1990 - 1999

1990 - 1999

Apr -- rrb0135

Idara Reece
B.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Management , 1999

Idara was an active student at UNT. She was the Recruitment & Retention Officer for UNT’s chapter of the NAACP and was a part of the Society of Hotel/Restaurant Managers. Since graduating, she has worked as a Coordinator, Corporate Recruiter, and Resort & Sports Club Professional for companies such as Matrix, Zimbra, and the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. She is currently an Executive Assistant to the VP of Human Resources for Fresnius Medical Care. Throughout her career, Idara has thrived in hospitality, technology and non-profit organizations.

Nick Johnson
B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant management , 1998

Nick started his career as Director of Junior Development at the Northwood Club in Dallas, TX for seven years. He combined his interest in sports and his background in management to grow the program. For the last 11 years, Nick has been the Owner and Academy Director of the Lake Tennis Academy in Frisco, Texas.

Jordan Roth
B.S. in Hospitality Management, 1998

Jordan Roth is a co-owner and gallery director for Ro2 Art, a full-service art gallery and advisory in Dallas, he runs alongside his mother, Susan Roth Romans. Growing up around the art business, Jordan's career path seemed an obvious one. From the time, as a child, he played “gallery” at his mother's MJS International Fine Art in Fort Worth, the influence of art has been a dominating force in his life. Jordan officially gained employment in art galleries in 2006, working his way to Director of two Dallas galleries before joining forces with his mother in 2009, to form Ro2 Art, which has operated as many as three full-time spaces at once, in it's almost four years in operation, producing more than 100 exhibitions to date. Ro2 Art has been named Best Art Gallery by The Dallas Observer, and is a proud member of CADD, the Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas.

Jordan thrives on his involvement in philanthropic endeavors within and outside of the art world. Since 2008, Jordan has served on the art committee for Dallas Children's Advocacy Center, acting as art co-chair for their annual Art+Advocacy auction in 2012, which netted over $500,000 for DCAC. Jordan holds a position on the board of directors for The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, a nonprofit arts space founded in 1994. Jordan also leads the organization's MAC PAC initiative. In 2012, Jordan accepted, on behalf of Ro2 Art, the prestigious Obelisk Award, presented by The North Texas Business Council for the Arts.

Ro2 Art represents a diverse group of established, mid-career, and emerging contemporary artists, including those from North Texas and nationally to internationally known artists. The gallery focuses on the exhibition and sale of work in all visual media from painting and sculpture, ceramics, fiber arts, to installations, video, and performance; exhibiting in various traditional and non-traditional spaces in and around Dallas, with the gallery's base at 1501 South Ervay in The Cedars neighborhood of Dallas. The gallery also collaborates on public exhibitions programs in partnership with Downtown Dallas, Inc, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Make Art with Purpose (MAP), and The Town of Addison – in addition to curating rotating exhibitions at the Magnolia Theatre in Dallas' West Village. Most recently, Ro2 Art mounted a successful exhibition at the 8th Annual Dallas Art Fair, presenting among 95 of the world's top contemporary art galleries.

Angelique “Angel” Greene
B.S. in Fashion Merchandising, 1998

She is a 1998 Graduate of UNT with a BS in Fashion Merchandising and a Minor in Business.  She worked in the Industry for 2 1/2 years with Target Corporation before getting married and having two amazing boys.  She attended Ogle Cosmetology School in 2006 and Graduated in the Spring of 2007.  Upon Graduation, she worked in a corporate salon for 10 months, built up a clientele, then went on my own where she now has her own salon in Allen where she rents a studio and have for the past 8 years.  Her time at UNT helped with her business skills.  

Jay Sang Ryu, Ph.D.
M.S. in Fashion Merchandising , 1996

Dr. Jay Sang Ryu is an assistant professor in the department of interior design and fashion merchandising at Texas Christian University. Prior to joining TCU, he worked as an assistant professor at Texas State University and as a buyer and product developer for international retailers such as Kmart, Samsung, Tesco, and LG Home Shopping. Dr. Ryu earned his M.S. degree in merchandising at UNT (1996) and his doctoral degree from Oklahoma State University (2010). His research focuses on identifying impact of image on branding cities and nations, and the influence of retail technology and digital marketing on consumer behavior in the Omni-channel retail environment. His research has been funded by Cotton Incorporate Stockholm Program of Place Branding (STOPP), and university-sponsored grants.

Michelle Houston
B.S. in Hospitality Management , 1996

Since graduating with a B. S. degree, Michelle has excelled in closely aligned industries: hotel and restaurant management, legal, banking, sales and marketing, event planning, retail, recruiting, and human resources. She has over 20 years of building a better Denton through community involvement in the Denton County Friends of the Family, Denton County Bar Association, Leadership Denton (Graduate and Co-Chair,) and Denton Chamber of Commerce a recipient of the Denton Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year. Ms. Houston brings a unique level of energy and infectious enthusiasm to every project she is involved in. As coined by poker players around the globe, she goes “all in.” Ms. Houston is the Business Development Officer at AccessBank Texas.

Joe Guerra
B.S. in Hospitality, 1996

Joe is celebrating his 20th anniversary with Rudy’s Tortillas. Currently, he is VP and part owner in his family’s 3rd generation tortilleria. Two years ago, they relocated to a 250,000 sq ft facility in Carrollton, TX.  They have earned our SQF2, GFSI, and Silliker accreditations. Today, Rudy’s services 35 states and produce 10 million tortillas a day. He met his beautiful wife Pauline at UNT. They have three children Lilliana, Rosalia and Carina.

Julie Lindsey
B.S. /M.S. in Merchandising , 1995/1997

After graduating from the Merchandising program, Julie began her career in sales management before moving to Senior Assistant Buyer at J.C. Penney. Currently, she is with Strategic Partners in the Sales and Merchandising Department. Julie has nearly 15 years of experience in merchandising and training with expertise in motivating national sales forces, apparel buying and retail management.

Zohe Felici
B.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Management , 1995

Zohe’s education led her to Food and Beverage Management with the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts for several years in the Southern California region. Her next move was to Bacara Resort & Spa as catering manager and later was co-owner of Southern California Mitzvahs. In May of 2010, she started Felici Events, an event production company that offers a variety of options and levels of event service. Zohe was nominated in 2012 as a Top 40 under 40 Business Owner by the Pacific Boast Business Times, as well as a nominee for Business Person of the Year for the Young Professional Club of Santa Barbara. She looks forward to many more years in the event industry in the Southern California region.

Matthew Massengale
B.S. in Merchandising and Hospitality Management , 1994

Matthew Massengale has more than 25 years of extensive experience in all aspects of hospitality sales, development, logistics, planning and management. He is a dynamic award-winning hospitality professional with a passion for excellence and has managed programs ranging from 10 to 8,000 attendees both domestically and internationally. These programs include executive level meeting, incentive trips, city-wide conferences, sales meetings, product launches, tradeshows and special events, including trekking Mount Kilimanjaro, World Cup Soccer, the 1996 Olympics and Marlboro Team Penske Racing. Matthew creates unforgettable epic experiences for his clients and their attendees. Matthew is currently the General Manager and Director of Sales for the Texas office of CSI DMC (csi-dmc.com).

Michael Cohen
M.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Management , 1994

Michael Cohen’s formal introduction to the hospitality industry began while working for a tour company in London, England. After earning his M.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Management, he joined Rosewood Hotels & Resorts in Dallas, TX. He later worked with a diverse portfolio while with MeriStar Hotels & Resorts before moving to Chicago, IL. He travelled the globe with Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts and Raffles International. Michael later joined Hyatt Hotels Corporation in revenue management with their Select portfolio that grew to just over 220 hotels, with annual revenues in excess of $565 million, and market share growth for seven straight years. In 2001, Michael was the recipient of the Honored Alum award by the Hotel & Restaurant Management Department at the University of North Texas. In May of 2015, Michael joined Levy Restaurants’ corporate team as Senior Director of Revenue Planning & Category Management, responsible for revenue growth and revenue optimization strategies for the entire portfolio of venues within the Sports & Entertainment division.

Curt Kelley
B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Management, 1993

Curt’s participation and leadership in the student chapter of CMAA propelled him to a career in club management. He completed an internship at Lakewood Country Club in Dallas, where he began his career. Fifteen years ago, Preston Trail Golf Club of Dallas recruited him, and he currently is their Club Manager. Curt’s career highlights include: Certified Club Manager through CMAA, TLSC North Texas Region Chair, TLSC President, and USGA committee member (2011-2014). On a personal note, Curt met his wife Lisa at UNT, and they celebrated their 20th anniversary in July and are proud parents of three great kids. He describes himself as “truly blessed”.

Dannet Botkin
B.S. in Merchandising , 1993

Dannet has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, procurement, merchandising and operations. Her career has taken her from Texas to New York; Barcelona, Spain; Tampa to Hot Springs Village, and has included positions from Advertising Account Executive to Marketing Operations & Sales Director to Executive Director & USA CEO.
Currently, she is the Marketing Director of Hot Springs Village in Arkansas. Charged with increasing community visibility and interest, her team opened a Visitor Center, developed an aggressive advertising campaign, created new marketing collateral including landing pages, social media, guide books, print ads, banner ads, magazines, websites, videography, photography, direct mailers, press kits, etc., and implemented a customer relationship management system to manage prospect leads.

Tricia Barnes
B.S. in Clothing & Textiles , 1993

Tricia Barnes is the Vice President of Operations for Riverbend Sandler Pools in Plano, Texas, one of the largest custom pool builders in the United States. Prior to her current position, Tricia worked as the Director of Marketing for eight years. Tricia worked as a design consultant for six years at Riverbend Sandler. The recipient of several design awards, Tricia has been involved in the pool business for over thirty years. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1993 from the University of North Texas in Clothing & Textiles, Tricia went on to work for a well-known fashion designer before rejoining the family business in 1995. Tricia currently lives in Plano, Texas with her two sons, Noah and Jett.

Paige Park Green
B.S. in Hospitality, 1993

Cannon Green
B.S. in Hospitality, 1992

Met in class at College Inn. Married 21 years.  Two children – daughter, Avery 15 and son, Chase 12. Live in Southlake, TX.  Both spent many years in the hospitality business but now Paige is a stay at home mom and volunteer and Cannon is a partner in a commercial real estate company, Stream Realty.

Christina Toups
B.S. in Hospitality Management , 1992

Christina gained valuable experience in all aspects of club management at Victoria Country Club, Houston Country Club, Ridglea Country Club, and Austin Country Club before returning to Rodglea as the General Manager in 2002.

She helped charter the UNT student chapter of Club Managers Association of America and continued her affiliation with the organization as an industry professional. She has served at the local and state levels, including as President of the TLSC in 2005. She was inducted into CMAA’s Honor Society in 2003 and attained her Certified Club Executive designation in 2009.

Christina is active in the community as Chairman of the Board for Meals on Wheels, Tarrant County; Chairman of the Board for the Texas Alliance of Recreational Organizations; and is a member of Leadership Fort Worth.

Mark Austin
B.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Management , 1992

Mark has spent almost 20 years working in every aspect of wholesale produce, from the docks to the boardroom. As the CEO of Hardie’s Fresh Foods, a family-owned fresh foods wholesaler founded in Dallas in 1943, Mark takes to heart the company’s values of accountability, integrity, innovation and teamwork.

Mark is part of the third generation of family that makes up the Hardie’s management team. This continuity supports the strong relationships that have allowed Hardie’s to become the premier Texas purveyor of fresh foods and produce. Mark brings big-picture leadership to an organization that delivers on quality everyday, to a five-star roster of foodservice operators.

In addition to his leadership within Hardie’s, Mark Austin is active in the national produce industry, where he is recognized as a subject matter expert.

Carol (Skaggs) Benavidez
B.S. in Hospitality Management , 1991

Carol Benavidez, CMP, CMM is currently a Regional Vice President with HelmsBriscoe. Since she graduated in December 1991 with a BS in Hospitality Management, her work experience has included management positions in many hotel departments including restaurants, bar, room service, catering and group sales working for The Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center, Radisson Plaza Hotel Fort Worth, Omni Dallas Hotel at Park West, and Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas.

She is also a current member of ASAE and MPI. Her participation within the D/FW MPI Chapter included earning the Spirit of MPI, May 2002; Rising Star of the Year, June 2002; serving on the 2002-2003 Board as Director of Finance, 2003-2004 Board as VP of Finance, 2004-2005 Board as Director of Leadership/Development, 2006-2007 Board as VP of Finance, 2007-2008 Board as President Elect, 2008-2009 Board as President, and 2009-2010 Board as Past President. She currently is the Chair of the CMP Study Program.

In addition, she achieved the Convention Industry Council’s Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2000, and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM) in 2012.

Carrie Goff
B.S in Hospitality Management , 1990

Carrie Goff is currently working in the hospitality recruitment industry as a Franchisee/Owner of Patrice & Associates Franchising in Austin, TX. She started her career as an Operations Training Manger at Black-eyed Pea Restaurants where she increased sales through structure and systematic processes at the store level. Her next career moves were to Texas Wings as Director of Training (11 years), Director of Training for Which Wich, Director of Human Resources at Schlotzky’s, and Vice President of Human Resources at Snap Kitchen. With 20+ years as a human resources leader, trainer, and operations manager, she has a proven record of restructuring operations and creating innovative programs at companies with which she has affiliated.

Jonathan Seyoum
B.S. in Hospitality Management, 1990

While at UNT, Jonathan began working at the Pancake House. There, under his mentor and then owner of the restaurants, Rick Zappolo, he earned several promotions to be the company’s first multi-unit supervisor by age 25. After some time developing an entertainment complex in Eritrea, a small underdeveloped country near Ethiopia, and earning his MBA, Jonathan was offered a partnership position with the Pancake House. The company continues to thrive as the Original Pancake House. He, his wife, and three daughters live in East Plano. He is a supporter of various organizations including The North Texas Commission, the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, North Texas Food Bank, local chambers of commerce, as well as several schools and clubs.