Years in the Industry
I started bartending over 25 years ago, bartending my way through college. Currently I am a full time enthusiast. I like being able to give back to the industry that set the table for the rest of my career.
Where did you grow up, and what was it like there?
I spent the first half of my life growing up on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan in Muskegon, MI. It was a great place to grow up. The beaches are beautiful and I looked forward to every summer. It was also where I got my first bartending job on the sightseeing boat, the Port City Princess.
Favorite childhood memory?
Backpacking with my parents at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior when I was 5 or 6. I remember we were chased by a moose when we got a little too close, and it was my first time flying in a sea plane to get to the island.
Where do you work & what do you there?
I work as a Regional Sales Rep for Land N Sea Distributing, selling recreational boating parts and accessories to boat dealers in five states in the Northeast. I've been with the company for 18 years and during that time moved several times to different markets. My last move was to Pittsburgh, PA almost 8 years ago, and that's the longest I've lived in any one place since I moved away from home after college.
What is the most rewarding part of your career?
Similar to the hospitality industry, my career is about providing the best experience I can for my customers. The lessons I learned early on in hospitality have helped me to connect with my customers. It's satisfying to me to know that I play a small but important role in the success of my customer's businesses.
What is your favorite bartending moment?
I can tell you what I miss. I work out of an office now, so I'm pretty much on my own everyday. I miss the camaraderie of working close with a team.
What do you do to relax outside of work?
I enjoy entertaining my friends. I have hosted pig roasts and shrimp boils, and like having my house or backyard filled with friends eating, drinking, and having a great time. I also enjoy smoking cigars with friends. It's great, I think of it the same as enjoying a meal. It takes time to finish, shouldn't be rushed, and encourages conversation.
Tell us about your dream vacation.
Traveling Japan. What a rich history! I really appreciate the ceremonial way they approach cooking and drinking. It's a trip in the works.
"Success requires three bones" wishbone, backbone, and funnybone!" haha
Advice you could offer to others:
Whatever you do won't become a career until you start treating it like a career.
Who do you look up to and why?
People with passion! Because it's infectious!
Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself that we might not know.
I like fernet... a lot. Not unique? I have tattoos. Still not unique? How about the 1904 Vintage Fernet Mermaids Poster tattooed on my arm? Yeah, I got that.
What does the future hold for you?
I see Pittsburgh has become my home. So I guess it's time to make more permanent roots in this adopted city. Always looking for the next opportunity.
What's your favorite part of usbg.org?
My chapter's page! As an officer in the Pittsburgh Chapter, we try to use the resources that are available to us to the fullest. Come check it out!
What is your favorite joke?
Morning traffic! Haha! I've been told I'm 'crazy to live in the city, with all of that traffic!' Then I leave in the morning and watch all of the suburbanites stuck in traffic coming into the city while I cruise on out! How sweet it is!
What is your favorite word?
What turns you on?
Smile, great attitude, and sense of humor.
What other profession would you like to attempt?
Standup Comedian (a paid one,) or maybe a novelist (also a paid one).
What other profession would you never try?
What personal attribute of yours do you most appreciate?
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
"Every dog you ever owned has been waiting for you. Let the games begin!"