Hospitality Innovation Speaker Series

Industry executives share innovative practices, ideas and products with students

Hospitality Innovation Speaker Series


In conjunction with lecturer Audra Quinn’s upper-division Hospitality Innovation course last fall, The Collins College hosted a six-week speaker series featuring professionals from an array of companies that conduct business in the hospitality industry. 



Gary Wlassak, chief operating officer of Ezer Inc., shared the benefits of using the Ezer mobile application for on-demand and scheduled pick-up and delivery requests. He demonstrated ways that hotels and restaurants could use the application to solve issues such as last-minute requests from VIP guests.


The second guest speaker was Matt Ryczek, chief operating officer of Ideahouse and Co., a product development firm. His talk was especially relevant for Quinn’s Hospitality Innovation students in attendance because they are tasked with a culmination project that involves the development and marketing of an innovative product or service that benefits the hospitality industry.


Students filled The Collins College’s largest lecture room to capacity for a presentation from Eric Jacobs, chief development officer for Marriott International. He spoke about the company’s new lifestyle brands and how innovative approaches are incorporated to improve guest experiences.


Students heard a dynamic lecture from Fedele Bauccio, founder and CEO of Bon Appétit Management Co., an on-site restaurant business that offers full-service management to specialty venues. His company pioneers environmentally and socially responsible practices and is adept at evolving with the industry by adopting beneficial and innovative solutions.


Aaron Neilson, Cal Poly Pomona’s director of dining services, shared the story behind the creation and implementation of Innovation Brew Works as a learn by doing brewery and laboratory on campus that allows students to produce, bottle and sell CPP’s own beer.


The last guest lecturer of the six-week Hospitality Innovation Speaker Series was Thomas Hines, founder and CEO of Overwatch Safety Solutions. His company provides a personal security application that allows users to alert people if they are in danger by saying a code word or making a specific movement. He shared the innovative ways that hospitality companies can utilize the application to promote guest safety and well-being.