q: What do you do?
a: Manage the sales for a brand new Olive Garden opening on October 12 on City Station Drive in Jacksonville. My position is responsible for the bar, lobby, to go food and catering. For goodwill and to help promote the store, I deliver soups and bread sticks to area charities, schools and offices.q: What's your favorite part of the job?
a: Interacting with the guests and 165 employees. I'm the only manager at this location who doesn't have 5-20 years of experience with Darden; I'm happy to have earned the respect of everyone through hard work and my four year degree from Rosen College.q: What's the greatest challenge?
a: The hours. For instance, yesterday I worked a 14-hour day. That's how it is in the restaurant business. We're currently training the employees and getting ready for a soft opening next Monday.q: Do you stay in touch with any other UCF hospitality alums?
a: Kelly Roop '09 is a manager at an Olive Garden in Gainesville. I also stay in touch with La-Quierra Harris '09, Lyndrell Washington '08, Carla Rodriguez '09 and Mickey Grier '09.q: Outside work...you're most likely to be seen?
a: At the St. Johns Town Center, an outdoor mall in Jacksonville.q: Your biggest accomplishment since graduating, outside your career?
a: Completing Darden's three-month management training program. It's very intense and has a high failure rate. Also, passing the ServSafe® certification test.q: How did UCF prepare you for what you do?
a: I have the master key to the restaurant and my office key on my UCF key chain, because I'm so grateful. Literally every single class I took is relevant to what I do every day, including Financial Accounting. Also extremely helpful to my career was getting involved in organizations including the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality and UCF Late Knights. Although I had worked as an intern for six months at Bahama Breeze, I got my Olive Garden job through a Rosen College career fair.q: How could the hospitality program have been better?
a: Including Rosen more with UCF as a whole, making it easier to get involved and feel like you're part of the Main Campus. I made a deliberate effort during my senior year to do more on Main Campus but many students don't. A good way would be for some of the larger student organizations to partner with Rosen College.q: A UCF memory?
a: My professors. They were always easy to contact and willing to help with networking or whatever we needed. They have our best interests at heart. Also I remember my Intermediate Food Prep class where we managed an on-campus reception. It was time-intensive to plan the event menu, order the food and prepare it, but completely relevant to my position. The system for ordering product is the exact same one used by us at Darden.q: Favorite meal in Orlando?
a: An omelet, red skin potatoes and fresh baked muffin at Mimi's Cafe. I'm glad they have Mimi's in Jacksonville too.q: On your iPod?
a: I don't have an iPod but like reggae music. Although they play Italian music in the front of Olive Garden, in the kitchen we have lots of fun and listen to reggae.q: Little known fact about you?
a: I'm the first person in my family to ever graduate from college.