduate of the University of Kansas where he received his B.S. in Economics.

Miles Mitchell, Chief Academic Officer

In his role as Chief Academic Officer, Miles is responsible for curriculum development and general administration and management of the academic programs for Escoffier’s online and campus-based programs.  He is also responsible for the development and management of high-touch student support to ensure student success.  Miles possesses a strong background in the culinary field and academic administration which includes curriculum development, operations, student retention, policy and procedure administration, student outcomes, and faculty professional development.  He most recently served in multiple roles at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami, Florida including Director of Education, Campus Director and most recently, President.  He also served multiple roles at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.  Miles holds a Master’s of Education degree from American Intercontinental University Online, an Associate of Occupational Studies degree in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Auburn University.

Heidi Phipps, VP of Finance and Accounting

Heidi Phipps serves as the Vice President of Finance and Accounting for Triumph Higher Education Group. She is responsible for financial oversight of Escoffier’s online as well as campus-based operations.  Prior to joining Triumph, Phipps served as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance for Western International University, a part of the Apollo Education Group. She was also Treasurer of the university and sat on the institution’s Board of Trustees.  Previously, Heidi was held financial and accounting management positions at Career Education Corporation for approximately twelve years, most recently Senior Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis.  Phipps holds her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Valparaiso University. Additionally, she earned an MBA with a focus in finance from Western International University.

Patricia Souza, VP of Career Services

In her current role, Patricia leads the Career Services department to promote the success of students and alumni in their career goals. Among her main objectives are marketing to college programs, industry professionals and employers as well as overseeing an extensive employer relations program including recruiting, externship development and business outreach. Before her time with Triumph Higher Education, she was a Campus Director of Career Services for Le Cordon Bleu and a Senior Career Consultant for BPI Group. She honorably served in the United States Air Force for 10 years, where she received an extensive education in leadership. She is an advocate for veterans and developing career and educational opportunities for under served communities.  Patricia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Management and a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management.

Anthony Williams, VP of Student Finance Operations

As the Vice President of Student Finance Operations, Anthony Williams provides leadership and guidance relative to the administration and awarding of aid for Triumph Higher Education. Before joining Triumph Higher Education, Williams held the position of Market Executive Director for Weston Education Group. In this role, he oversaw the campus operations of three unique business units and focused on improving operational efficiency as well as building a high performing team. Previously, he also was Campus President for Career Education Corporation. Williams received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Additionally, he holds an Master’s in Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance from Devry’s Keller Graduate School of Management. He is currently completing his his Master’s of Science degree in Finance from Depaul University.