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      Celebrating Successful Alums

      Hospitality Management Alumni Lead Successful Careers at Red Lobster

      Red Lobster

      Center for Hospitality Management alums, D. Chip Wade, Andrew Dolan, and Maria Sparacio have more in common than their alma mater.

      Three generations of alumni from the Center for Hospitality Management share more than their alma mater. Each has successful careers within the Red Lobster franchise - D. Chip Wade, '85, is the executive vice president of operations; Andrew Dolan, '09, is the director of operations for the Midwest Division, Region 84; and Maria Sparacio, '14, is the general manager of the Springfield location.

      Wade credits Widener for leading him into the restaurant industry. While he was a student, Wade worked for a newly established Bennigan's Restaurant and continued to work in the industry post-graduation.

      D. Chip Wade

      D. Chip Wade, '85

      executive vice president of operations

      After earning his MBA from the University of Texas, Wade started working for Red Lobster and has since worked his way up to vice president of operations where he is responsible for 95 locations.

      In 2008, Wade was the alumni speaker at career day where he inspired current hospitality students, including Dolan. After the presentation, Dolan connected with Wade and ultimately landed an internship at Red Lobster.

      Under the encouragement of Dr. Joy Dickerson, assistant dean for the Center for Hospitality Management, Dolan continued working there his senior year and was offered a management position after graduation.


      D. Chip Wade

      Andrew Dolan, '09

      director of operations, midwest division

      Years later, when Sparacio was looking for an internship, Dr. Jeffrey Lolli, associate professor of hospitality management, connected her with Dolan. Although her goal had been to work in the hotel industry, her internship experience at Red Lobster was so rewarding that she followed in Dolan's footsteps. She continued to work at Red Lobster during school as well as after graduation.

      Sparacio visits her Widener "home" as often as she can to meet with students, including participating in the annual Center for Hospitality Management career day, and she still receives support from her professors, former classmates, and fellow alumni.


      Maria Sparacio

      Maria Sparacio, '14

      general manager, Springfield location


      Each of the Red Lobster employees attributes their success to their Widener professors. Sparacio attests to the truly caring nature professors express to their students and alumni. Dolan says that because of their dedication with helping him succeed, he feels inspired to give back to the program as an alumnus. He also credits the hospitality program's emphasis on work experience to his professional success.Wade shared a similar sentiment about his professors, especially that of Dr. Nicholas Hadgis, former dean, "who worked tirelessly to grow the program and help the students mature and grow into professionals."

      Similar to Widener, Red Lobster values mentorship opportunities. Wade enjoys leading and coaching divisional vice presidents and operations directors as well as engaging and interacting with hourly employees. Dolan and Sparacio, both enjoy developing young professionals as they come into the industry.

      "If you stay dedicated and always have your eye on ways to be better, it will be noticed by the organization and your career will flourish," Dolan said.


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