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April 2015

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Dr. Back
Exciting New Role for Dr. Ki-Joon Back
Hilton College has a new associate dean, and it’s a familiar face! Dr. Ki-Joon Back has been named associate dean for research and graduate studies. In this expanded role, Dr. Back will manage the doctoral program, the residential masters, the global masters and—eventually—the online masters. He’ll also be in charge of making arrangements for visiting scholars, obtaining research grants, helping faculty garner grants and coordinating research workshops. Dean John Bowen and Dr. Dennis Reynolds, the incoming dean, have been working on the new position for some time and are pleased that Dr. Back chose to accept the role. “We thank Ki-Joon for all he has done for the College and congratulate him on this appointment,” Dean Bowen said. Dr. Back says he was honored to accept the position and looks forward to what the future holds for the College. “We’ve done a great job of developing the hospitality industry’s future leaders through innovative curriculum, strong industry networks and rigorous research activities. Most importantly, we have great people working together in harmony. With the new Ph.D. program and the MS in Global Hospitality Business, I am very confident that we can move forward to the next level together,” he said. Congratulations, Dr. Back! (Photo: Paul Ladd Photography)
Specs golf Journey
Making Par at Spec’s Golf Tournament
Another successful Spec's Charitable Foundation Golf Tournament is in the books! Hilton College is a beneficiary of this annual event, which took place March 26 at The Clubs of Kingwood. More than 430 golfers representing a wide range of beverage companies participated in the tournament, which was staffed by student volunteers from Dr. Glenn Cordúa’s and Lecturer Aaron Corsi’s classes. The volunteers worked in registration, served as lookouts on the prize holes and helped Spec’s staff distribute raffle prizes. And, of course, they had the opportunity to serve as ambassadors for the College and network with beverage professionals at the post-tournament reception. The Spec’s tournament, the largest charity golf tournament in the Houston area, is the Spec’s Charitable Foundation’s principle method of fundraising. The foundation has been a major supporter of the College’s beverage management program over the past 14 years, and Dr. Cordúa has been instrumental in establishing the partnership with the foundation and the tournament. We can’t thank Spec’s Wines Spirits & Finer Foods, the Spec’s Charitable Foundation and the Rydman Family enough for their generous support of our program and the future leaders of the hospitality industry! (Photos: Taylor Wiley)
Joe Bendy
Innovation Key to Success for Club Exec
When it comes to successful careers in club management, you can’t do much better than Joe Bendy, CCM, CCE. A proud ’89 Hilton College graduate and Eric’s Club member, Bendy is the COO and general manager of the River Oaks Country Club, one of the most exclusive clubs in Houston. He’s also an adjunct lecturer at the College, actively involved in CMAA (which named him Club Executive of the Year in 2014), and a member of the TARO Board and the National Club Association Board of Directors—both watchdog organizations for legislation that impacts the club industry at the state and national levels. Though Bendy has always worked in hospitality, he didn’t initially consider a career in private clubs. But when he took a summer job working as a banquet server at Houston Country Club, he knew he’d found his niche. He transferred from Texas A&M to the Hilton College, earned his degree and continued working at Houston Country Club for more than 12 years. After climbing the ranks to clubhouse manager there, Bendy became the GM at Northwood Club in Dallas. He came back to his hometown five years later to his current post at River Oaks Country Club, where he’s been for nearly 13 years. His secret to success? Work for great people—and work hard. “It’s important to find people you can learn from. You have to get your foot in the door, work hard and accomplish something. Don’t just ‘do’ your job. Focus on how you can make it better,” Bendy said. He also says there’s tremendous value in staying connected with the College and its alumni. Bendy has a large circle of colleagues who’ve contributed to his success, and many of them are fellow alums or professionals he met as a student. “In club management, you need to be open-minded and eager to learn; innovative but respectful of tradition. If you understand the need for constant and never-ending improvement, you’ll be successful in any business,” he said. Excellent advice from an accomplished alumnus who never fails to make Hilton College proud. Thank you, Joe! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Katie Case
The Art of Hospitality: Designer Wins Big at CASE Awards
You may not know Katie Guidroz, but if you’ve spent any time around the College, you know her work. She’s our senior graphic designer, and you’ll find her touches everywhere—the College’s annual dean’s report, the new alumni donor wall, the Alumni Hall portrait gallery wall, recruitment postcards, marketing brochures, invitations, logos, Gourmet Night, Hospitality Hall of Honor and countless other projects. And now, her talents have been recognized by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)! Guidroz recently attended the annual CASE District IV conference in Austin, where she won a Gold CASE Award for her Gourmet Night 2014 program, invitation and menu art; and a Silver CASE Award for her “Are You a Hilton College Student?” poster, which hangs outside the Spec’s Beverage & Food Appreciation Laboratory. And she’s not only an amazing artist; she’s also an outstanding mentor to our students. Every year she works closely with the marketing managers for Gourmet Night and Hall of Honor on all of the graphic elements for those events, bringing the students’ ideas to life with a professional polish. We’re so lucky to have her here at the College. Congratulations to Katie on these well-deserved awards! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)