May 03, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010 Hospitality Management majors from the
Staten Island campus were invited to spend a day behind the scenes
at the Staten Island Hilton Garden Inn as part of Alumni Insider's
View…Hotel Management. The hotel is managed by The Nicotra
Group LLC, Staten Island's largest private real estate development
company and headed by
Lois ('77NDC, '83GEd) and Richard Nicotra '76NDC, '86HON.
The Alumni Insider's View…Programs enable St. John's University
students to obtain real-world knowledge about a chosen profession
and/or field while drawing upon the professional experiences of
some of our most successful alumni. By serving as panelists,
speakers and moderators, alumni provide students with keen insights
based upon years of experience within their individual professions
The morning began with a breakfast buffet for the students,
followed by a personal welcome from Richard Nicotra and an
introduction to the day's events by Frank Sanchez '03CPS, General
Manager and Carroll Tavella, Senior Vice President, Catering and
Special Events. Throughout the day small groups of students were
given the opportunity to shadow employees, observing as they
performed their duties in a variety of areas, including Restaurant,
Banquets, Front Desk, Sales and Housekeeping.
students toured various areas of the hotel, including on-premises
banquet facilities, kitchens, laundry facilities, guest rooms
and Lorenzo's, a restaurant that bears the name of the Nicotras'
beloved dog and offers patrons an outdoor area set aside for those
who enjoy the experience of having their canine companions dine
Although the facility was completely in use during the event,
serving as the venue for the 12th Annual Staten Island Development
Corporation Conference, employees in each area took the time to
discuss their duties and responsibilities, providing a
much-appreciated opportunity for the students to profit from a
realistic look at a fully-functioning hotel.
"I liked the fact that the staff let us experience different
aspects of the hospitality industry even while the Hilton was
running," said senior Kim Pintus. "At times it was crazy for them
to take us around or talk to us, but the hands-on experience I
received today is different from anything I'd get in the
"Of all the time I've spent in classrooms learning from lectures
and textbooks, it was not until this program that I realized how
crucial hands-on experience is in this industry," agreed junior
Students took note of the many intangibles that are an important
aspect of achieving success in the hospitality industry.
"After spending the day touring different aspects of the
Hilton Garden Inn, I've come to realize that education is important
but personality and hard work are what really drive this industry,"
remarked senior Matthew Simoncini.
"There are certain things you can't learn in a classroom," noted
junior Glori-Ann Geraldi, "and only hands-on experience can really
give you a feel of what you may or may not be cut out for."