James Inglis, program director hospitality/restaurant management: taking a trip of a lifetime

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Another post in our series on endowed chairs and what they’re up to. Meet James Inglis.

James Inglis’ endowed chair project this year, funded by the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association (CFHLA) Chair in Hospitality Management, is to take 16 students to New York City to The Hotel Experience in November (previously The International Hotel Motel Restaurant Show).

“The [Hotel Experience] in New York City is one of the premier industry events in the United States. Over 1,800 vendors are there with their individual booths showcasing the latest industry technologies, products and services. We also do restaurant and hotel tours while we are there and attend breakout sessions in conjunction with the show. These are very educational, and the students can sign up to attend any of the topics that interest them,” Inglis says.

“The students are required to attend at least one breakout session while at the show; they then write a paper on the session and include a brief overview of the topic and specific issues discussed,” he adds. The students are also required to write an additional reflection for the Student Government Association (SGA) as part of the travel requirements. Students also speak to their classes when they return, highlighting various events that took place and any observations that relate to the learning outcomes for the course.

Professor Inglis has been leading similar trips for more than 14 years now. Many of the students have very limited travel experience and most have never been to NYC before. For the most part, the students couldn’t afford the room rates or partake of the restaurant meals Inglis and his team have negotiated. “There is always a tour of a hotel and kitchen and introduction of managers and kitchen personnel,” Inglis adds. So even the food is educational.

In all, for many of these students, the trip is a once in a lifetime – or a first in a lifetime – chance to be exposed to experiences they can’t have in Orlando (as great as those may be).

This is in addition to the other work that Inglis does.

He is on two boards of directors: One is the local hotel association, CFHLA, and the other is the local restaurant association, FRLA. He has been on the boards for more than 14 years, participating in such events as the Downtown Food and Wine Fest for the seventh year in a row. Last March, he and another professor, Craig Rapp, worked the Wine and Dine on 9, a VIP event, at the Bay Hill Golf Tournament.  As Inglis puts it: “This semester alone we are volunteering for 12 events in the community. It’s a tribute to the students and the leadership that we can get this type of participation.

Professor Inglis was born in New York City, so this is a bit of a return home for him – to the Jacob K. Javits Center, which is where the show is being held. He is the program director for the hospitality and restaurant management programs at Valencia’s West campus. With degrees from Paul Smith’s College in New York, Florida International University and Webster University, from which he holds a master’s degree in business, he draws on a lifetime of experience for his courses and his volunteer work.

What’s next for the program? Well, Inglis says the school has just hired a new faculty member to take the lead for the Osceola campus program—now they’re able to offer the same degree program in Osceola that they offer at West campus. In addition, they keep expanding the West campus program—they just added a new “beverage lab.”

Cheers to the new program and the trip of a lifetime for the students in his care.

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