New Leadership at Operation BBQ Relief

Jun 2, 2020 | News

Head of Field Operations

Joey Rusek has been promoted to Head of Field Operations.  Joey has played an integral role during the past two months as we launched the Operation Restaurant Relief program throughout the country.  Joey has been the point of contact for all restaurants as they learn the craft of producing over 2500 meals each day.  With Joey’s operational skills and big heart for serving others, Operation BBQ Relief has provided over 3 million meals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are blessed to have Joey on our team as we continue to provide the one hot meal that matters.

Joey was born and raised in Southwest Virginia.  He spent his career serving the public in law enforcement and with the fire service.  Upon his retirement, Joey decided to follow his dream and open up a BBQ business. Joey opened Backdraft BBQ in 2013.

When tragedy struck a West Virginia community not far from home, he felt the need to lend a helping hand. He saw a story about Operation BBQ Relief on the local news and he immediately  jumped online and volunteered.  When the hurricane moved into the coast of North Carolina, Joey deployed.

Operation BBQ Relief has become a part of his soul. From California to Florida and in between, he has loved each and every day he has had the opportunity to assist with providing meals to organizations and families in need.

Joey and his wife Michele have three children, Bailey, Josette, and Leyton, and a beautiful 1-year-old granddaughter Graie.


Head of Culinary 

We are excited to announce Bryan Mroczka as Head of Culinary.  Bryan has been a fan and supporter since learning about Operation BBQ Relief in 2011.  Bryan has been onsite at deployments with the most recent being Panama City in 2018. Bryan has also supported Operation BBQ Relief on many blue sky days including representing Operation BBQ Relief at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival.  Bryan has played an integral role in launching the BBQ Basics program. Bryan also supported the Corporate Relations and Procurement team as a volunteer over the last 2 years.

Bryan was born and raised in Orlando, FL. Bryan attended Bentley University in Waltham, MA obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems Audit and Control. Bryan was also a 4-year football letterman and 3-year starter for the NCAA Division II Bentley Falcons.

Bryan brings more than 10 years of professional experience in operations, culinary, finance, and business development to his new role at Operation BBQ Relief. After graduating from Bentley University, Bryan accepted a job offer from the largest casual dining brand, Darden Restaurants. In his role as a financial analyst, Bryan worked with procurement, supply chain, marketing, and the brand finance teams to make sure the 800+ Olive Gardens had the products they needed. After Darden, Bryan accepted the Head Pitmaster role at Sonny’s BBQ.  Bryan led the procurement team at Sonny’s BBQ, negotiating contracts and protecting the $90MM supply chain. Bryan also led the Pitmaster Academy, a multi-day program that all of Sonny’s Pitmasters attended before being certified as Sonny’s Certified Pitmasters. Bryan was a key player in the rebranding of an iconic southern barbecue brand.

Bryan is also known as a fierce competitor on the barbecue circuit. Under his command, Bull Rush BBQ, a team comprised of Bryan and his parents, Bob and Debbie have won over 100 awards in Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS), Florida BBQ Association (FBA), Georgia BBQ Association (GBA), and Memphis BBQ Network (MBN) competitions. When Bryan is not competing on the weekend you can usually find him hanging around a smoker, camping, boating, or spending time with family and friends at their small family ranch.


Join the #iamOBR movement with a tax deductible monthly contribution where you can select donation options to help support Operation BBQ Relief.


Operation BBQ Relief relies solely on volunteers like you. Whether you are a competition BBQ team, caterer, restaurateur or simply an individual or group wanting to help when disaster strikes, we want you to be a part of this rewarding experience in helping people.