My first job was working for my parents at their coffee shop and roasting business, Rocky Mountain Roastery. I am so fortunate to have started working at a young age, it was through my parents that I learned how to properly operate a successful business.
How did you get started in this business?
I knew from a young age that running small service oriented businesses is what I wanted to do. Because of this desire, I have always sought out small independent businesses to work for. Fast casual restaurants started to intrigue me in college, mainly because of my own eating habits. I started working for a small restaurant chain in college and haven’t looked back.
Why did you choose to do business in Albuquerque?
I was fortunate enough to be asked by Ed and Jessie, who own Grassburger, to come to Albuquerque to manage the store. My wife and I were searching for a lifestyle change that allowed us to focus more on our family. Grassburger in Albuquerque presented the perfect opportunity for my family.
What was the most attractive part of the Grassburger business model to you?
To me the most attractive aspect of Grassburger is the focus on quality, clean ingredients. My family believes that exercise and healthy eating are a way of life and it is hard to find a brand like Grassburger that is built around a healthier diet. Grassburger makes it easy for someone like myself with food allergies to not only eat, but have a wonderful meal that tastes great, feels great and is affordable.
How would you describe your healthy lifestyle?
My wife, son and I are very active. We believe that fitness should be a family activity. We do Crossfit daily as well as go on family runs, bike rides and race BMX locally. We also eat a gluten free diet. We try to avoid processed foods and refined sugars. We are always searching for foods with minimal ingredients or whole foods. For health reasons, we also weigh and measure our foods to ensure that we are eating the proper portions.
What motivated you to live such a healthy lifestyle?
Living a healthy lifestyle has always been a priority for me. My parents ingrained that in me. I grew up being very athletic, racing mountain bikes and nordic skis. However, when I was 25, I became very sick with a viral infection that caused my body to develop a very strong auto-immune response. This reaction caused me to develop Type 1 Diabetes. From that point on, eating as healthy as possible and exercising rigorously has been how I manage Type 1 with minimal insulin.
How does your lifestyle affect your work?
Luckily I work for a brand that is built around healthy lifestyles. Daily, through my work I am able to serve healthy food to the masses. I feel really good about where our ingredients are sourced and how they are prepared. I am able to help my employees make better lifestyle choices, which is huge when working with younger people. Living a healthy lifestyle takes hard work and dedication, just like managing a restaurant.
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
Grassburger Albuquerque just became the first restaurant in town to start serving Stubborn Soda. Stubborn Soda is a corn syrup free fountain beverage with a variety of wonderful flavors.
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
I am so proud of becoming a part of the Grassburger team and helping the company move in a really positive direction. We are building a brand and culture that I will be proud to look back on.
Obviously the US raised, 100% grass-fed beef is something we do differently. We also have allergy protocols so that customers with a variety of allergies can safely eat at Grassburger. We pride ourselves on our vegan and gluten free menu.
What advice do you have for managers?
Regardless of industry the most important thing a manager can do is to be a servant leader. Leading with empathy and humility is the best way to build culture within an organization. I think too often managers lead from a soap box which just isn’t effective in gaining trust and respect. You really have to be on the same level as your team in order to get them to believe and trust in you.
What’s your favorite book?
Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. My wife and I were able to read the book together and follow the steps in it to become debt free. It is because of that book that we were able to take the job with Grassburger and make a much needed lifestyle change. I will be forever grateful that I read that book.
Do you have a hero or mentor--business or otherwise?
I know it is cliche, but my father is my hero. He is the hardest working person I know and he would gladly give you the shirt off his back or his last dollar. It is because of his mentorship that I am who I am today.
What do you look for in prospective employees?
I look for people who are able to engage in conversation easily, have great work ethic and are team oriented.