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Brian Vess is a 2017 International Gold & Silver Plate Society stipend recipient. He attends the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is majoring in Hospitality Management. Find out what he had to say when we asked him a few questions about his foodservice stipend and future career.



What is your major & what made you decide on it?
I’m majoring in Hospitality Management. I decided upon this major because of the ability to create an impact in people’s lives on a day to day basis. I believe that the hospitality industry provides one of the greatest settings to continue to learn and develop both professionally and personally. I also look forward to the fun of connecting and socializing with people from all different walks of life that the hospitality industry provides. It’s incredibly exciting to get the opportunity to work in such a dynamic field where no two days will ever be the same.

How has your stipend enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
This stipend has enabled me to pursue a career in foodservice as it has decreased the stress that I have about being able to afford tuition and room and board. It has provided me the financial backing to continue my education and allowed me to focus more on schoolwork, community involvement, and completing my internship. It’s also rewarding to see that my hard work is recognized and that I have support from industry professionals. This has inspired me to pursue a lifelong career in the foodservice industry.

What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in foodservice was as an Event Coordinator at Bear Creek Golf World in Katy, TX. This was my first experience being involved directly with foodservice after spending years as a golf professional. The opportunity to be involved in event catering and execution inspired me to return to school to pursue a degree in Hospitality Management.

What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
I’m currently undertaking an internship with Topgolf where I am going through a 13-week MIT program and my dream job would be staying on with the company and continuing to develop as a future leader. I’ve come to learn how special of an opportunity working at Topgolf is, as it’s a place that brings together both of my lifelong passions of golf and foodservice in a fun and rewarding atmosphere.

What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
Throughout my college experience I’ve been exposed to so much that I will be able to apply to my career in the foodservice industry. My professors have strengthened my understanding law, human resources, accounting, marketing, and management styles. The opportunity of the attending school in city of Las Vegas, provided me with the ability to work in one of the most unique tourism cities in the world. The experience I have gained by working in industry in this city are invaluable as I was exposed to world-class service, diversity, and development techniques that will help to furthering my career in foodservice.

What are some of the challenges students like you face in today's world of foodservice?
The foodservice industry is full of very competent and experienced individuals so as a student it can be challenging finding rewarding opportunities that allow us to continue to learn and contribute. Another challenge that comes with the foodservice industry is finding your niche as there are countless ways to progress throughout the field. Fortunately, I feel as if I’ve found a home in Topgolf as they have proved to me that they are committed to my development and growth.

Do you have mentor? How have they helped you?
I have several mentors, but Robert Woods has been the most impactful on my growth. I sought out his knowledge of leadership as he works as a consultant providing senior level management development and a professor for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has helped open my eyes to the difference between being a Leader vs. Manager. He’s set me up for success in the industry with the knowledge needed to achieve my career and personal life goals.

What is your favorite meal?
Being half Filipino, my favorite dish would have to be Pork Adobo. This tasty meal reminds me of my childhood, a memory of a family dinner outside at the backyard picnic tables while my mother cooked her signature dish. You can’t convince me that anyone cooks adobo better than my mother does.

What companies have you worked at for internships?
I competed an internship at Tournament Players Club which is a network of Golf Courses from public to private. Over the years in the golf industry I’ve noticed how neglected foodservice is to the overall golf course operation. I’m now pursuing an internship with Topgolf where they’re defined as trendsetters, committed to evolving and progressing to improve the guest experience by creating moments that matter for everyone, especially in the category of foodservice.

About the IFMA Education Foundation: 

The IFMA Education Foundation promotes the next generation of foodservice leaders. The Foundation is committed to give qualified culinary, marketing or food science students support toward completion of education requirements. Over the years, we've accomplished our goal by providing scholarships, publications, educational programs, internships and stipends to accredited institutions and individuals enrolled in accredited institutions.

Do you want to support the next generation of foodservice by making a donation to IFMA's Education Foundation?   
Contact us at ifma@ifmaworld.com.