Co-Founder – President – Dishwasher | Barley Creek Brewing Company
Briefly describe your job and responsibilities.
The job encompasses making sure the 120+ staff have what they need to create a fantastic guest experience.
What does a “typical” day at work look like for you?
For me, the fun on a typical day is helping others on the team think through the most pressing challenge. The other fun is brainstorming with any member of the team who wants to help make improvements. Lastly – planning the next three projects.
What was your first job?
First job in hospitality was at age 14 – yard work at the Fireside Cafe. My sister Sharon was a server and she “volunteered” me. Cut the grass and pick up garbage. Pay was bad but the food was good.
When did you know this industry was right for you?
Started a catered canoe company called “Trip’s Down the Delaware” while going to college. In 1980 I became my Fraternity’s House Steward – the job was to make sure Chef Angelo Ortiz had everything he needed to get a standing ovation from the Brothers after dinner was served.
I became a banker after college, for 9 years 364 days. Left banking to start Barley Creek Brewing Company. Raised Private Equity. Arranged Bank Loans. Secured Industrial Development Authority Low interest financing. Bought a building (essentially at a Sheriff sale). Built Northeast Pennsylvania’s first Brewpub since prohibition. Added a Distillery, Tasting Room, Catering and Event Planning and more to follow!
Briefly describe your career path and how you got to where you are today.
I have a Bachelor of Science from Virginia Tech in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. Following graduation, I completed a dietetic internship through Penn State. The four-year degree as well as internship are both required in order to sit for the Registered Dietitian exam which is needed to practice as a dietitian.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The people in this industry. Really good, hard working, salt of the earth people who make this industry rewarding.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Figuring out the best way to help members of the team succeed, even the ones who may not know what that feels like.
What advice would you give to students interested in your profession?
Learn something about your industry every day. Get to know your co-workers. Bring ideas back from your travels. Have fun – even if the task at hand is not one would normally consider fun.
What achievement are you most proud of?
My ability to convince Eileen McKeegan to marry me! Then there’s the three talented kids…Kelly, Jay & Kyler.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Play hard – Ski – Golf – Travel and borrow ideas from really great independent operators.
What is your favorite food to make or eat?
Fan of BBQ – have enjoyed reading about “the right heat” – “the right seasonings / sauce” – But the real fun with food is the company you share it with.
What’s at the top of your bucket list?
Helping others figure out how to succeed in this industry.