The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte
q: What do you do?
a: Manage the front desk, call center, guest relations, bellmen and doormen, and retail shops -- pretty much everything the guest experiences except housekeeping. As of next month, I will have worked at Ritz-Carlton five years, first working at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando and then moving up to Front of House Manager for The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. This new Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte with 146 rooms will open on October 1.q: What's your favorite part of the job?
a: Interacting with the ladies and gentlemen who stay here, and with the staff. I truly am a people person and enjoy providing Ritz-Carlton's legendary customer service. This company believes in developing its people. Your career here can be whatever you want it to be.q: What's the greatest challenge?
a: Saying "no," because we like to say "yes" to everything a guest dreams or imagines. Very rarely though, what they want is a little too far out there, or I just can't make a request happen or give an employee the day off that he or she wants.q: Do you stay in touch with any other UCF hospitality alums?
a: Many, but especially my brother Jorge Chavez '07 who works at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, and Devin Kammerer '06 who works at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne.q: Outside work...you're most likely to be seen?
a: At sporting events, especially local baseball or basketball games. Also traveling for both work and pleasure. I've been in a different city every month this year, including Austin, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, Shanghai and Beijing.q: Your biggest accomplishment since graduating, outside your career?
a: Moving across the United States twice without knowing anyone. With all my family in Miami, this was a bold move.q: How did UCF prepare you for what you do?
a: There's no way I'd be where I am now without my four years at UCF. It taught me the basics of what the industry's like. There was always someone at Rosen who had worked in hospitality who could motivate and guide you, and sit down and talk to you about their experiences. For instance, Professor Robert Ashley told us such great stories in his classes; you could tell he has real passion for what he does.q: How could the hospitality program have been better?
a: It gives students the wrong perception that they can graduate and get management jobs. You need to work hard to get the respect of front-line staff who may have worked in their jobs 10 years or more. I know my generation is often considered the "entitlement generation" but hospitality is an industry where you truly need to earn your keep.q: A UCF memory
a: When the basketball team won 18 games in a row and made an impact on SportsCenter. We had Dexter Lyons then. I remember the old arena being filled to capacity and people lined up four hours early to get seats for the games, even though they were free. I loved UCF Basketball and it's so neglected compared to football.q: Favorite meal in Orlando?
a: At Oceanaire. The service, selection and wine pairings are superb.q: On your iPod?
a: Mostly hip hop including Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Jay-Z.q: Little known fact about you?
a: I love french fries. I don't like anything on them though. People can't believe I won't even try them with ketchup or dipping sauces.