The AQA Team

The brightest minds and most experienced leaders from the food science, restaurant, and technology industries have come together to create the only food safety and quality assurance mangement platform designed specifically for the restaurant industry.


Eric Graves

Eric Graves

Founder & CEO

Eric graduated from Northwestern University in 1986 and earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1989. He has owned several successful business ventures that served clients primarily in the southeastern US.

The idea for Actionable Quality Assurance was developed while he was the owner and CEO of ABC Research Laboratories, a food testing laboratory in Gainesville, Florida, where he recognized the need for a comprehensive solution to the fragmented state of most quality assurance programs.

In 2015, Eric sold ABC Research Laboratories in order to concentrate fully on bringing Actionable Quality Assurance to market.

He lives in Gainesville with his wife Kristine and their dogs. When he’s not working on the big picture, he’s running, cooking, or boating.

Headshot of Jacob Rabb

Jacob Rabb

IT Consultant

Jacob Rabb is an expert in leading edge technology. His skills in programming and communicating, along with his excellent flexibility, make him well suited for a startup environment.

Jacob has six years experience working on web programming, big data, and digital marketing. At the University of Florida, Jacob spent countless hours doing complicated programming projects for his courses, such as modifying an operating system and creating a compiler from scratch.

Prior to joining AQA, Jacob received his Master’s degree from the University of Florida. He also worked for Gator Information Systems, a startup concerned with gathering semi-structured and unstructured data on the web.

Jacob lives in Maryland with his fiancé.

John Caron

Manager, Board of Managers

Over a nearly 30-year Fortune 500 career John has served in numerous domestic and international senior leadership roles including President of Olive Garden, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Darden Restaurants and Vice President and General Manager – Lipton Beverages - North America for Unilever.

As President of Olive Garden John was a member of Darden Restaurants’ Executive and Operating Teams and led a company with more than 820 restaurants, 90,000 employees and $3.7 billion in annual sales

 John is currently active on several boards of innovative, early-stage companies.  He is an Independent Director on the board of IZEA a NASDAQ listed company.  He is the independent Director on the Board of Tijuana Flats a private equity owned, fast casual restaurant concept, and an independent Director on the Board of Thrive Frozen Nutrition.  John is also a Board member for venVelo, a Central Florida early-stage venture fund.

Bruce Perkin

Bruce Perkin

Strategy Consultant

Bruce is a Strategy Consultant for AQA. He comes to us from Yum! Brands, where he was the Chief R&D Officer for Pizza Hut. With post-graduate qualifications in Nutrition, and a Bachelors of Science with majors in Pharmacology and Biochemistry from the University of Melbourne, where he graduated in 1978. Needless to say, he brings an extraordinary skill set to AQA.

Bruce has worked with many of the world’s largest food companies, starting with H.J. Heinz as a Chemist, and moving on to Uncle Ben’s Inc., MasterFoods Pty Ltd., Mars Corporation, and Yum! Brands. His roles included Department Head Quality Assurance, Product Development Manager, Brand Manager, Production Manager, Research and Development Director, Marketing Director, and Chief Technical Officer. He has been a professional member of IFT for over 20 years, and is a Certified Food Scientist.

His career has taken him around the world, and his work has influenced the development of various food products that are made and sold in many different countries. He has also led the global long-term research program for MasterFoods, where he established and coordinated technology platform development in the USA, Europe, UK and Australia.

As expected, he has a passion for great food, as well as a gift for understanding, sharing, and leveraging the science that underpins what makes great food organoleptically satisfying and safe to eat.

Bruce is married with 3 children, and lives in Texas. In his spare time he enjoys running, traveling the world, cooking, eating, pursuing the ideal espresso coffee, live sports and performances, and playing baseball with his son.

Jim Lawrence

Strategy Consultant

Jim Lawrence was most recently Chief Supply Chain Officer for Darden Restaurants where he led a team of supply professionals in the sourcing, distribution and quality assurance efforts for over $3 billion in capital and food product expenditures on an annualized basis.

Jim began his career at Darden in 1995, holding progressively responsible positions in Transportation, Seafood Inventory Management and Distribution and Restaurant Distribution Services. He was promoted to Vice President of Supply Management in 2000. Jim was named a Senior Vice President in 2005 when he was appointed to lead Darden’s supply management and food purchasing teams. While in this role, he was also responsible for overseeing the design and development of the state-of-the-art Restaurant Support Center that opened in September 2009.

Before joining Darden, Jim held sales and distribution positions with Mobil Corporation and RJR Nabisco, Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Georgia. He earned an MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College.

As a supply chain leader within the foodservice industry, Jim has served on numerous boards and has been a frequent speaker and academic instructor, most notably with the Cornell School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. In addition, Jim has been a contributor of several textbooks such as Marketing: Real People, Real Choices, Fifth Edition and Principles of Operations Management, Seventh Edition.

Jim is a former member of the Board of Overseer’s for the Crummer School of Business at Rollins College. He is also a past executive board member of the Orlando Festival of Orchestras and a past board member of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

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