Director of Operations,
q: What do you do?
a: Lead all operations for the Darden restaurant chain to ensure consistency and excellence across the entire dining experience. My responsibilities include...well, just about everything except marketing...including overseeing the field directors, financial reporting, hiring new managers and restaurant openings. A Seasons 52 just opened in Tampa and we're in the process of adding locations in King of Prussia, PA, Schaumburg, IL and Costa Mesa, CA. I've been doing lots of traveling.
a: Being in the restaurants and making an impact. I like inspiring the managers to in turn inspire their teams. I draw my energy from the guests and team members - something like how Superman gets his energy from the sun.
q: Do you stay in touch with any other UCF hospitality alums?a: Finding great people to help grow our company.
a: I see Jeff D'Arpa '94 every few years. I have stayed connected with UCF in general, having had season football tickets since I graduated and recently joined the Dean's Advisory Board of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
a: On the sidelines of one of my son's football games, or taking my daughter to her dance classes.
a: My family. I'm proud of maintaining and growing my relationship with my wife and kids.
a: My college time prepared me for the social aspect of this business.
a: Quantity Food Preparation. Our class ran a restaurant, and that experience helped me decide what to do with my career.
a: Having had the resources available to today's students. A separate campus allows them to learn with fewer distractions. A focus in the program should be on teaching how to find, inspire and retain good employees, because people are what differentiates one company from the next.
a: My internship at Bennigan's in Casselberry. I met my wife there! I also had a great GM who empowered me to learn the business.
a: At Seasons 52, I'd have the BBQ shrimp flatbread, organic green salad with truffle dressing and swordfish ponzu, with a glass of the Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc, plus a pecan pie mini indulgence.
a: 90's Rock like U2, Pearl Jam and the Dave Matthews Band.
a: I've started writing a book about the hospitality business. It's a real-life tale on how to succeed; for instance, part of success is never feeling comfortable. I'm up to page 43.