Skip to main content

Dave Smalley ('79)

Founder & CEO
Spectrum Catering, Concessions & Events

Lectured November 7, 2013

As founder and CEO of Spectrum Catering, Concessions & Events, Dave Smalley leads the largest company of its kind in North America.

He graduated cum laude from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1979. While a student at the University of Houston, he was the captain of the Men's Swim Team from 1977 to 1979, earned all-American honors, and proudly represented the United States Swim Team from 1978 through 1980.

After graduation, Dave spent 12 years working in restaurants, honing his hospitality philosophy and skills. With the sluggish economy of the early '80s, he realized he needed to look outside the walls of the traditional restaurant for ways to grow revenue. A natural competitor, Dave started establishing catering and concessions operations while working in the restaurant industry. With his core team in place, Dave began serving the Shell Houston Open in 1984. In 1992, he officially founded Spectrum.

It was a modest beginning with lots of hard work and long hours, but under Dave's leadership and drive, Spectrum quickly became a national leader within this hospitality niche industry, operating throughout the United States and Canada. The company immediately brought innovation and new ideas to the industry, along with cutting-edge presentations and operations that are staples of the industry today.

Based in The Woodlands, Texas, Spectrum's growth has been fueled by diversification, referrals and reputation. World-brand clients include Cirque du Soleil, The PGA Tour, the NFL, Live Nation Entertainment and Tough Mudder. The Shell Houston Open also remains one of his company's most valued clients. Creating long-term, mutually beneficial relationships is the cornerstone of Spectrum's success.

Spectrum is also the industry leader in artist- and tour-catering for such bands as Mumford and Sons and The Dave Matthews Band, as well as specializing in festival services at major music festivals that include Bonnaroo, ACL, Lollapalooza, GoogaMooga, Bamboozle and the Governors Ball, to name but a few. The company also operates more than two dozen Broadway and music venues, 10 stadiums and a host of retail venues. Today, its services are unrivaled with annual revenues fast approaching $100 million.

Dave currently resides in The Woodlands with his wife, Melanie, and her son, Cory, who is a junior at Oak Ridge High School. Dave's son, Maverick, serves as the vice president of Spectrum's Music Division.