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Director's Council

The Director’s Council is a group of valuable Florida State University alumni who provide feedback to the administration and faculty of the Dedman School of Hospitality and help ensure continued excellence in teaching, research, and service within the hospitality discipline.

Council members contribute time, insight and financial resources. They also help foster opportunities for hospitality students by identifying partnerships for mentoring, networking, and interning between the industry and academic communities.

If you would like to learn more about getting involved, please contact Alishia Piotrowski, director of industry relations, at (850) 644-8245.

2020-21 Members

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Kelly Blakely, CMP ('94)
Director, Food & Beverage, Walt Disney World

Kelly Blakely is the Director of Food & Beverage for Walt Disney World. She is responsible for leading a team that drives development, optimization, and standardization of 200+ unique food and beverage locations.

Kelly has been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years. Prior to her current role, she was the General Manager of Sports Logistics & Event Management for ESPN Wide World of Sports, which included organizing youth and professional sporting events and endurance events. Her extensive industry experience includes positions at several resort hotels in sales, convention & event management, catering services, group reservations, and front office operations.

Kelly graduated from Florida State University. She has participated in the ProfessioNole Mentor Program and has served on the Rosen College of Hospitality Event Management Board. Kelly is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and has an Introductory Sommelier Certificate. She currently resides in Winter Garden, FL.

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Janine Budzius ('86)
General Manager, Philadelphia Country Club

Janine M. Budzius, CCM, CCE, joined Philadelphia Country Club in 2003 as clubhouse manager and interim general manager before being appointed general manager/chief operating officer after six months. She is an alumnus of Florida State University’s College of Business and The Dedman School of Hospitality.

She has held management positions at premier hotels, resorts, golf and country clubs including Perry Park Country Club, Lakewood Country Club, The Village at Breckenridge Resort, The Hyatt Regency Tech Center, Radisson Hotel Denver and Sheraton Hotel Boston.

Janine is a loyal supporter of her alma mater as a lifetime member of Florida State University’s Alumni Association. In 2010, Janine was appointed to serve on the FSU College of Business Board of Governors. She has also been active with Society of Hosts, an alumni group at the Dedman School of Hospitality, serving as president, 2010-2013. She was among a panel of nationally recognized leaders appearing at the hospitality school’s 2015 forum, Women Leaders in the Club Industry. Janine was celebrated as the Dedman School’s Alumna of the Year for 2017.

Janine joined the Club Managers Association (CMAA) in 1997. She has held multiple leadership positions in the Philadelphia and Vicinity Club Managers Association including president in 2009. Janine was honored by the Philadelphia and Vicinity Club Managers Association as manager of the year in 2009. She achieved entrance into the CMAA’s honor society in 2009 and attained her Chief Executive Certification in 2012. Janine presently serves as locally a president of the Philadelphia & Vicinity Club Managers Association Club Foundation and nationally on the CMAA Professional Development Committee.

Janine played an integral role in the CMAA National Student Conference on both occasions it was hosted in Philadelphia, as she welcomed the students to Philadelphia Country Club each time while also participating on several education panels. The training and mentoring Janine provides has enabled many staff members to go on to executive positions in clubs throughout the country.

She has a strong belief in utilizing internships as a way to ensure high quality professionals in the field in the future. As a result of these efforts, Janine was honored with the “Champion of Club Education” award from the University of Delaware in 2017. Janine was the 25th recipient, and joins a long list of prominent club industry leaders including Robert Dedman, to be recognized with this prestigious award.

Janine is also an active participant in the National Club Association. As a member of the government relations committee, she is asked to provide insight and guidance on specific legislative, regulatory and legal issues and how those issues affect the private club industry.

In 2016, Janine was inducted as a member of the renowned Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and the Société Mondiale du Vin, the world’s oldest international gastronomic society founded in Paris in 1248. The Chaîne is described as “preserving the camaraderie and pleasures of the table and to promoting excellence in all areas of the hospitality arts.”

Philadelphia Country Club is a five-star platinum club, and under Janine’s leadership the club continues to enhance its stellar reputation as the Main Line’s premier, full service, family oriented private country club. Janine’s focus on delivering gracious hospitality has created a distinctive environment for both members and staff.

Janine is married to Michael and has a Boxer, "Bowden.” She enjoys golf, tennis, traveling and the Jersey Shore. On college football Saturdays, you can find her cheering on her beloved Seminoles.

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Chris Burr ('82)
Director of Nontraditional Development, Dunkin' Brands

Christian Burr is director of Nontraditional Development for Dunkin’ Brands US. He leads the development team responsible for placing Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins in non-traditional locations such as military bases, lodging, airports, college & university, business and industry, grocery and big-box retail.

Chris offers more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining Dunkin’ Donuts, he held a development position with Yum Brands, the parent company of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC. Chris also served in franchise development for Choice Hotels International and as brand director for Sleep Inn.

Chris holds a degree in hospitality management awarded by the College of Business at Florida State University in 1982, and currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Rich Carter ('90)
Chief Operating Officer, Suntex Marinas

As Suntex’s Chief Operating Officer, Rich Carter is primarily responsible for the service experience at all Suntex Marinas, defining and enhancing company culture, and the efficient and effective deployment of Home Office resources and processes across the Suntex portfolio of properties. Prior to joining Suntex, Rich was a Division President for Troon – the world’s largest third-party management company for Golf and Club related assets.

Prior to that, Rich served as Vice President of Business Development sourcing and negotiating over 40 management and advisory service contracts on behalf of Troon. His operational experience stems from 15 years as a General Manager – which led him to three different countries and six different states – overseeing everything from small private clubs to high volume resort destinations.

In 2010, Rich was honored by Golf Inc. Magazine as the “3rd Most Admired Operator in the US” as voted by his peers. In total, he served with Troon for over 20 years and was an integral part of the company’s growth from a single property in 1990 to nearly 300 locations worldwide today and over billion dollars in assets under management. Prior to his time with Troon, Rich worked for both Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and the Williams Hospitality Group in a variety of operational roles.

Rich graduated with Honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Florida State University.

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Jonathan Falco ('03)
VP of Global Risk Management & Safety, PSAV / Encore

Jonathan is the Vice President of Global Risk Management and Safety at PSAV / Encore - a full service global event production company.

His responsibilities include insurance, claims management, and safety. He leads the development of strategic objectives and ensures effective enterprise risk management for all levels of the organization. Jonathan manages the risk management team, as well as external business partners including brokers, consultants, third-party administrators, and legal counsel.

Jonathan has over twenty years of experience in the service industry. Prior to joining PSAV, he was the Director of Risk Management for McDonald’s. He has also held positions as a safety analyst for Publix, as well as a data analyst for the State of Florida Department of Health.

In 2017, Jonathan served as President of the Risk Insurance Management Society (Chicago Chapter). He's been involved for many years with safety and security committees for the National Restaurant Association and currently serves on a committee with the American Hospitality and Lodging Association.

Jonathan graduated from Florida State University ('03) and earned a B.S. in Management Information Systems (MIS) from the College of Business. Originally from Orange Park, FL, he currently resides in Geneva, IL with his wife Sabine and three children (Alex, Ava, and Anna).

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Brian Ford ('89)
Chief Operating Officer, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brian A. Ford, Jr., is chief operating officer of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He joined the organization in 2006 and he oversees all aspects of the organization’s day-to-day business operations and community involvement.

He works directly with team ownership to ensure that Buccaneers fans, season pass members and corporate sponsors receive a first-in-class experience. Under Brian’s leadership, the Buccaneers have consistently earned top marks among NFL teams for customer service experience, ranking No. 1 in the league’s annual Voice of the Fan report for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

Prior to joining the Buccaneers, Brian was part of the team that opened Raymond James Stadium as the district manager with Fine Host Corporation in 1998. He remained in that capacity until 2006, when he began his career with the Buccaneers.

An active participant in and around the Tampa Bay area, Brian is a member of the Pediatric Cancer advisory board in addition to serving on the boards of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay, American Cancer Society CEOs Against Cancer, Sports Advisory Council for Special Olympics Florida, Saint Leo University Sport Business Advisory Council, and Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Foundation.

Brian has also been a driving force and annual participant in the team’s annual Cut for a Cure event that has raised over $110,000 for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation over the past four years. Prior to the 2016 season, Brian also became a member of the Honorary Commander 927th Air Refueling Wing, which allows business men and women from the local community an opportunity for an up close and personal experience of the policies, programs and overall mission capability of the United States Air Force.

A native of Miramar, Florida, Brian graduated from Florida State University in 1989 with a B.S. in hospitality administration. He is an avid runner and triathlete and competes in numerous events each year, including a marathon each of the past 13 years as well as several 70.3 Half Ironman events over that same period.

He and his wife, Judy, live in Tampa, and have two sons, Brian III and Brandon. Judy is an active member of the Buccaneer Women’s Organization, which hosts charitable functions and community service projects in Tampa Bay throughout the year. The Ford’s sons both attended their parents’ alma mater, Florida State University.

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Patrick Jabbour ('11)
Senior Manager for Greenlight Operations (NE U.S.), Uber

Patrick is a 2011 graduate of the Dedman School, receiving degrees in Hospitality, as well as Economics and Finance. Patrick began his career with the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami working as a revenue analyst and in operations.

In 2016, he accepted a position with Uber where is now Senior Operations Manager with their Greenlight Program in the Northeast U.S. Patrick has served as a classroom guest speaker and is active in the Hospitality Mentorship Program.

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Jay Johnson ('87)
Regional President, Young's Market Company

Jay Johnson is Southwest region president for Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), one of the leading wine and spirits wholesalers in the U.S.

Based out of Grand Prairie, Texas, Jay is responsible for the company’s operations in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, Indiana, and Kentucky. He is a member of RNDC’s executive leadership team, which provides strategic oversight to the company’s 22 state footprint.

Jay’s extensive industry experience includes previous leadership roles with Republic Beverage Company, Block Distributing, and E & J Gallo.

He is board member of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Texas and a member of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. In 2016, Jay was inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich, a society that recognizes outstanding achievement in those who work, write and evangelize about Scotch whiskey.

Jay’s leadership extends to his community, where he has served on charitable boards including the United Way of San Antonio, Blocking Out Hunger Charitable Foundation, and Southlake 11:7 Community Church.

Jay earned his Bachelor of Science in marketing from Florida State University and MBA from the University of the Incarnate Word.

He and his wife, Dewi, reside in Southlake, TX with their two daughters — Nicole, a 2018 graduate of Texas A&M University, and Lauren, a sophomore at the university. Outside of spending quality time with his family, Jay enjoys hunting and fishing.

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Jim Riscigno ('66)
Chief Executive Officer, Club Specialists International

James A. Riscigno is CEO of ClubSpecialists International, a provider of management and consulting services to resorts, golf courses, private clubs and other service industry organizations.

He received his education in hospitality and business from the Dedman School of Hospitality and College of Business at Florida State University. He also earned an MBA degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Jim began his hospitality career as general manager of a successful Chicago restaurant. In 1973, he started a 40-year career in private clubs with ClubCorp’s management and executive teams. During his tenure at ClubCorp, Jim held the position of executive vice president in which he managed all levels of responsibility — negotiating acquisitions and leases, property development, operations (resort, country, city, yacht, and city/athletic), equity conversions, strategic planning, national food and beverage operations, national purchasing and architecture & design.

Upon retiring from ClubCorp, Jim joined the College of Business and Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University as executive in residence. He served as director of the school’s professional golf management major for eight years and taught in the club management and services management curricula.

Jim is involved in many industry associations: PGA, Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (CHRIE), and Professional Golf Management Education Association (PGMEA). He is past president and a founder of PGMEA (Professional Golf Management Education Association).

He has been a member of the CMAA educational development team that developed the BMI Golf Management continuing education program for club managers, hosted by Florida State University at World Golf Village.

Jim likes to golf and collect antique and unique cork screws. He is an accomplished woodworker, and in his spare time, he restores and exhibits classic cars. Jim and his wife, Ginger, have been married for 51 years; his son, Jeff, lives in Hollywood, Florida with their grandson, Tyler.

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John Rivers ('89)
Founder and CEO, 4 Rivers Smokehouse

Leaving a 20-year career in healthcare, John Rivers retired as president of a $1.5 billion dollar company to pursue a lifelong dream of opening a restaurant. In 2009 John created his first concept, 4 Rivers Smokehouse, which quickly became one of the fastest-growing restaurants in the southeast. With fifteen locations, 4 Rivers Smokehouse and his second and third concepts, the Southern-inspired COOP and the Mexican themed Cantina at Disney Springs, have garnered national recognition.

MSN named 4 Rivers as the #1 BBQ restaurant chain in the country, Southern Living 4 Rivers as the #1 BBQ restaurants in the South, and Nation’s Restaurant News recognized 4 Rivers as one of their top five breakout brands. Restaurant Business named John as one of the Power 20 Leaders in the restaurant industry, Orlando Magazine included him among Orlando’s “50 Most Powerful, 15 to Watch”, and John has twice been named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

John has twice been invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City and has enjoyed participating at Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival for the last 8 consecutive years. He has appeared on numerous television shows and has been featured in national publications including Food & Wine, Bon Appetite, MSN, USA Today, Business Insider, and Cooking Light. John authored his first book, “The Southern Cowboy Cookbook,” and launched a line of retail and food service and products currently enjoying shelf space at Publix and Costco and being distributed nationally by partners such as Sysco.

A graduate of Florida State University College of Business, where he serves on the Board of Governors, John chairs the 4R Foundation and is the founder of the 4 Roots Farm & Agriculture Center, and Winter Park’s largest culinary festival; “Cows ‘n Cabs”. John lives in Winter Park with his wife Monica and two children, Jared and Cameron where he serves on the boards of numerous school, church, and charity organizations.

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Andrew Rubinacci ('91)
EVP & Chief Commercial Officer, Omni Hotels & Resorts

Andrew is a seasoned hospitality veteran with over 25 years of experience. He serves currently as EVP & Chief Commercial Officer for Omni Hotels & Resorts responsible for Marketing, Sales, Loyalty, Revenue Management, Digital Marketing, eCommerce, Distribution and Channel Strategy.

He was previously the Senior Vice President of Distribution & Global Revenue Management for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). In this role, he was responsible for the leadership of an integrated Distribution and Revenue Management Strategy team including Global Revenue Management operations, as well as third party Internet, global distribution systems and distribution strategy for IHG’s brands. He and his team also negotiated industry leading distribution deals all over the world.

In addition to IHG, he has worked with Bristol Hotels & Resorts and MeriStar Hotels & Resorts. He also has extensive experience in sales, guest services, hotel operations and e-commerce.

Mr. Rubinacci holds bachelor degrees in business administration, majoring in both marketing and hospitality administration at Florida State University. He has served on the boards of HEDNA, Worldres, HSMAI, Open Travel, Roomkey, and the Dedman School of Hospitality.

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Holly Simmons ('10)
Pricing Manager, PODS

Holly is a 2010 graduate of the Dedman School, as well as a 2011 graduate from FSU with a Master of Business Administration degree.

Holly began her career as an Analyst with Revenue Management Solutions in Tampa, working her way up to the position of Director of Consulting Services and Project Manager.

As part of her consulting experience, Holly has been published by Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurants Canada Blog and Canadian Restaurant News on topics such as the rising minimum wage and food costs.

Holly recently joined PODS as a Pricing Manager, where she will use her experience to inform pricing strategy.

She has been involved with the university since graduation as an active member of both the Hospitality Mentorship Program and the College of Business Mentorship Program.

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