The mission of Z-Golf Food & Beverage Services is to provide outstanding management for golf course food and beverage and wedding & banquet services. Z-Golf will be the authority in golf and banquet Food & Beverage. Z-Golf success will be measured by profitability, guest satisfaction, ethical business practices, and client satisfaction.
Z-Golf Food & Beverage is recognized as the most successful and innovative banquet operator. Currently, Z-Golf operates a collection of banquet and meeting centers under the Wedgewood Weddings brand. These facilities are located nation-wide with a record of success at every venue. In 2015, the Wedgewood Weddings served nearly three quarters of a million banquet guests! The Wedgewood success is due to its trademark Valservenience – Excellent Value, Terrific Service, and Exceptional Convenience.
John & Linda Zaruka, founded the Wedgewood concept in Ventura in 1986 at the Buenaventura Golf Course. Over the last three decades, the Z-Golf team has perfected a formula that provides excellent service to a broad range of banquet clientele, while delivering a strong financial return. In early 2001, Bill Zaruka joined the family team and a decision was made to expand the Ventura Wedgewood concept. The first new ventures were in Northern California. These facilities were losing more than $100,000 per year. Within two years these locations were generating $300,000 per year in profit. Ownership then made the strategic decision to offer Z-Golf’s professional management throughout California and the West. In 2014, Prospect Partners of Chicago purchased an equity position in Z-Golf allowing for even further development. Several of Z-Golf’s locations are municipally owned.
Our Management Team
Founder & CEO
John began his hospitality experience at age 13 at a Long Island beach concession owned by his parents. He fell in love with the industry and pursued this passion by attending and graduating from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. John started his career in the hotel business in 1973 and within 10 years became a Regional Director, responsible for 9 hotels with 1700 rooms. Soon after, he became the Vice President of Operations for a Southern California hotel management company.
In the summer of 1986, John and Linda purchased the lease of the Wedgewood Restaurant and Buenaventura Golf Course Pub & Grille in Ventura. They immediately converted the failing restaurant to exclusive banquet use In 1999, John created Z-Golf Food & Beverage Services, an operations and consulting practice exclusively for the food and beverage departments of golf courses, banquet facilities, clubs, and resorts. Z-Golf is the only such practice in the U.S. John has written several articles for publications such as‚ “Golf Business”, Club Magazine, Golf Business Canada, and the National Golf Foundation. He is an international speaker on golf and banquet related food and beverage subjects.
ZGolf’s primary brand is Wedgewood Weddings, a full service banquet and wedding business. From the original Ventura Wedgewood, the brand has grown to forty locations in six states hosting 8000 events per year and 750,000 guests.
John and his wife, Linda, have been married since 1974, and have two children, Bill, also a graduate of the Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, is President of the family business. Stacy, a graduate from Johnson & Wales University in hospitality management and assists in managing the family business interests Linda is a Past President of the Ventura Chapter of the National Association of Catering Executives and was Wedgewood’s first Catering Sales Director. John is the Past-President of the Rotary Club of Ventura South. John’s community and business contributions have been recognized with the following awards:
- Small Business Administrative Family Business of the Year.
- Ventura County Star – 25 over 50 Community Leaders.
- Director Emeritus – California Restaurant Association
- Rotarian of the Year – 1992 and 2017.
- West Babylon High School Hall of Fame 2016
- Ventura Boy’s and Girl’s Club Community Leader of the Year 2017
- Camarillo Acorn Top Ten Community Members 2017
John coached high school basketball for ten years and taught in the hospitality program at Oxnard College for seven years.
Bill was only 14 years old when he started working in the family business at the highly successful Buenaventura Golf Course Food & Beverage Concession. Bill worked every position at the Bar & Grill serving golfers, as well as the Wedgewood Banquet Center, serving weddings and banquets. He performed all the service and accounting functions. His interest in the business led him to pursue a degree in Hotel Administration at Cornell University. At Cornell, Bill exhibited his leadership skills as President of his fraternity and as Captain of the Lightweight football team. He graduated in 1998.
After graduation, Bill joined the food services division of Universal Studios, Hollywood, CA. As a multi-unit manager he was responsible for several of the restaurants in the park where he created budgets, wrote operating standards, training programs and led the installation of several point-of-sale systems.
In 2001, Bill rejoined the family business. During his tenure Z-Golf has expanded rapidly into Northern, Southern, and Central California and has extended into Las Vegas, Phoenix and Colorado. As President he is responsible for leading a dynamic management team, opening and supervising all Z-Golf restaurant operations. Under his leadership, sales now approach $50,000,000 with average profit percentages and customer service ratings far exceeding industry averages. He recently led the corporate relocation to Temecula where the corporate staff, accounting team, and call center are located.
Bill resides in Southern California. He is married to Jenn Zaruka and they have four children.
Vice President of Business Development
Kevin as Director of Business Development and Operations, focuses on working with property owners and managers in an attempt to uncover all the benefits of potential partnerships with Wedgewood. Kevin overseas all new business opportunities, works directly with each individual to assess long term potential, and helps work through the proposal and due diligence process. If a venue chooses to partner with Z-Golf and Wedgewood, Kevin spearheads the business transition to assure that all matters are handled in a smooth and professional manner.
Kevin comes to Z-Golf and Wedgewood with more than 20+ years of sales experience. Prior to joining the Z Team, Kevin was an integral member of the Callaway Sales Team for 18 years. In his most recent position as National Account Manager, Kevin was responsible for $62+ M in sales to big box and e-commerce accounts. While in this position, Kevin was recognized for assessing and re-aligning inter-departmental responsibilities, which resulted in increased sales, improved communications, efficiency and “Best in Class Service.” At Callaway, Kevin also served as the Inside Sales Manager for several years. He was responsible for the training, management, and career development of a large team of sales professionals with a sales responsibility of $165 M.
While Kevin’s sales background has been primarily in the golf industry, he does have some food and beverage experience. During college, Kevin served as a waiter at the Cheesecake Factory in Redondo Beach. This job “paved the way” to his graduation from UCLA, with a BA in English Literature.
Vice President of Operations
As Wedgewood Weddings’ Vice President of Operations, Jeff leads a team of 7 regional managers now who oversee over 30 properties nation-wide. Jeff is responsible for overseeing Sales, Operations, Recruitment and Property Transitions for the company. He is a hospitality veteran with more than 25 years in the industry. Prior to joining Wedgewood he served as Vice President of Hospitality at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. Jeff has held leadership positions with some of country’s finest hotels and resorts. He is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and the Culinary Institute of America. Jeff is a native New Yorker. He and his wife are the proud parents of three.
Vice President of Sales
Leads a team of 7 regional managers now who oversee over 30 properties nation-wide of Sales & Marketing
As Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Julia Henning is responsible for managing the Z-Golf and Wedgewood brand. She oversees Wedgewood’s online marketing, print advertising, online reputation, social media, and she leads the team in the centralized call center. Her department has steadily increased lead generation, increasing market share and overall revenue. Julia Started with Z-Golf in 2010. Her first project with the company was establishing the centralized call center. Since then she has managed three of Wedgewood locations in the Inland Empire before transitioning into her role as director of marketing.
Julia is a native of West Los Angeles. She graduated with a B.F.A. in Theater from New York University’s prestigious Tisch, School of the Arts. After graduating she performed comedy in alternative comedy clubs in New York City. She started her career in the hospitality industry working as a cook in Los Angeles for several off-site catering companies, including Catering by Field. In 2009 she went back to school and attended Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and graduated with a Masters of Management in Hospitality. Her interests are music, comedy, art, data, and excel spreadsheets.
Chief Financial Officer
Daniel E. Bylund most recently served as Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Finance, and Secretary/Treasurer of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Inc.
Mr. Bylund has more than 20 years of global finance, treasury, and accounting experience, including experience spanning IT, risk management, and human resources, along with key strengths in all aspects of corporate financial functions, including debt and equity financing, cash management and planning, and detailed financial forecasting.
Mr. Bylund has built a track record of guiding multi-location domestic and international financial operations to ongoing growth and success by employing strategic planning and forecasting expertise. Most recently, as Chief Financial Officer at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurants, Inc., he oversaw all accounting, finance, IT, risk management, treasury, and human resource departments. Notably, as a key part of the management team that orchestrated the company’s growth from start-up to 38 global locations with $180 million in sales and 4,500 employees.
Mr. Bylund joined Rusty Pelican in 1993 as its Vice President of Finance, Secretary and Treasurer, while at the same time serving as CFO of Green Leaf Ventures. Prior to joining Green Leaf, Mr. Bylund worked with Merrill Lynch and was a former audit manager with Ernst & Young.
Mr. Bylund graduated from Jacksonville University with a B.S. degree in Accounting and lives in Carlsbad, CA.
Vice President of Marketing
Successful marketing is about connecting to the consumer and Kate Paulley, Marketing VP, places the client relationship front and center. Kate’s driven to inspire curiosity, spark conversations, and deliver well-timed answers, as she believes many great collaborations stem from creating relationships that feel effortless.
Kate first began marketing during Y2K and enjoys the traditional process of grabbing attention and identifying need but really found her stride with content rich websites, digital community building, and personalization across multiple touch points.
Now responsible for strengthening the Wedgewood brand, Kate loves building strategies that resonate with customers so they experience joy throughout their journey to married life. While always striving for customer delight, Kate’s also focused on conversion rates, acquisition costs and maximizing the impact of every dollar.
Kate learned her craft across multiple verticals: she’s achieved bottom line success in huge corporations and scrappy startups with encrypted hard drives, trucking, data aggregation, e-publishing, health and wellness, and liquor. While managing teams can be equally challenging and rewarding, Kate always makes time to also be hands-on and makes time to dive into data or fire up Photoshop at every opportunity.
Native to England, Kate has a design background and is proud to have worked in several European hub cities. She says she never switches off the visual and marketing part of her brain and is constantly inspired by other brands skillful campaigns. After moving to Los Angeles in 2012, Kate developed a passion for American idioms and now believes any walk of more than five metres is a hike!
Director of People & Culture
Angela began her career in Human Resources over 20 years ago. After graduating from Western Illinois University, Angela took her first HR role as an Interviewer in a high-volume call center. After eventually moving into the Human Resources Manager position, she made the move across the country to California. Angela then spent 16 years in various roles with RadioShack Corporation in both Human Resources and Operations Management, while supporting store locations nationwide.
Most recently, Angela gained a deeper understanding of hospitality as the Human Resources Manager for 5 separate companies under the Ponte Family Estate, including Ponte Winery. She resides in Temecula, CA with her husband and two children.
Our Regional Managers
As Northern California Regional Manager, Jerome is responsible for overseeing multiple Northern California Z-Golf and Wedgewood properties. Through his leadership and expertise, he ensures these facilities are all running to the Z-Golf standard of customer service and profitability.
Jerome currently resides in Tracy, California with his wife and two children. When he is not driving between properties, Jerome loves being a dad and spending time on the water wake boarding with family and friends.
Results oriented, process driven Regional Manager who oversees multiple wedding & banquet locations. Achieving high levels of quality, excellent customer service while exceeding financial goals. Regularly promoted leader, coach and trainer. Proven turnaround of locations while focusing and developing top grade talent & meeting/exceeding goals.
As Southern California Regional Manager, Dan Pennington is responsible for overseeing multiple Southern California Wedgewood properties. He ensures these facilities are all running to the Wedgewood standard of customer service. Dan is no stranger to the food and beverage industry. He has 20+ years managing restaurants such as Rock Bottom Brewery and Ignite Bistro in San Diego. His years of experience greatly benefits Wedgewood with new and fresh ideas to improve overall experience for our clients and their guests.
Dan is a native to Southern California and spent most of his life in San Diego. He enjoys watching football and wood working. When he is not driving between properties, Dan likes to spend time with his wife and dog Brutus.
As Colorado’s Regional Manager, Anna Worthington is responsible for opening the Colorado region & bringing the Wedgewood culture to Colorado. Anna is passionate about providing incredible customer service to her team and empowering them daily. Her favorite part of the job is seeing her team members grow in their careers and seeing events go off without a hitch. Throughout the week, you can find Anna driving across the state to get to her properties, motivating her team, making conference calls on the go, going over spreadsheets late at night, or taking any of her incredibly talented team members out to a happy hour.
Anna is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and has grown with Wedgewood from a Catering Sales Director to a Regional Manager.
Roman Cota is currently a Regional Manager and Culinary Leader for Wedgewood Weddings. His passion for hospitality has allowed him to wear many hats in the food service industry. He really grew within the industry when he found his sweet spot in the catering and banquet aspect of the industry. He started in the back of the house at the age of 15 in a landmark restaurant in his home town of Fresno, California, but that lasted a short time. Before long, he was in the front of the house working with what he would say is the best part of the foodservice industry – PEOPLE.
“Serving food to people is something I am proud of, it’s a rewarding career when you believe in the job you are doing”
After many restaurant jobs and going to college, he launched his career in catering and banquets with a local restaurateur in Fresno that had just sold his restaurant and moved strictly into catering. The company went from serving 1,000 people in one year to serving over 100,000. He has also worked for some of the largest contract foodservice companies in the world as a Catering Director for a California University and Culinary Manager at the largest hospital in Fresno.
In 2011, he was offered the opportunity to be the managing partner of Wedgewood Weddings Fresno – which was going to be Wedgewood’s 16th location and their first banquet-only facility. It was a perfect fit for Roman. After 7 years, he has invested in his growth with Wedgewood. He is a Regional Manager for properties in Ventura County, Las Vegas, and Fresno. He also leads the culinary program for the company – developing menu standards, culinary practices, securing purchasing contracts and developing chefs throughout the company.
The foodservice industry can be challenging at times when trying to balance work and family time, but Roman has always had great support from his wife, Carrie, of 12 years and their blended family of 5 – Elizabeth 21, Riley 20, Noah 19, Jesstine 18 and Darby 16. What he does at work is always to support and benefit his family. He believes if you love what you do it will be rewarding to you and your family.