Instructor-Food Management and Production
Penta Career Center
1993 Owens Graduate
"I am able to achieve my goals, because I got my start at Owens Community College."
Profile of Excellence: James Rhegness
Owens Community College Alumnus
James Rhegness is a 1993 graduate of Owens Community College with an Associate of Applied Business Degree majoring in Business Management Technology. Since 1996, he has taught all aspects of Culinary Education at Penta Career Center and thinks Owens is a great place to start a college education. "I highly recommend Owens Community College to all of my students," he says.
After his high school graduation, James began classes at a large university. During his first semester, like many college freshmen, he experienced "freedom shock" and did not do well academically. He came to Owens Community College for a fresh start. He recognized that he needed the smaller classes and the personalized attention that Owens is known to offer. "My professors took a personal interest in me," says James. "If I wasn't in class, they actually missed me."
James' career interest was in business management and in particular, the hospitality industry. Just prior to his last semester, James did an internship at Belmont Country Club. Tom Root, who was the Club's general manager, took James under his wing. Tom told him that to be an effective club manager, he needed to know how the entire operation worked. So he put James to work in the kitchen. During the internship, James worked every position and found he loved the real world of culinary art.
In June of 1993, James graduated from Owens Community College with his Associate Degree. That fall, he began the intense training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Known for training master chefs, James' goal was to sandwich his business management training from Owens with culinary preparation to be a first class manager. The two years at the Culinary Institute were structured with eight-hour days spent in the kitchen coupled with lectures and projects. "I survived 'chef boot camp' because of my Owens foundation," James said. "I had the confidence to succeed." In May 1995, he graduated from the Institute.
James' first position was at a local country club where he managed a staff of 50 people in both the front and back of the house. The passion for a culinary career, with hours more conducive to starting a family, led him to a position at Monroe Community College as a Culinary Arts Lab Assistant. "I found I loved teaching," he said. When the instructor's position for culinary education became available at Penta Career Center, James jumped at the opportunity.
In the seven years at Penta, James has modeled the program to be a mini-version of the Culinary Institute. "I treat my students with respect and I want them to succeed," says James. In his lead by example style of teaching, James is succeeding. In 2002, he was named the Penta Teacher of the Year. When asked what is his recipe for success, James is quick to respond. "I am able to achieve my goals, because I got my start at Owens Community College."
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Contact Laura Moore at (567) 661-7410 or firstname.lastname@example.org