Hospitality and Tourism Management Alumni Spotlights





FAU has played an integral role in the career path and success of Alexandra Morales. After changing her major twice, Alex was still unsure of what she wanted to pursue professionally. Moving into her senior year, she took HFT 3003 just to fulfill an elective credit and that is when everything changed. After the first day of the first class, Alex knew that Hospitality and Tourism were what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Alex went to change her major for the third and final time and went on to graduate with a major in Hospitality and Tourism Management (August 2013).

During her last year of college, Alex was able to take HFT 4277 (Club Management) the first semester it was ever offered. At the end of that course, Alex had secured an internship at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton providing administrative assistance to the Catering, Membership, and Human Resources departments. This opportunity propelled Alex to a career in the private club industry.

Since then, Alex has worked at Boca West Country Club and is currently working at BallenIsles Country Club as a Catering & Events Manager. Alex loves her job and enjoys planning social events and activities for the members of BallenIsles.

Alexandra Morales



Originally from Orlando, FL, Alex studied at Florida Atlantic University to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Public Communication & Hospitality Management. During her time at FAU, Alex was a student-athlete, playing for the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Soccer Team. Shortly after her return from studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain to complete her International Business Certificate, Alex found her passion for Event Planning. She was ecstatic when she received an opportunity to intern at the FAU Student Union as an Event Manager. Upon graduation, she pursued a career in Luxury Hospitality as an Event Manager at one of South Florida’s largest private residential Country Clubs located in Boca Raton.

After gaining extensive experience and knowledge, she moved to North Carolina to expand her career ambitions at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, located in Cary, NC. As the only 5 Star 5 Diamond property in the state, Alex’s professional skillset and industry knowledge excelled tremendously during this time through multiple management positions on the Events and Sales Team. 

Since joining the Drive Shack Inc. Team at the Raleigh venue in 2021, Alex has stepped into the Director of Sales role and has grown an enthusiastic Events Team. Her passion for providing the highest level of service and professionalism combined with the culture and energy at Drive Shack motivates Alex every day. She often looks back at her time at FAU and appreciates the wealth of knowledge and real-life experience provided by the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. 

Alex Bentzone Image



Born and raised in Tampa, FL, I graduated from FAU in 2016 with my BBA in Hospitality Management and Tourism. I was on the FAU cheer team during college from 2013- 2014. I also had the privilege of having Dr. Ricci as one of my professors and completed the Meetings & Events Certificate.

After college, I moved back to Tampa and started my hospitality career as a Front Desk Agent at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. I was then promoted within five months to a Group Reservations Coordinator, handling all rooms for large groups. I worked my way up to become an Executive Meetings Manager (EMM), responsible for selling and servicing groups in all markets for the property.

Within a few short years of being an EMM, I was next promoted to the Complex Sales Manager, who handled all Corporate / Pharmaceutical groups for both the Hilton Tampa Downtown and the Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Downtown by the Convention Center.

And Hilton continues to grow and promote its associates. My most recent opportunity is now with Hilton's Recruitment Operations Center (ROC Team), focusing on finding Top Talent for Sales, Events, Catering, and Marketing roles for Hilton's corporate-managed properties on the East Coast and Puerto Rico! So, from hospitality courses at FAU to front desk to reservations to sales to recruitment for the sales/marketing teams ahead.

Amanda Lohnes



Amber Allen heavily explored the hospitality industry before finding her “calling”. She interned at FAU’s Alumni Center and fell in love with events. Her next step was a Catering & Events Manager at the Boynton Beach Courtyard by Marriott. Upon graduation, her dream job came at Avondale Travel where she plans high-end, luxury travel for clients and has found her niche in Personal Event Planning!

Amber Allens



I graduated from FAU in 2012 with a bachelor’s in Hospitality and a bachelor’s in Marketing and I have never been prouder to be an Owl! Each year when I come back for various events or our annual homecoming game, it is so rewarding to see how our university continues to evolve and grow. As a former hospitality student, the one thing I have always praised FAU's College of Business for has been their commitment to ensuring our professors are professionals from the very industries we were about to enter as well as passionate leaders who make every effort to help us find opportunities to start careers upon graduation. That is exactly how I ended up at Target and looking back I had no idea Target would turn into such a fulfilling career.

My journey started in one of Dr. Ricci's classes during my senior year, I had just returned from the Disney Internship Program (another recommendation from Dr. Ricci) where he had a guest speaker from Target. I remember the Target Executive brought bullseye dogs to hand out and had such passion and energy around his role that it made me think, "I want to be a part of that". Due to my great success at Disney, I thought why not apply for an internship at Target and gain the opportunity to bulk up my resume before graduation?

Fast forward 7 years later I can honestly say that I have built a career that I am proud of. I have held 4 different leadership roles and I'm currently preparing for my next. Some of my roles include Executive Team Leader Human Resource, Executive Team Leader Sales Floor Guest Experience, and most recently I am transitioning into a Store Director role. I have had the opportunity to lead large teams of over 200 team members as well as managed stores that gross annual sales of more than $ 50 million. Target has challenged me in every role I've held from having to think critically, solving complex problems, engaging and inspiring groups of very diverse teams, and overall, taught me how to be an effective leader.

Currently, Target has been modernizing stores and gaining a competitive edge as we fight for sales in the brick-and-mortar and digital world. Companies that we were so familiar with like GAP, Express, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Nordstroms, and Macy's are either closed or rapidly downsizing and shutting down physical locations. In the meantime, our fearless CEO Brian Cornell (CNN's Top CEO of the Year 2019) has guided us through some pretty scary times in the retail world and has ultimately capitalized on market share. I've learned that change is necessary to stay competitive as well as leading large teams through change is complex yet rewarding. Now more than ever I can say that I am not only a confident leader but confident in where Target is heading in an uncertain time and can't wait to continue to be a part of it!

Angela Bittman



Brandon graduated with degrees in Hospitality and Tourism Management and Marketing in the spring of 2013. During his last spring semester, he took a sales internship with Discover The Palm Beaches, the local destination marketing organization (DMO) for Palm Beach County.

Just before graduating from FAU, Discover the Palm Beaches offered Brandon a full-time position as their Lead Coordinator. Now 5 years and 2 promotions later, Brandon is a Senior Account Executive on their Group Sales team responsible for booking groups, meetings, and conventions within the Florida and Southeast markets. He also manages a team of two other Account Executives. One of his major industry accomplishments came in 2014 when he was recognized by Destinations International (https:// ) as a recipient of their annual "30 under 30 award."

Brandon Hall



For FAU alumna Brooke Wilson, a chance interaction on the road to her Communications and Hospitality degrees gave her a career path that so far, has been full of growth and early successes.

It was just another day in Dr. Peter Ricci’s class for Brooke when she caught sight of the signature aqua KE bag and was hooked. The bags that day were carried by Koncept Events’ Partner, Angie Nelson, and Director of Culture, Courtney Lohmann who were coming to the class for a panel featuring local DMCs. From the bags to their fresh approach to events, Brooke knew this was a company she wanted to work for, so when KE launched an intern program shortly after, she submitted her resume and got the invite to join the team as a Production Intern.

What Koncept Events loved about Brooke immediately was her incredible work ethic and true excitement for the industry. She wanted to learn it all and would jump in to help with any task, from wrapping client gifts to cutting flowers to onsite production. She even used her artistic skills on custom chalkboard signs. When she decided to stay on after a full year internship, Brooke was promoted to Production Assistant. As her graduation neared in 2016, the company knew they couldn’t let her go and a completely new position was created. In September 2016, Brooke became KE’s first Design +Production Guru!

It didn’t stop there. Brooke’s ambition and incredible work on the design team earned her a coveted position as a KE Program Manager in 2018. In her role, she gets to combine her creativity and problem-solving skills to flawlessly execute her clients’ events. Outside of events, Brooke’s passionate about staying active and healthy. Whether exploring a new South Florida neighborhood, rollerblading the boardwalk, or just finding the best places for healthy meals, Brooke takes every opportunity she can to keep her health a priority. In this crazy world of events, that might be one of her secrets to success!

Brooke Wilson



Chelsea Fairweather Liston was born and raised in Massachusetts. From an early age, she knew she wanted a career in hospitality, which led her to move down south to study at Florida Atlantic University. Chelsea graduated with a degree in Hospitality/Business Management and upon graduation had a job lined up to be the Event Coordinator at Mizer Country Club in Delray Beach. While working at Mizner Country Club, Chelsea enjoyed learning the ins and outs of the club industry and contributing to the member events. In 2015, Chelsea was recruited to work at a prestigious private country club in Southampton, New York which is where she would spend the next several years. She used the skills that she gained from FAU’s Hospitality Program to excel, become the Clubhouse Manager, and oversee the successful operations of the club.  

Chelsea is now the Membership Development Manager of MHI, the nation’s largest material handling, logistics and supply chain association. In this role, she has been able to elevate member services within the association by using the knowledge and experience she had gained at FAU and throughout her career in the country club industry. She immensely enjoys the mixture of member engagement, event planning, and travel that the job entails, and is looking forward to continuing to grow her career within the company. Chelsea gives many thanks to FAU’s hospitality program which gave her the opportunity to have a gratifying and successful career path.

Chelsea Fairweather Liston



Chelsea Onstott was born and raised in Austin, Texas. During her childhood, Chelsea was actively involved in both competitive swimming and musical theater outside of her academic studies. Her success in the classroom and pool brought her to South Florida to study at Florida Atlantic University. A full-time student-athlete, Chelsea was honored to compete for 4 years as part of the FAU Swimming & Diving team and served as captain her senior year.

Chelsea planned many events for clubs and teams she belonged to in her younger years. During her freshman year at FAU, she took a course in Hospitality and Tourism. During that semester, Chelsea fell in love with the course. She graduated with a bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA) with a double major in both Hospitality and Tourism Management and Marketing.

During her time at FAU, she found valuable opportunities through the Hospitality and Tourism email job postings from Dr. Ricci. She volunteered for local events as well as served as an intern with The Perfect Pairing – an events company. Upon graduation, she served as an independent travel agent before beginning her career in hotels. After gaining invaluable experience as a Sales Assistant at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, she is thrilled to begin her management career as the SMERF Sales Manager at the GALLERYone- a DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Chelsea looks forward to continuing her growth within the Hilton family. Her ultimate career goal is to become a successful Director of Sales and Marketing for a large resort.

Chelsea Onsott



Chiara Tacca-Hess graduated cum laude with BBA degrees in both Marketing and Hospitality and Tourism Management. She started her career in hospitality at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau as a communications intern and then transitioned into the Hotel industry. As a front desk agent at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, Chiara was able to put into action the fundamentals she learned in FAU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. She was quickly promoted to Sales & Catering Coordinator at the GALLERYone- a DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel. After being promoted to Catering Sales Manager and then to Senior Catering Sales Manager, Chiara took on another exciting role to be on the pre-opening team of the Hilton West Palm Beach. As the Senior Catering Sales Manager, Chiara was tasked with generating new business, growing the local catering budget and driving customer experience scores by developing and implementing successful action plans.

Chiara now works at Hilton Corporate as a Special Events Manager where she is responsible for managing, planning, and implementing internal Hilton conferences by working with business partners to understand their objectives, messaging, requirements, budget, and timelines in order to plan the scope of the event and create the event strategy. These events include large conventions of up to 10,000 people, Vendor Showcases/Trade Shows with multiple General Sessions, learning tracks, break-out sessions, off-site events, and meal functions.

Chiara is most proud of earning Hilton’s Circle of Excellence Award in 2014 and again 2017. This is Hilton’s most prestigious sales award that is measured on sales excellence.

The FAU College of Business, its Hospitality and Tourism Management Program, and Dr. Peter Ricci have all been instrumental in setting me up for success in my career. The continued mentorship is a unique value add to my degree that many don’t have the benefit of receiving.


Chiara Tacca-Hess



Cody Locke is the Assistant Front Office Manager (AFOM) at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios Orlando. The Hard Rock is managed by Loews Hotels & Resorts and is part of an ever-growing complex in Orlando.

A native of Gainesville, Florida Cody's interest in tourism and the hotel business started at a young age with family trips. During his first two years of college at Santa Fe State College, he worked at the Best Western Gateway Grand in Gainesville doing anything and everything related to the front desk.

After transferring to FAU and successfully completing the BBA in Hospitality & Tourism Management, Cody received an Assistant General Manager position at the award-winning Santa Maria Suites in Key West. He moved on to become the Front Office Manager (FOM) at the Parrot Key Resort also in Key West prior to his most recent move to Orlando. Cody's long term goal is to become a full service hotel General Manager (GM).

Cody Locke



Colby is a graduate of FAU with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. While attending school full-time, Colby worked full-time in the industry as a Front Desk Agent and Food Runner at Boca Raton hotels.

After graduation, Colby moved to San Diego, CA to begin an internship as a Revenue Analyst with Hilton San Diego. He was offered a full-time Revenue Analyst position, supporting the Revenue Management teams for the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Golf Resort and Hilton San Diego Bayfront Convention hotel, both critically acclaimed hospitality venues.

After 2.5 years in San Diego, Colby was offered a Revenue Manager position for the Hilton Adelaide, the largest hotel in South Australia, where he spent 1.5 years before being promoted to the Assistant Director of Revenue Management position at the Hilton Sydney in New South Wales, Australia.  Working closely with the Director of Business Development, Colby continued developing his skillset with a broader focus on Sales and Marketing, as well as rooms/ F&B Revenue Management.

In August 2016, after 1.5 years at the Hilton Sydney, he assumed the role of Director of Revenue Management for the New York Hilton Midtown, one of Hilton Worldwide’s largest hotels and most dynamic hotels.  During his time in New York, Colby created pace and forecasting tools geared specifically towards Catering and Events that have since been rolled out across the Americas. 

Colby now lives in Anaheim, California, working as the Director of Revenue Management for the Hilton Anaheim – a 1574-room property located next to the Anaheim Convention Center and Disneyland Resort.

Colby Cook



Coral transferred to FAU in 2013 with her Associate of Arts degree from Brevard Community College. All throughout college, she held jobs of different levels at restaurants and hotels in the South Florida area. Her love for creating new ideas and customer service led her to study the Hospitality and Tourism industry. She graduated with a BBA in Management concentrating in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Hospitality in 2015.

During her final semester at FAU, she decided to continue her education and applied for the MBA program at FAU. While working as a Graduate Assistant for Dr. Peter Ricci in the FAU Hospitality and Tourism Program she explored many aspects of the industry for future career paths. When her MBA was completed in 2016, she took her first role as a recruiter for the MBA Hospitality and Tourism program.

This work experience led to a sales and promotions role at Virgin Voyages. Her current title is Account Executive on the Virtual Sales Crew. Coral looks forward to growing in her role at Virgin Voyages. Coral is truly "making waves" in the cruise industry.

Coral Borer



Cory began his hospitality career working in bars and yacht charters. Aspiring to work in the Aviation industry, he got a job with a small Bahamian airline which he loved. After the airline went out of business he searched for opportunities in hotels where he felt he could grow into a management position. He quickly worked his way up over 2 years to a Supervisory position at the front desk of a boutique hotel and continued his career for another 9 years working for some amazing properties including The Luxury Collection, The Seagate, Soho House, and IHG hotels. After a new opportunity at Brightline trains, he knew this was the project for him. Who wouldn’t love being part of a new railroad revolution? After the pandemic, Brightline temporarily closed, and Cory thought it was the right time to start his hospitality business operating luxury short-term rentals around Miami where he is thriving and loving every minute of owning his own accommodations business.


Cory then moved to Miami to begin his career working at Soho Beach house as the Front Office Manager. After that position, he joined the IHG Family at the Crowne Plaza Miami Airport as their Guest Services manager to gain experience in a more fast-paced and larger hotel environment.

Last year, he transferred to their boutique property- The Z Ocean Hotel on South Beach where he currently is the Director of Guest Services. Cory also helps provide high level support to the General Manager and the management team. His career goal is to become a General Manager of a luxury boutique hotel property.

Cory Friedman


Dane Bukovac graduated from FAU in the summer of 2020 with his BBA majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Dane was a member of the FAU Ice Hockey team during college. Graduating in January, 2021, he accepted a role as a front desk agent and part-time night auditor in January 2021 at the Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach. He found the job through the email network that Dr. Ricci has created for students and alumni. The Brazilian Court is a member of "Leading Hotels of the World" - an affiliation group of luxury, boutique independent properties. .

Dane's work ethic and love of guest interaction permitted him to be promoted yet again in May, 2021 this time to Front Office Supervisor. Later that same year in November, he became the Assistant Front Office Manager. His educational foundation both in general business and hospitality management combined with his mastering of guest relations and property management permitted him this fast career movement. Most recently, he was yet again promoted at the same property to fulfill the role of Front Office Manager (November, 2022). Dane recognized the opportunity for growth within the same property and has consistently worked his way up the career ladder. His love of guests - both internal associates and external overnight guests - has taken him rapidly forward in his career.

Dane Bukovac



Daniel Parra graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA) and a major in Hospitality and Tourism Management from FAU. He successfully completed the Disney College Program where he worked in front desk operations at one of their top resorts. This great experience led to a front desk role at The Breakers Palm Beach. Next, he completed his MBA with a concentration in Hospitality and Tourism at Lynn University. He returned to front office leadership roles at Kolter Hospitality at their Hyatt Place properties and served as the Front Office Manager. His desired path is to be a full-service hotel General Manager. As such, he recently transitioned to sales and marketing to learn the next component of full-service operations. His current home is the Wyndham Boca Raton Hotel where he serves as Sales Manager. Daniel hopes to be a General Manager within the next few years.

Daniel Parra



David Viteri graduated with two bachelor's degrees - one in International Business and the second in Hospitality and Tourism Management. After realizing his true love was working within the hospitality sector, he pursued his other passion, digital marketing. He also holds a master's in marketing analytics.

David has held various marketing roles for companies such as Hilton (Boca Raton Resort & Club), Seminole Tribe of Florida (Seminole Casino Coconut Creek and Hard Rock Energy Drink), Cendyn, YouGov, Meta, and currently serving as the Senior Manager of SEO for Marriott. David is an award winning marketer, and over the past 15 years has experience working in agency, start-up, consulting, and in-house.

David believes that the FAU College of Business and, in particular, the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program, will thoroughly prepare individuals by providing real-world experiences in and out of the classroom. The curriculum and leadership of the program align with what the industry is looking for.

David Viteri



Donald Kearns graduated with his bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA) degree in 2013. He majored in Finance and minored in Hospitality and Tourism Management. He secured an entry-level position with the Residence Inn by Marriott in Miramar Florida through one of Dr. Peter Ricci's regular job posting email distributions. His initial role was the Operations Supervisor. He was rather quickly promoted to Operations Manager after only four short months at the property.

A year later, Donald was promoted to Cluster Sales Manager and then Cluster Director of Sales in yet another short year. He has been serving in this role for about five years. His role includes sales and marketing for both Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott.

In 2013, Donald was Awarded Extended Stay Manager of the year by his management company and, later in 2015, the Impact Sales Manager. Both awards were presented to him by White Lodging one of the world's leading hotel management companies. For further career information about White Lodging, please visit: careers

Donald Kearns is a very proud FAU alumnus and started his entire career and successful path in the lodging industry from one of our many Employer Partner job postings that the Hospitality and Tourism program distributes!

Donald Kearns



Haley graduated with honors with a BBA in Hospitality Management and a certificate in Meetings and Events Management in the spring of 2021.

During her years at FAU, she took advantage of every opportunity to begin her career in the hospitality industry. Through the program’s extensive network of employers, she was given her first opportunity to begin her hotel career at the Hyatt Place in Delray Beach while attending classes on campus. She then completed the Disney College Program in the spring of 2019, and from there went on to work a summer position with Xanterra Travel Collection in Yellowstone National Park. After an exciting study abroad experience in Ireland and getting a taste for travel and for what the industry had to offer, she chose to switch to FAU’s excellent online hospitality program to pursue career opportunities throughout the United States. From there, amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, she accepted a summer position with Vail Resort’s Grand Teton Lodge Company. She was then promoted to Front Office Supervisor at Vail’s Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado while still earning her degree.

Through taking advantage of FAU’s online courses, Haley was able to make her education her own, get a head start on her career, and pursue her passions all over the country with the support of her professors. After graduation, Haley went on to continue her career with Vail Resorts and is excited for the opportunities to come! Go Owls!

Haley Rosenboom image



I was born and raised in the Florida Keys, and I have always known I wanted to pursue a career in hospitality. I started at FAU in the fall of 2015 and quickly joined a learning community with other students pursuing a business/hospitality degree. The program was great, it placed me with students with similar goals as mine and it even landed me in the first of three classes that I would eventually take, with Dr. Ricci.

I had been working as a server for 4 years at this point and eventually made the decision to leave the nightly cash tips behind and get my foot in the door at a hotel as a Guest Service Representative. I worked for Ocean Properties at a boutique resort for a year and then joined White Lodging at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale West. I started as a Guest Representative with White Lodging, 3 months later, I was promoted to Front Office Supervisor, and 6 months after that, promoted to Front Office Manager. All while attending school full time. I learned how to strategically schedule my classes and manage my time and lecture capture courses were a lifesaver.

I continued my journey at FAU, eventually graduating in 2020 with my bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. A pandemic graduate!

I continued with White Lodging through the pandemic and am still with them today. In the past 5 years with the company, I have opened a couple of our properties in Louisville and have supported 8 others in all different markets. Some of my favorites have been The Westin Milwaukee, San Antonio Marriott, and our luxury Dude Ranch, Brush Creek Ranch, in Wyoming. I have worked in Front Office, Food and Beverage, Housekeeping, you name it.

 I now live in Minneapolis and now serve as the Corporate Rooms Trainer for White Lodging. I am responsible for ensuring a clear understanding of the White Lodging protocols for execution consistency across the portfolio.

I have always praised the Hospitality program at FAU for having true professionals as professors. These professors were able to offer genuine advice and knowledge from real-world experience. I will always be FAU proud. GO OWLS!

Hannah Snoddy




Jeffrey started his career at FAU in the pre-business Learning Community (LC) taught by Dr. Peter Ricci. Exposed to hospitality and the variety of career opportunities during the learning community experience, Jeff was added to the Hospitality & Tourism job listing, where he quickly found a great match for an internship. His first position as an intern was with Marriot Vacation Club's Ocean Pointe in Singer Island. This opportunity brought out his love for the hospitality industry and, in particular, for guest service.

After successfully concluding the internship, Jeffrey accepted a position as the Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Boca Raton. During his time there, he helped rebrand the hotel's restaurant - the 53rd St Grille and Bar. During his time at the Embassy Suites, Jeff graduated with his Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality and Tourism Management. A year after his graduation, he was offered a position as a Guest Service Supervisor with Hilton Worldwide at its corporate-managed property, the GALLERYone DoubleTree Suites in Ft. Lauderdale. After winning Employee of the year, Jeffrey was offered the opportunity to work with The Bahia Mar- a Doubletree by Hilton as the Assistant Front Office Manager, becoming the Front Office Manager only six months into his endeavor. Jeffrey enjoyed being an integral part of his hotel's efforts in hosting the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, and his ability to lead helped him secure a role with the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina as the Assistant Director of Front Office, where he worked for two impactful years.

To diversify his experience and develop a keen understanding of pre-opening a hotel with five-star luxury service, Jeffrey took a position with the prestigious Lotte Hotel Seattle as the Front Office Manager. He worked through the many obstacles the Covid-19 pandemic threw hoteliers’ way and successfully opened Lotte Hotel Seattle to critical acclaim by earning a top ten ranking in the Reader’s Choice Travel Awards "Best New Hotels". 

Only a short time after being in Seattle, Hilton recruited him back once again and now he’s the Front Office Manager (FOM) of the Hilton Seattle. Jeffrey aims to become a General Manager of a full-service hotel and eventually become a franchisee of his own.

Jeffrey Katz



John is a graduate with a BBA in Hospitality Management. After spending 20 years in retail and retail management positions, he became more interested in the hospitality side of the guest service industry and pursued his BBA degree.

He has worked with the Embassy Suites in Boca Raton for the past 3 years in various roles of Front Desk Agent, Front Desk Supervisor, and now Accounting Assistant to the Controller.

John's goal is to become a General Manager of a full-service hotel.

John Martin



I did not take a traditional path when I graduated in 2014 Cum Laude with a BBA in Hospitality and Tourism major. The BBA allowed me to take a unique path that I'd like to share with fellow students.

I'm a Fort Lauderdale native and started as a busboy and food runner during high school at The River House Restaurant. It's a historical home turned restaurant located on the Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Ironically, I later worked in another home-turned-restaurant during my career.

I had a son at the age of 18 and did not start college immediately after high school. At the age of 21, I was awarded full custody of my son and I needed to work full time to pay bills and support the two of us. Like many who will read this, the FAU style of education was perfect for me because it permits us to work, go to school, learn, and have a family life simultaneously.

The restaurant industry permitted me to grow from busboy and food runner to bar back, server, bartender, and into management. Along the path, I met some highly influential managers who truly cared about leaving people better than they found them. I realized that not only could I make a living out of hospitality, I could make it a career and like those who helped me, I could also help those who came after me. 

The paths in restaurants are many and varied. You can enter with zero experience and learn along the way. Managers inspired me, pushed me along, helped me during tough times, and permitted me to make mistakes. I was provided the opportunity during the BBA at FAU to get a job at The Boca Raton Resort & Club, now called The Boca Raton. I moved through food & beverage positions and into management.

Most recently, I serve as the General Manager (GM) at DADA Restaurant in Delray Beach, the second restaurant converted from a former home. DADA is a very successful Delray spot that has become busier and more profitable during the past several years. My last day there was just recently in 2021 as I have now been promoted within the same company to Chief Operating Officer (COO).

As you'll learn during your pursuit of a degree in hospitality and tourism, the future is WIDE open. It's your own method of humility, continual learning, being yourself, and having a positive attitude that can get you to where you want to be. My goal is to leave everyone slightly better than where I met them. This photo is of my last day as the GM of DADA onward to my promotion ahead.




Jordan got his foot-in-the-hospitality-door working part-time as a Golf Pro Shop Attendant at a Palm Beach Gardens Country Club while a senior in high school. Jordan rose the stakes while attending FAU, increasing his workload to full-time in pursuit of his bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management.

Post-graduation, Jordan accepted Server and Card Room Attendant positions at Ballenisles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Through hard work and dedication, Jordan earned various promotions, from Purchasing Analyst to Receiving Clerk for Purchasing to Food & Beverage Analyst.

Jordan's most recent promotion has earned him the title of Food & Beverage Controller, a position he holds to this day. Jordan has many daily responsibilities, including overseeing the receiving team, creating purchase orders, receiving product deliveries from vendors, month-end inventory, and handling invoices, and he also works closely with the Executive Chef, Property Controller, and Clubhouse Manager. Jordan admittedly loves his job and strives to continually improve his near-thirty-million-dollar property.

Jordan Carltrider



Jordan Horowitz graduated from FAU with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a minor in Hospitality & Tourism Management. Further, he pursued his certificate in Meetings & Events Management. He is also a brother of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

At age 15, Jordan started working in the Games Department at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. During his eight-season tenure, he succeeded in multiple management roles which helped him sharpen his leadership skills.

In Spring 2012, Jordan completed Walt Disney World’s College Program Internship and then, in Fall 2014, became FAU’s first ever Event & Marketing Intern with Chartwells on campus. In Spring 2015, upon graduation, Jordan was chosen from 37,000 applicants to be accepted into Walt Disney World’s Management Internship where he helped lead a team of over one hundred at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

After ‘graduating’ from Disney, Jordan returned home to the tri-state area and went on to work for Enterprise Rent-A-Car for two years where he fell in love with the art of sales. Jordan is currently working at ADP in NYC selling a comprehensive HR solution to small and medium-sized companies.

In addition to his full time job, Jordan invented a product and started a company called Toweltote. After arriving at the beach in July of 2018, Jordan realized he forgot everything he needed for a full day of sun. He found himself laying on the sand for three hours. “Why can’t my towel just be my bag!?” he yelled, & with that, Toweltote was born.

Jordan Horowitz




Lacey Guercia graduated in 2009 with a BBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management. After her freshman year of college at the University of Central Florida, she decided to transfer to Florida Atlantic University to pursue a business-backed hospitality degree. During her very first hospitality course with Dr. Peter Ricci, she was tasked with a class project to do a paper interview with a hospitality industry professional.  The project sought an interview with a working professional in the hospitality industry who had a current role that Lacey might be interested to do for a future career. Lacey had always wanted to be a Wedding Planner. Through mutual connections, she was able to interview the Catering Manager for the GALLERYone – a DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. During her interview, the General Manager overheard her conversation and asked if she would like to consider instead working in Human Resources as a Coordinator. Even though it was not in the field she was interested in, Lacey did not want to pass up the opportunity to get her foot in the door. 

This began Lacey's career in Hospitality and Human Resources. While attending FAU full-time she also worked full time and was able to build a close relationship with the corporate office with Hilton. She worked at the Doubletree and was also invited to go to Orlando to help open three new Hilton properties: Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, and the Hilton Orlando Convention Center.  As part of this human resources task force, she helped hire over 1000 people and quickly honed her HR skill set.

Eager to gain more exposure in the HR world, Lacey transitioned into the private club industry in 2010 as the Human Resources Generalist for Addison Reserve Country Club, recognized as a Platinum Club of America and a Distinguished Elite Club of the World. Here she was able to gain knowledge and experience in various HR tasks such as Payroll, Benefits Administration, Workers Compensation, and an International Visa Program. She was later promoted to Training & Recruitment Manager. 

In June of 2018, Lacey was offered her first senior-level role as a Director of Human Resources at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa. In a short period of time, she has implemented a new orientation program, reduced turnover, increased employee engagement, and helped achieve record high guest satisfaction survey results for the property. To date, Lacey is actively involved in guest speaking to students at FAU and attributes her professional growth and development to the FAU Hospitality and Tourism Management Program and to Dr. Peter Ricci. 






Lili began at FAU with the goal of earning an associate degree and then transferring to culinary school. She quickly changed her mind after trying out a few hospitality courses and changed her major to Hospitality and Tourism Management.

She enrolled in HFT 3741 (Meeting & Event Management) with Instructor Stella Quintero who urged students to attend 2 industry networking events. Lili chose an event happening in Miami for Meeting Professionals International (MPI) where she quickly learned that event careers combine all her favorite things and skills – design, food, people, and being ridiculously organized.

At that MPI event, she was introduced to the team at A2 Events, a local Corporate Event Company, and accepted an internship for her final semester at FAU. Her internship included sourcing, planning, and contracting processes as well as working onsite at various events.

Post-graduation, she accepted a position as a Creative Program Designer with ACCESS Florida. She has moved up into the role of Sales Manager and is working with clients, planning events, executing events, and helping with creativity throughout South Florida's many outstanding events and conference/convention venues.

Professionally, she continues to grow and currently sits on the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Board of Directors for its South Florida Chapter in the role of Director of Marketing & Communications.

Lili Ory Headshot



Linsey Barrett graduated in the Fall of 2017 with majors in Marketing and Hospitality & Tourism Management plus a minor in Business Law. While at FAU, Linsey was Vice President of the FAU Women’s Lacrosse Club, a member of the National Honors Society of Success and Leadership, member of Owl Breaks Lead & Serve Organization. In the hospitality industry, she was a student member of Meeting Professionals International South Florida Chapter.

Linsey started her Hospitality Marketing career as an intern with Discover The Palm Beaches and was quickly promoted within a short time to Specialist in Global Sales & Destination Services. Linsey is an avid volunteer with the Special Olympics, Buddy Walk, Autism Speaks, and National Down Syndrome Society among others.

Linsey Barrett



Mary began her career as a Front Desk Agent at the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale East while working towards her bachelor’s in business administration (BBA) at FAU. She was enamored by the challenges and excitement of day-to-day hotel operations. With a newfound desire to “turn frowns upside down” and a passion for business Mary decided to pursue a career in hospitality.

In 2008 she began working at the newly opened Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach where she found an opportunity for new experiences and growth. During her tenure, she became the acting manager on duty for the hotel, employee of the year, and President of the CARE Committee for associate engagement. Upon graduating from FAU in 2010 she was promoted to Front Office Manager and quickly achieved Manager of the Quarter.

As her passion for people and the hotel industry continued to grow, she accepted an opportunity at the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale East/Lauderdale-by-the-Sea as an Operations Manager in 2013. In her new role, she managed the Front Desk, Sales, and the Courtyard Bistro restaurant. In 2015 she was promoted to the General Manager position and is responsible for all hotel operations, maintaining guest satisfaction, and achieving financial goals.

As a General Manager, Mary continues to recognize the importance of education and her passion has brought her back to FAU for her Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She intends to expand her knowledge through FAU’s MBA program and continue growing within the Hospitality and Tourism industry.

Mary Apple



Michael Provenzano started a career in the Marketing industry during his junior year as an Account Executive for a local online advertising agency. After spending 10 months in marketing sales, he realized that his passion would likely fall elsewhere. As fate would have it, it was the summer after he left his job that he decided to take Introduction to Hospitality Management with Dr. Peter Ricci. Although the seeds of interest had already been sown, this class with Dr. Ricci was what convinced Michael that the hospitality industry would be his calling. Michael began to pursue a bachelor’s in Business Administration in Hospitality & Tourism Management to complement his other bachelor’s in Marketing; he successfully completed both bachelor’s degrees in 2016.

Eager to begin his career in hospitality somewhere different than sunny south Florida, Michael began to apply for jobs at major ski resorts in Utah and Colorado a month before his graduation date. Although many opportunities presented themselves prematurely, he finally accepted a concierge position at the Doubletree by Hilton in Breckenridge Colorado on the day of his final class with Dr. Ricci. Wasting little time, Michael moved to Breckenridge, Colorado on August 14th, a mere 5 days after his graduation. He has a strong belief that hospitality and ski resorts will remain his passion in the years to come and aspires to have a ski resort of his own someday.




My passion for the industry and my academic background in Marketing and Hospitality Management from Florida Atlantic University have propelled my success in the field. Starting as a Digital Marketing Intern at Cendyn in 2012, I quickly worked my way up the ranks to become a Strategic Planning Associate in 2013. That same year, I was promoted again to the role of Digital Strategist. After my time at Cendyn, I transitioned from agency to hotel management as an eCommerce Manager for Baywood Hotels. Later, I had the opportunity to expand my skill set and take on Business Development at Baywood Hotels. In 2017, I pursued further knowledge and became a certified Revenue Manager for both Hilton and Marriott hotels, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the industry from all angles.

Returning to my roots in hotel marketing, I joined Faena Group in 2019 as a Digital Marketing Manager for their Luxury Resort portfolio, overseeing properties in Miami and Argentina. In January 2020, I founded Razib Marketing, a comprehensive digital marketing company focused on independent boutique hotels.

I possess a diverse skill set that includes social media advertising, web analytics, SEO, and OTA management, positioning me as a leader in the hospitality industry. My revenue management certifications from Hilton and Marriott further solidifies my expertise.

Recognizing the disconnect between revenue management and digital marketing in independent hotels and resorts, I founded Razib Marketing to provide tailored solutions to their needs. The company has since become a respected name in the hospitality industry, serving a diverse clientele.

My dedication and innovative approach have made me an influential figure in the hospitality industry, driving revenue growth for clients ranging from luxury resorts to select-service hotels. I am committed to continuing to make a significant impact in the industry as a hospitality marketing maverick and the driving force behind Razib Marketing. 

Mohammed Razib



Nichelle Jackson graduated from FAU with a BBA in Management and double minors in both Operations Management and Hospitality and Tourism Management. She also received certificates in Hospitality Management and Meeting and Event Management.

In Nichelle’s freshman year of college, she began working her first job at FAU’s Student Union. She began as a set crew staff member and later was promoted to Operations Manager. At the beginning of her senior year, she was promoted again as the Student Director of Logistics where she oversaw 14 Set Crew Staff. She also interned with the Fairfield Inn by Marriott franchised property in Boca Raton. In her last semester, she worked part-time for Chartwells on the FAU campus.

Upon graduation, Nichelle was hired in a Manager in Training (MIT) program with Ocean Properties Limited based out of their regional office in Delray Beach, Florida. Her home property is the Residence Inn by Marriott in Delray Beach, Florida. She will be in the program for 12-18 months.

In the future, Nichelle desires a career in hotel catering & events management, but she remains open to all careers and learning opportunities in the hospitality industry.

Nichelle Jackson



Nicole started at FAU in 2011 as an undecided major and soon realized the Hospitality and Tourism Industry was for her. After completing high school with a culinary arts degree at Atlantic Technical Center in Coconut Creek, Florida, she found out that the day-to-day chef's work was not her end goal, but she wanted to stay within the overall hospitality business in a role more to her liking. Nicole (and her twin sister!) both graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management from FAU  in 2015. The very same week she started her official career as a Sales Coordinator at GalleryOne Doubeltree by Hilton in Fort Lauderdale. While a student at FAU, Nicole also gained previous experience at the Hyatt Place brand as a Gallery Host (front desk associate) and, later, a Manager Development Program (MDP) at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

After 1 year as a sales coordinator, Nicole was promoted to sales manager. Nicole looks forward to growing within the Hilton family of brands and honing her sales skills.

Nicole Wengert



Nico DiPerna started his educational journey at FAU High School and transitioned to FAU’s Hospitality and Tourism program. Throughout his college and high school experience, he worked in the cruise industry as the Disney Specialist for WMPH (We Make People Happy) Vacations, where he “made people happy” by booking magical vacations for all of his clients. During his time at FAU, Nico made a name for himself as the Boardwalk Bus Greeter through the Disney College Program, even receiving a letter of commendation from Walt Disney World’s president, George Kalogridis.

After graduating in 2016, Nico went on to start Magic Carpet Concierge, a full-service travel concierge specializing in private tours, cruises, and all things Disney. Nico honed his service skills through managing and owning a few restaurants, and discovered his passion was being an entrepreneur. Since then, he has founded the Magic Carpet Cookie Company, as well as grown his original business, Magic Carpet Concierge. Nico is also currently a licensed Realtor working in the South Florida market! His passion for excellence in guest service shines through in all his endeavors!

Nico DiPerna


Rachael Ponzan, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, came to the South Florida coast for her Hospitality & Tourism Management studies at FAU in 2006. She started working at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in activities & events during her senior year of the BBA program. Upon graduation, she moved onward and upward in food & beverage at the Resort staying within the Hilton family for almost four years.

Her underlying love of marketing took her next to CENDYN where she joined their digital advertising team. Working with resorts, hotels, and casinos, she has grown from an entry-level position to VP, Client Management & Operations overseeing Digital Advertising including the Accounts, SEM, Strategy, Social, and Ad Operations teams. Her job includes build-outs, planning project executions, growing online marketing strategies and presence, and so on and so forth.

Rachael, her husband, and twin boys enjoy going to the beach, playing with their rescue pup and volunteering. She is currently a volunteer with the Junior League of Boca Raton.

Rachael Ponzan



After pursuing his bachelor's in Business Administration (BBA) degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Richard Hess moved quickly to senior management in the hospitality industry. His first stop was as Operations Manager for AVIS Rent a Car in Ft. Lauderdale. 
Next, he moved to a Hilton corporate-managed property as Assistant Director of Housekeeping at the beautiful Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and Spa.

While there, he assumed the roles of Assistant Director of the Front Office and Food & Beverage Manager. He was recognized as Manager of the Year at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.

He left Hilton Worldwide briefly to get a "new hotel opening experience" at the Marriott Pompano Beach/Fort Lauderdale Resort and Spa managed by URGO Hotels. He served in the leadership role of Director of the Front Office for this property once it opened.

Richard returned to Hilton Worldwide as his career goals included a desire to work in luxury properties. He then joined their luxury division as Director of the Front Office at the world-famous Boca Raton Resort & Club. Richard continued his ascent through various leadership roles at the Resort and quickly moved to the Director of Rooms Operations role.

He worked closely with the property's General Manager overseeing the operations of the Beach Club and ensuring satisfaction among the 7,800 Members and the Hotel Guests. Richard then moved to the Waldorf Astoria Chicago as the Hotel Manager, where he worked closely with the team and led them in the drive to be a top 10 hotel in Chicago on Trip Advisor, ascending 25 spots. He now is the Hotel Manager at the stunning Hilton Orlando, overseeing 800 team members at one of the 8 largest properties Hilton has. 

Richard strives for continued success in his hospitality career and desires to attain the role of General Manager soon. He has a deep passion for Florida Atlantic University as he met his wife in the college of business and enjoys seeing the growth of the Hospitality and Tourism Program under the leadership of Dr. Peter Ricci. Richard is also honored to be the Chairman of the Junior Advisory board for the College of Business (COB) at Florida Atlantic University.

Richard Hess



In July 2017, Sabrina Schmid signed up for FAU’s Certificate in Hospitality & Tourism Management where she discovered her passion for the hospitality industry. Since childhood, Sabrina had a strong passion for the cruise industry and was eager to learn more about the tourism industry in general...especially since she was living in South Florida. In January 2018, she enrolled in FAU’s Executive MBA program taking the specialization in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She completed her degree in December 2019.

For her concentration during the Executive MBA program, the Hospitality & Tourism Management path was her perfect choice! With courses in Guest Service, Services Marketing, Hospitality Operations, and Meetings and Events Management - all combined toward her career dream of working in the hospitality industry. Her favorite class was Dr. Ricci’s Excellence in Guest Service Management which helped her see the hospitality industry with different eyes. The class helped her to understand the fundamentals of hospitality, knowledge she is now using daily in her job. During her MBA course, she was working on an independent research study with Professors Dr. Ricci and Mr. Greg Bohan analyzing the feasibility of the Bed & Breakfast Industry in Southeast Florida.

During her MBA program, she was awarded HSMAI’s (Hospitality of Sales and Marketing Association International) Dr. Peter Ricci scholarship which allowed her to participate in FAU’s International study trip to Uruguay and Argentina further expanding her knowledge of the global hospitality industry.

Her experience and networking during the Executive MBA program led to a sales and marketing role as “Cruise Account Executive” with Regent Seven Seas Cruises which is part of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. An FAU alumnus seeks hires into this role due to his own great experience in the FAU Hospitality and Tourism program. This was the perfect match! Sabrina looks forward to growing in her role within the company and traveling the world. 

Sabrina Schmid



Shannon's career and interest in hospitality began when she worked as a Front Office Supervisor at two Marriott properties in South Florida. She came to FAU to then study for a BBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management. While here at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), she accepted an internship with the Office of Advancement which led to her first full-time position in the events industry...Event Coordinator.   

While at FAU, Shannon continued her growth and movement toward being a true events professional. She became the Assistant Director of Special Event, primarily working with alumni for engagement-type events. She managed all events and rental space and coordination at the FAU Marleen & Harold Forkas Alumni Center.

She was promoted to her current position as Associate Director of Advancement Events at FAU. As the associate director, she now oversees all advancement events and leads a team of event planning professionals. They work collaboratively with Institutional Advancement and the overall university programs and departments to produce special events that impact critical areas of donor relations, alumni relations, and the President's Office.

In addition to her busy work schedule, Shannon has taken the path toward lifelong learning, completing a master's degree in Higher Education/Leadership. She is also a certified Crowd Manager.

    Shannon Vollrath


Talya Alhadeff was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was ten. From a young age, Talya traveled domestically and abroad extensively, especially during her summer breaks. As a result of her travels, she formed an affinity for comparing her various experiences, particularly concerning the hospitality service she encountered along the way. It did not take long for her to decide that hospitality was naturally the profession she wanted to pursue.

Florida Atlantic proved to be the perfect University to attend to learn about the hospitality profession. In particular, what drew Talya to FAU was the business aspect of the program. FAU's ability to ensure that the hospitality and business components are incorporated into the curriculum provided a unique perspective not found elsewhere.

Through courses taught at FAU under Dr. Peter Ricci's mentorship, Talya could follow her dream of working in the hospitality industry by gaining knowledge and experience via various academic and internship opportunities. Talya completed a summer internship at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, which solidified that going the "private country club" route was her career path of choice.

In May 2012, Talya graduated from FAU with a bachelor's in Business Administration (BBA) with a major in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Post graduation, she had the opportunity to work at some of the top private clubs in South Florida, beginning with Addison Reserve Country Club, which is currently ranked as the #5 Platinum Club in America. While at Addison Reserve, Talya was the Membership Assistant and Food & Beverage Coordinator. During these two distinct roles, she realized her passion for Membership.  

Utilizing her experiences during her six years at Addison Reserve as a launching pad, Talya joined Mizner Country Club in Delray Beach, Florida, as the Membership Coordinator. Throughout her three years at Mizner, she was mentored closely by her Director of Membership and General Manager to fully understand what it would take to achieve the next step in her career. During this time, Talya also took the opportunity to enhance her skills and knowledge of the latest trends and industry standards by completing the FAU Hospitality and Tourism Management class offered online during COVID.

Talya is currently the Director of Membership and Communications at Aberdeen Golf & Country Club in Boynton Beach, Florida, where she continually strives to enhance the member's experience. Talya is always looking for new ways to be an extraordinary leader and grow personally and professionally.  





Tara Wengert graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BBA in Hospitality & Tourism Management from FAU in 2015. She started working at the front desk and moved her way into sales. She has experience as a front desk agent, front desk supervisor, and sales assistant before being promoted 1 year later to Event Services Manager.  

Tara was just recently promoted to Catering Manager at her current property. She hopes to continue learning more about catering and events in her new position and wants to continue growing with Hilton. Tara has also been the recipient of numerous hospitality scholarships including AH&LEF Tourism Cares, and HSMAI. Most recently, Tara completed her MBA with a specialization in Hospitality and Tourism Management also at FAU. 




Theo's first job was at a small family-owned restaurant in Connecticut where he worked as a cook through his senior year of high school and his first two years of college. Shortly after transferring to Florida Atlantic University, he got a job at The Capital Grille in Boca Raton where he worked part time for two years. It was these jobs and his family’s background in the hospitality industry (his sister owns a restaurant and his grandfather owned a travel agency) that inspired him to want to pursue a career in this industry as well. 

Theo initially chose finance as his major because he believed that it would open the door to a broad range of high paying professional career opportunities that are in high demand. Furthermore, he believed a financial education to be of the upmost importance for everyone to have at least a basic understanding of to lead a successful life. Closer to graduation, he made the decision to pursue a career in hospitality as it was something he was far more passionate about. Theo was introduced to the Marriott Voyage Program and recently accepted an offer as a rooms operations voyager at the Ritz Carlton in South Beach. 

Theo is planning on returning to FAU after the completion of the Voyage program to obtain his MBA with a specialization in hospitality and tourism management. He believes this degree will set him apart in the industry by combining his undergraduate business studies with the professional work experience in hospitality that he will gain with Marriott. 




As a passionate hotelier, Todd has followed a diverse path through hospitality. Having graduated with a bachelor’s in Marketing, his first role was helping a boutique hotel group in Thailand with its public relations efforts. Upon returning to the states, Todd began working in Event Management for several west coast properties. As a Convention Services Manager at a Sheraton in Los Angeles, Todd managed both corporate and social events and assisted with the hotel’s business travel and group sales endeavors. With an interest in destination travel, he then worked at Tenaya Lodge, one of the forefront lodges in the Sierra Nevada and set on the doorsteps of Yosemite National Park. At the lodge, Todd was a Conference Services Manager, designing and fulfilling large corporate retreats and incentive travel for Bay Area tech. 

With a desire to build a career in corporate hospitality, Todd relocated to South Florida in 2017 to continue his education at Florida Atlantic. He graduated from FAU in 2019 with an MBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management, and with this degree, he began exploring the analytical side of the industry. As the Revenue Manager at Acqualina Resort & Residences, his role was to maximize the resort’s yield and to use the property’s celebrated reputation as an incentive across all channels and demographics. 

Todd is now working in Arizona for a hotel asset management trust called Caliber Wealth Development. He is an avid supporter of FAU’s hospitality curriculum and its professional MBA program and hopes to use his master’s to further build a career in resort ownership and investment. 



Tony Perrotta attended culinary school at the Art Institutes of America while completing his bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from FAU.

During this time he was a server at a few different restaurants & nightclubs, hoping to move into management along the way.  He realized he was going to have to create his own path as he did not have the opportunities he had hoped for in pursuing management. 

Growing up, Tony was very active in athletics, said he was always hungry, which is part of the reason he was inspired to learn to cook great tasting food.  He had a certain love for waffles that his mother made for him.  Fast forward to his desire to jump all in once realizing that his serving positions did not offer progress to career growth, he was encouraged by friends to share his delicious sweet and savory, dessert and entree waffles.  He created Tonys Waffles, and began going to events and selling his waffles. This eventually grew into full time work as he started doing pop ups and catering events.  Eventually he decided to invest in his own food truck to expand his business even further, which has since evolved in to setting up at music events, Miami Dolphins games, and various festivals in Miami, Tortuga, Okeechobee, and other South Florida events.  

He admits that the life of a chef is not always easy and there are difficult times along the path, but he loves the work and the gratification he gets at the end of each day  which in turn has made every step worth it for him.  He plans to turn his passion and his concept into a store front location in the near future, where he can continue to share his love for providing great food and meeting new people, working in this industry that brings him great joy.


Tony Perrotta



Trey was the first in his family to attend college, graduating in 2008 with a BBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management from FAU. Before graduating, while in the middle of the Great Recession, Dr. Peter Ricci helped him secure his first hotel job at the beautiful and brand-new St. Regis Fort Lauderdale (now the Ritz-Carlton), in the events department as an Executive Meeting Specialist.

Shortly thereafter, Trey moved to Georgia assisting with the pre-opening of St. Regis Atlanta as a Meetings Butler while finishing his degree online at FAU. His next higher position was outside Starwood with Hilton Worldwide selling the SMERF (social, military, education, religious, and fraternal) markets for both the Embassy Suites and Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Centennial Park where he became a top producer. Because of his strong sales acumen, as well as high production, he was next recruited by Marriott International in 2011 to sell groups of 10-99 rooms at peak for their Southeast Group Sales Office full-service hotels. Since then, he has held several sales roles within Marriott including Atlanta Marriott Marquis, JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes, Orlando World Center Marriott, and most recently Sr. Sales Executive at the 2,270 room Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort (Marriott-managed) selling groups 700+ rooms on the peak for the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic markets.

When asked to provide one piece of career advice, Trey said to believe in yourself, never let anyone’s opinion steer your career path, and take calculated risks.

Tery Gellis
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