Meet Our Team
Travis Cooper, CEO
Travis is a Co-Founder and CEO of Cooper Connect. He has a background in start-ups, business management, and ministry. Having been recruited into a restaurant as an Operations Director, and being a restaurant owner in need of leaders, he has the first-hand experience of the recruitment process from both the Client and Candidate perspective. Travis' focus is on creating and overseeing a High Performance Organization. He drives the company forward with vision on how to better serve our clients, and is currently overseeing brand development, sales acquisition, and team development. Travis enjoys thrilling activities like riding his dirt bike, hunting and glamping. He's obsessed with his family and is dedicated to his personal and spiritual growth.
Julie Maples, Account Manager
Julie Maples worked for Chick-fil-A for 16 years starting as a team member working her way to a grand opening trainer, a Director, and a General Manager. In 2016 she took time off to stay home with her youngest child and shortly after joined Cooper Connect as a Senior Talent Agent role and is currently an Account Manager. After her experience with Chick-fil-A and watching her sister grow into an Owner/Operator, she has developed a passion for Chick-fil-A and helping others find the opportunity that the company has to offer in store or at a corporate level. She is very active in her church and is married with five children. She has a heart to serve and has led multiple fundraising opportunities for local families in times of need.
Susan Carnes, Account Manager
Susan Carnes joined Cooper Connect in June 2017. She began as a Senior Talent Agent and has recently been promoted to Account Manager! Susan graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Communications degree in 2006. She began her Chick-fil-A career in 2009 as a restaurant manager and quickly became a certified trainer. As a certified trainer, Susan traveled from Florida to California, North Carolina to Oklahoma (to name a few!) assisting in the grand openings of new Chick-fil-As. She is thrilled to now get to bring new talented leadership to some of those same Chick-fil-As. When she is not actively looking for talent, Susan enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, cooking, and volunteering at church.
Grace Kuznetsov, Sr. Talent Agent
Grace Kuznetsov joined Cooper Connect in May 2018 as a Senior Talent Agent. She is passionate about helping people pursue their goals by matching them with the right opportunities. She started with Chick-fil-A as an HR Director and moved into recruiting to refine her skills in the people business. She has a degree in Business Administration and Social Enterprise from Gordon College. She spends most of her time enjoying the great outdoors and is an avid Scuba Diver and Equestrian.
Katie Dearden, Recruiter & Lead Trainer
Katie Dearden joined Cooper Connect in August 2018 as a Recruiter, and has recently been promoted to Lead Trainer for the recruiting team. She graduated from Brigham Young University-Hawaii in 2010 with a Bachelor's in Fine Art and a minor in Psychology. Most of her career so far has been teaching children, including volunteering with the children's program at her church. She enjoys the opportunity to talk with people across the nation, helping connect them with great new career opportunities. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two daughters, and greyhound.
Amanda Cox, Recruiter
Amanda Cox joined Cooper Connect in September 2018. She is currently a Recruiter. Amanda attended Roan State Community college pursuing a degree in Nursing but has spent the last 10 years being a stay at home mom. She feels so blessed with the opportunity to work for Cooper Connect and help bring leadership team members to Chick-Fil-As. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three sons, singing, sports, and actively volunteering at her church.
Michelle Holcomb, Recruiter
Michelle Holcomb joined Cooper Connect in May 2019 as a Recruiter. Previous to this, she spent12 years helping run various Community Associations in Denver and in the Atlanta area. Michelle has a passion for people and loves her role at Cooper Connect because she is able to help people use their talents to connect with meaningful opportunities. When she isn't working, Michelle uses her passion for people by volunteering with the youth at her church, mentoring married couples and participating in a women's mentoring group. Michelle has been married for 19 years and has an energetic daughter who shares her passion for people. Michelle and her family love to travel the world and have lived in Korea while her husband was serving in the U.S. Army.
Brandi Ponder, Recruiter
Brandi Ponder joined Cooper Connect in May 2019 as a Recruiter. Her first job was with Chick-fil-A and she worked there for 12 years, starting as a Team Member and working her way up to a Grand Opening Trainer and then to a Day Manager. She has a love and passion for Chick-fil-A and wants to help others experience that same passion. She feels so blessed to be able to have this opportunity to work for Cooper Connect, as she is able to stay at home with her kids. When she is not sharing her passion for Chick-fil-A, Brandi is relaxing with her husband and two kids.
Shelly Howerton, Recruiter
Shelly Howerton joined Cooper Connect in May 2019 as a Recruiter. Shelly has spent the greater part of the last 11 years as a stay-at-home mom, she has the full-time job of being Mommy to her 11 year old, 2 year old, dog, and cat. She lives in Tennessee, in the heart of Orange Nation, and she loves all things VOLS! Shelly is beyond blessed to have the unique opportunity of speaking with people from all walks of life and helping them find meaningful, fulfilling careers with Chick-fil-A. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, hanging out with friends, going to the gym, and hiking.
Dave Prendergast, Director of Talent
Dave co-founded Cooper Connect in June 2017. As co-founder, he is responsible for building company operations, maintaining technology, establishing reports, & providing education. He also serves as the firm's Director of Talent, focusing primarily on team development, recruitment strategy, and recruiting high-level candidates. When he is not actively building Cooper Connect, you can find Dave working on other entrepreneurial projects, hiking, reading, or spending time with his wife and baby daughter.
Jared Cornelison, Business Manager
Jared co-founded Cooper Connect along with Dave and Travis in June 2017. He has a background in sales management and coaching for small businesses and individuals. He serves as the Business Manager for the company. Jared lives and works from Hawaii along with his wife and loves surfing, spear-fishing, hiking, is an avid sports fan, drummer, and personal-development junkie.