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Highlands Presents Free Hospitality Industry Seminars

Photo of Leon Bustos.

Leon Bustos

October 22, 2019

Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University presents a series of free seminars to prepare individuals for work in the growing Northern New Mexico hospitality industry, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Regional Development Corporation.

Leon Bustos, the interim director of the Highlands Undergraduate Enrichment (HUE) program, is organizing the seminars.

“There are limited opportunities in Northern New Mexico for training in the hospitality industry to prepare workforce-ready participants,” Bustos said. “The goal of these seminars is to improve the quality of service standards in restaurants and hotels in Northern New Mexico.

“The idea for the seminars is to provide individuals with what they need to successfully enter work in the hospitality industry. This grant is making it possible to improve the lives of these individuals. We’re very grateful to the Regional Development Corporation for this economic development opportunity,” Bustos said.

Bustos said many local food and beverage professionals are teaching the seminars.

“I’m honored to work in collaboration with outstanding local professionals and entrepreneurs like Isaac Sandoval, Sarah Mathews, and Sean Sinclair,” Bustos said.

“Participants registered to date range from entry-level workers to hospitality industry entrepreneurs. There is still room for more participants,” Bustos said.

The four-week seminar series includes:

Week 1: Hospitality Work Experience: Oct. 24, 5:30 -­ 7:30 p.m. Presenter: Weston Simons, bartender-mixologist, La Casa Sena, and 2019 Bartender of the Year nominee. Location: Highlands Student Center, Room 321, 800 National Ave.

Fundamentals of Beverages and Beverage Technology: Oct. 27, 3 – 5 p.m. Presenter: Sarah Mathews, owner and operator, Borracho’s Craft Booze and Brews. Location: Borracho’s Craft Booze and Brews, 139 Bridge St., Las Vegas.

Week 2: Introduction to Hospitability: Oct. 29, 5:30 -7:30 p.m. Presenter: Kathy Hendrickson, tour director and owner, Southwest Detours. Location: Highlands Student Center, Room 321, 800 National Ave.

Menu Management and Pricing: Oct. 30, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Presenter: Chef Jessica McGee, vocations director, Luna Community College. Highlands Student Center, Room 321, 800 National Ave.

Connecting Vision with Food and a Demonstration of Skills at The Skillet restaurant: Nov. 2, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Presenter: Chef Isaac Sandoval, The Skillet co-owner. Location: The Skillet, 619 12th Street, Las Vegas.

Week 3: Hotel Operations: Nov. 5, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Presenter: Troy Johnson, general manager, Best Western Plus and Montezuma Inn & Suites. Location: Best Western Conference Room, 2020 North Grand Ave, Las Vegas.

Front Office Management: Nov. 6, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Presenter: Denise Davenport, operations manager for Sodexo, Highlands’ food service. Location: Highlands Student Center, Room 321, 800 National Ave.

Culinary and Local Culture: Nov. 7, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Presenters: Elmo Baca, owner, Indigo Theater; and Sara Mathews, owner and operator, Borracho’s Craft Booze and Brews. Location: Highlands Student Center, Room 321, 800 National Ave.

Week 4: Introduction to Regional Fine Dining: Nov. 16, 4 – 6 p.m. Presenter: Sean Sinclair, owner and operator of the Bar Castañeda and upcoming Kin restaurant at the renovated historic Castañeda Hotel. Participants will experience fine dining first-hand as guests in the newly renovated dining hall. Location: Castañeda Hotel, 541 Railroad Ave., Las Vegas.

“At the end of the seminar series on Nov. 17, participants will have the opportunity to receive the New Mexico ServSafe food handling certification through taking an online exam. Highlands will provide the test code,” Bustos said.

The Regional Development Corporation is a private non-profit 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to improving economic development in Northern New Mexico.

For more information, contact Bustos at 505-454-3071 or leonbustos@nmhu.edu. Online registration is available here with a Google account.