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December 2013

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New Staff
Triple Threat: Meet Our New Staff Members!
We're thrilled to announce the addition of three new team members to our already excellent staff! Colleen Gleeson (left) is working with the Career Development & Placement Office as our new career counselor. She comes to us from Austin, where she most recently worked as an intern for the career services department at Texas State University. Gleeson is a graduate of St. Louis University, where she earned her bachelor's in political science and women's studies; and St. Edward's University, where she received a master's in counseling. Gleeson may have moved around a bit, but she's actually from Houston and is thrilled to be back in her hometown. Brane Poledica (center) joins the team at the Hilton University of Houston as the new director of food & beverage. Poledica, originally from Bosnia, moved to Houston in 1996. He's been working in the hospitality industry in various roles ever since he arrived—most recently as the general manager of the Quattro restaurant and Lobby Lounge at the Four Seasons Houston. Though he built his career in hospitality, Poledica actually studied physics in college at the University of Sarajevo! Last but not least, Julie Salisbury (right) joins us as an undergraduate academic advisor. She came to the College from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, where she also worked as an academic advisor. A Tulsa native, Salisbury earned her bachelor's and master's at Northeastern State, in public relations and educational leadership, respectively. When she's not helping our students, she loves listening to music—especially Pearl Jam—and hanging out with her two rescue mutts. The next time you find yourself on campus, stop by and say hi to our newest superstar staff members. We're so fortunate to have them! (Photos: Taylor Wiley)
HOP Awards
Star Students Honored at Annual HOP Gala
Four Hilton College students were honored on November 22 by the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston at its annual Hospitality on Parade Awards Banquet at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Each year, the association recognizes individuals who've contributed to the success of the hospitality industry and/or Hilton College. The award recipients are nominated by their peers and employers, and a panel of industry experts outside Southeast Texas selects the honorees from that list. Pictured left to right are the recipients of the 2013 Outstanding Lodging Student Award, presented to select students based on character, integrity, industry experience, academic achievements, contributions to the College and participation in College organizations and activities: Claudia Cavero, Cali Smith, Valerie Delgado and Okechi Nwabara. Okechi and Cali are both seniors graduating in May 2014. Claudia, a member of the first graduating class from the Hilton College Lima Campus, and Valerie will graduate this month. Congratulations to this outstanding group of future hospitality professionals—you all make Hilton College proud! (Photos: Taylor Wiley & Michael Scott)
Hilton College Hosts 2nd Successful CMAA F&B Program
Hilton College hosted its second annual Food & Beverage Management Program for the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) in November. As part of the CCM training and certification process, 32 club managers from all over North America gathered at the Hilton University of Houston for the five-day program, which featured traditional classroom lectures, hands-on learning experiences and several outings to local Houston clubs and attractions—including a trip to the River Oaks Country Club to meet with and learn from Executive Chef and seven-time Culinary Olympian Charles Carroll, pictured above with the group. Student members of the CMAA-Cougar Chapter were right in the middle of the action, preparing dining and entertainment guides, taking daily coffee orders, providing concierge services and putting together amenity baskets for the visiting managers. The club managers, in return, collected $1,000 in cash for the CMAA-Cougar Chapter, to be used to help the chapter attend the national CMAA conference in Orlando next year. Lecturer and CMAA faculty advisor Alexis Hoey took on the mammoth task of coordinating the entire event, and other Hilton College faculty—including Dr. Jay Neal, Dr. Mary Dawson, Dr. Juan Madera, Arlene Ramirez and Dr. Stephen Barth—also got involved, delivering lectures on topics like diversity, sanitation and safety, menu engineering and general legal compliance in menus, to name a few. Other members of the Hilton College family were also involved, including industry lecturer and GM of the River Oaks Country Club Joe Bendy, CCM; and Charles D. Dorn, CCM, chairman of the Dean's Advisory Board. Kudos to the faculty, students and friends of the College involved in organizing and executing this fantastic industry event! (Photo: Alexis Hoey)
Sean Beck Fred Parks Lecture Series
Wine 101: Back to Basics at Fred Parks Lecture Series
For many customers, choosing the perfect wine can be overwhelming, due to the vast scope of regions, varietals, pairings and producers. But on November 13, Sommelier Sean Beck brought it back to the basics for an enthusiastic crowd of wine-lovers at the Hilton University of Houston with the latest incarnation of the Fred Parks Lecture Series, "Wine 101: Demystifying the Wine-Buying Experience." Beck—an award-winning sommelier currently serving as beverage director for Backstreet Café, Hugo's and Caracol—was a fantastic teacher, affably explaining complex topics in a way even the most novice of wine enthusiasts could understand. And best of all, it was all free of charge, thanks to the Fred & Mabel Parks Foundation. "Having Sean Beck here to participate in this lecture series was a special treat," said Kevin S. Simon, director of the Fred Parks Wine Cellar at the College. "His informal approach and unique personal style really struck a chord—everyone learned something from Sean." The next lecture in the series will take place at the 2014 Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair. (Photos: Taylor Wiley)