I have always been a person who will jump in and take risks. I look at failure not as a barrier but as an opportunity and something to build on.
Start to Finish: What Inspires Execs
When I was 28 years old, I was a waiter in a restaurant that began franchising, and I bought a Pour La France! catering franchise and built that for a number of years.
I started in this business in 1987; I’ve been in hospitality since I was a busboy at 16.
I started at Schlotzsky’s almost 30 years ago as a field marketing manager. I hit the streets and developed marketing plans for all the individual corporate restaurants in Houston.
I grew up in the heartland on a small family farm and then went to Kansas State University and majored in agriculture.
I spent my high school and college years wanting to be a corporate litigator. While doing a law internship, a friend purchased an Arby’s franchise and asked me to help her get started.
Before Smoke’s, I owned a branding and design company, AmoebaCorp, for 11 years. I’m all about brand experience, and ultimately for Smoke’s, it’s about being an entertainment company.
In 2009, my wife and I were at a summer barbecue with some buddies, and we came across a Time magazine, which had food trucks and Roy Choi from Kogi in it.
I started working at Starbucks when there were 30 stores, and when I left there were 3,000, so it was quite an incredible experience.
I grew up thinking I was going to be a professional drummer and travel the world. My journey to the restaurant industry began in high school when I started working in restaurants.