Category Archives: Biographies

Greg Photo

Greg Plester– CHMA Chair

Starting as a dishwasher many years ago I never thought this was going to be my career path.  Over many years, with many positions in many restaurants I began to understand why I never left and that was because of the people! That was the drive that has taken me coast to coast and across 30 different restaurants and six brands. I am very proud to work with everyone from when I started as a line cook, became a General Manager, completed regional work, and even when I became a new store opening co-coordinator. Even with all of these various positions under my belt it has always been about sharing the great experiences with peers and guests. Now being a part of this organization I have the opportunity to share service and training practices, build new relationships and be a part of something bigger with the CHMA and its members. I am very excited to see where this year takes us and the years to come!

 

Lua Turcotte

Lua Turcotte- Secretary

I count myself lucky for having stumbled into the Campus Hospitality life.  I had almost completely escaped a long history in the hospitality industry and was selling real estate when this opportunity enticed me back!  Almost immediately, I knew my biggest challenge (and best reward) would be the family ties I would build with my Student Staff.  My 10 year old daughter has generously given up her status as only child – to 50 grown adults that refuse to stop calling me Mom.  P.S.  I’m too damn young to be their Mom!!!

I’ve hired and fired, I’ve cooked and cleaned; I’ve planned menus and planned events; I’ve sampled chicken fingers until I grew feathers and sampled beer until… well…  It’s never the same 2 days in a row around here and that’s what makes this my dream job!

As for CHMA, I kinda stumbled into this organization too!  In the past 4 years there is no way I would have lead us to achieve the successes we have around here without the support of my friends from across the country.  Our growth plans are often the direct result of CHMA National Conference sessions, and our off the wall fun is almost always inspired by a late night conversation with a CHMA member.  The memories and friends, connections and learning opportunities that this organization has provided me are priceless!  #somuchlearning

Adam

Adam Koch- Vice Chair

I’m not a chef. I’m a blender surgeon. I’m an amateur plumber. I fix oven door handles. I am a renegade chemist. I’m a shoddy social worker. I’m a big brother. I’m a collector of half-drank coffee cups. I’m a disposal mechanism for plating mistakes. I’m the MacGuyver of leftovers. I’m a soup sorcerer. I find things in the fridge that we “definitely don’t have any more of”. I can’t remember why I came around the damn corner, but I can re-call the last 43 chits. I count my life in produce orders. I plan my weeks around sampling meetings and office time. I never answer my phone. I never call in sick.

I come by my passion for this industry honestly – I’ve spent more than half of my life in it. I’ve done everything from casual fine dining to greasy spoons, from Guerilla catering to breakfast joints, and everything in between. My work ethic and open-minded approach was forged from a young age by my late father, and I bring an optimistic approach with me as often as possible. I love working for the Sheridan Student Union. Going in to my 5th school year, I feel that we’ve gotten better and better at what we do, and the students are responding in overwhelming ways.

My time spent in the CHMA has been equally rewarding. We have an incredibly unique advantage over the rest of the industry, meeting regularly and supporting each other. Members of this organization have become my sounding board, my confidants, and my dear friends. Not many people understand the challenges that this specific sector of the industry can pose, but we are lucky to have a nationwide cohort who understand it intimately!

I really don’t know what other career path I could have chosen in life. What I do every day is the only thing that makes sense. I hope everyone else is that fulfilled in their careers – it’s a really comfortable place to be.

Jamie Beagan

Jaime Beagan – Treasurer

I started in hospitality in 2004 as a student needing a part time job to get by. The part time security gig turned into summer employment, bartending, bar management to student services manager.

This roller coaster ride has been an amazing experience that I never would have thought I could be a part of. The postsecondary hospitality business is in a world of its own.

Every day is completely different than the last. It’s a fast paced environment that always makes you wonder, “what could possibly happen next?”

That’s why I was very happy to be introduced to CHMA in 2009 from fellow coworkers. Since joining, CHMA has been an amazing asset to me in understanding the ever changing industry.

We are a group of full time employees in a rotating world of student government and part time employees. Having a sounding board of professionals and mentors who are in the same business, regional symposiums and our yearly National Conferences has been an educational experience I know I could not have found anywhere else.

Any question you have or bump in the road has been something that one of our members has also been through. Since being a member of CHMA, I have learned a great deal, made wonderful friendships and memories and am always excited for the next opportunity to get together and learn more!