School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Alumni Spotlight

Amanda Gerard Alumni

Amanda Gerard

Contract Administrator and Operations Manager
UNM Food
University of New Mexico

Current Job & Responsibilities:
I oversee the food service contract for the University of New Mexico and act as a liaison between the university and the contracted food service provider. I collaborate with our vendor partner in developing the vision and delivery of a large-scale university foodservice operation while preserving the culture and flavors that are unique to the UNM campus community.

What I Learned From the HRTM Program:
A philosophy came up in an HRTM class that has guided my approach to my career every single day. We were asked to remember that no matter which facet of the industry we work in, we have a unique challenge and opportunity. Most of what we are selling is an intangible product. We are selling an experience. It cannot be returned or exchanged. We get one shot to create the experience. This principle has given me a deep respect and passion for our role in the milestones and memories that we are creating for our guests.

What I Most Enjoy About My Career:
I find it very rewarding to be able to serve a large and diverse campus population. The university foodservice industry values innovation and quick adaptation of services, products, and technology to keep up with incoming students as well as maintaining the elements that honor the history and traditions treasured by students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Memorable Experience:
My most memorable professional experience was the creation of Draft + Table, the first on-campus taproom at UNM. This project involved the development of a modest student-led initiative into a major capital project. This concept was the pinnacle of what a university is capable of in terms of nurturing the ideas and coursework of students from theory to being actualized in a real-world setting. It was very rewarding to incorporate various academic departments, our corporate partners, and our community brewing industry in the process and give The University of New Mexico a unique food and beverage experience on campus.

My professional experience has focused on food and beverage management, member relations, and event planning for private and corporate concepts in the restaurant, bar, leisure, and higher education industries.
I have also had the pleasure of serving on various strategic planning and rebranding task forces and committees as well as consulting for small businesses in hospitality.