Ask the Expert: Bios
Lew Bryson is an award-winning, beer-drinking, whiskey-sipping, brewery-visiting, cask-tapping, thirst-creating drinks writer based in Philadelphia. Visit him at www.lewbryson.com.
Robert Casillas is president and founder of the Monsoon Group of Las Vegas, a full-service nightclub, bar and restaurant consulting company that also provides production and development of specialty events with an emphasis on co-branding major advertisers. Casillas is a professional speaker, educator and writer who lectures on topics such as marketing, promotions, operations, development and more.
David Commer, president of Commer Beverage Consulting, is a chain account specialist with more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Since 2001, Commer Beverage Consulting has provided independent and unbiased beverage services and strategies to hospitality clients. On a project basis, he provides sales and marketing strategy services as well as product analysis and recipe development to many major beverage manufacturers. David can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].
Patrick Henry is president and CEO of Patrick Henry Creative Promotions, Inc., a full-service food and beverage agency based in Houston. The company specializes in extensive beverage training, drink development, menu design and creating revenue generating promotional programming for national hotels and restaurants. Henry also is co-chairman and founder of the Millennium Advisory Board and sits on the board of the California Culinary Academy and the Amtrak Customer Advisory Board.
Sean Ludford is a judge at the San Francisco International Wine Competition and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. He is the creator of BeverageExperts.com and a quarterly magazine, The Aperitif, which is delivered electronically. Reach him at [email protected].
David Pennachetti is the founder and president of Dallas-based Wine Guru Services LLC, which provides beverage consulting, agency services and educational seminars for the hospitality industry. A 25-year restaurant industry veteran, Pennachetti is a frequent contributor to beverage industry publications and a panel member at industry trade shows throughout the year. He can be reached at [email protected].
A judge at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Robert Plotkin recently authored his 16th book, Secrets Revealed of America’s Greatest Cocktails. See his site at www.BarMedia.com or e-mail him at [email protected].
Glenn Schmitt is the founder and president of MarkeTeam Inc. Prior to establishing MarkeTeam, his 10 years of hospitality industry experience were highlighted by a position as director of entertainment marketing for Stuart Anderson's Black Angus restaurants. He is a member of the National Restaurant Association's Marketing Executive Group and serves on the advisory board of Oxford Publishing. Schmitt also speaks on promotional/marketing-related topics at some of the industry's top trade shows.
Robert C. Smith
Robert C. Smith started Nightclub Security Consultants 11 years ago in San Diego. The company has trained more than 5,000 hospitality industry employees and assisted more than 1,000 nightclubs, bars and other venues with liquor liability and development of policies, procedures, documentation and training. Smith is an 18-year veteran police detective in San Diego and a court expert in several topics including recognition of fake, altered and borrowed identification. Contact him at [email protected] or visit www.nightclubsecurity.com.
Jon Taffer is a veteran nightclub, bar and restaurant operator who provides consulting services around concept creation, development and growth management through his firm, Taffer Dynamics, which counts leading restaurant, nightclub and hotel operations among its clientele. Taffer also is a noted speaker and trainer. Based in West Palm Beach, Fla., he can be reached via www.tafferdynamics.com.
Mark Vidano, vice president of operations for MarkeTeam Inc., began his hospitality career in 1979. Vidano has held marketing and operations positions with Dick Clark’s Bandstands, A&W Restaurants, Stuart Anderson’s and Kinko’s. He enjoys sharing his “real world” experience through speaking engagements and articles in trade magazines. Vidano and his wife Mickie reside with their three sons in San Diego.