I was born in Denton to parents who were, at that time, students at the University of North Texas. Later, I came back to UNT to go to school and received an undergraduate degree in political science.
After spending time in the military, I earned my MBA from Clemson University in South Carolina in 1993 and went to work for Waffle House. This was an awesome challenge because, although I had worked in restaurants to get through school, this was my first management position in the hospitality industry. With Waffle House, I was in charge of all aspects of the restaurant business. I learned a great deal and was promoted to a district manager roll within two years. I was responsible for three restaurants in Columbia, South Carolina. This was a great position, however I decided to take another one with Chili’s in Texas, which enabled me to see a different kind of restaurant. Both of these jobs helped me become an owner/operator with Chick-fil-A by giving me the knowledge and skills needed to run my own business.
Chick-fil-A allowed me to see the business from the owner’s standpoint. I was with Chick-fil-A for five years and understood the big picture. This helped me when I left this company and when my wife and bought a restaurant in the DFW area. The restaurant had a lot of catering involved in the sales, which was a new area for me. During this time, I got an offer from Huddle House to first work for a franchisee and then later for the corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. I was able to see a larger picture as an area manager in charge of about 60-70 franchise stores in many different states.
Eventually I began teaching, first at Grapevine High School and later as a lecturer at UNT in the hospitality department. Throughout my time in restaurants, I taught employees. Now I teach students wanting to be in the restaurant business. I hope my experience can help their future job aspirations.