I have been in the hospitality business since I was a boy in New Orleans, almost 35 years ago. I began working in the restaurants and room service, then catering and the night clubs. I have been the desk clerk, the housekeeper, night auditor and the bellman. As a young man, I directed food & beverage operations, sales & marketing teams and ultimately became a general manager before I was 25. Not bad for a poor boy from a shipyard town on the wrong side of the Mississippi River. Nevertheless, I would have accomplished little without the patient education of mentors past and present. I learned early on that it is impractical to expect to make a living in the hospitality industry if you are not first hospitable. But, the most enduring message I received from these people is that only excellence endures and mediocrity is merely the awkward stepchild of an apathetic family named Complacent. I love to write. I am currently a weekly columnist for The Mountain Press newspaper here in Sevier County, TN and have been a writer for The Tennessian newspaper and InReview Magazine in Nashville before moving to East Tennessee 4 years ago. There are 2 criteria to be the subject of one of my columns...You must be useful and benevolent. The bad guys already get most of the press. I enjoy many kinds of music and all 3 of my grown sons are musicians. I am not a musician myself, but have written almost 200 song lyrics. I have coached 40 youth soccer teams and was high school referee. Also a referee assigner for Nashville Youth Soccer. I have 5 children and pray that if I can inspire anything in their lives, it will be to always pursue happiness through an honest determination to achieve excellence in all they do.