I have had dual careers for over thirty years.
I have been with newspaper for over 40 years and bartending for over 34 years.
As newspaper industry started to slide, I had to step up my bartending game. I joined the USBG in Cleveland in 2012 and have been the treasurer here since 2013. I have competed in several events, judged a few and attending many seminars and industry events over the past three years.
Since the glamor of the newspaper industry is slowly and painfully slipping away, I have found a new respect for bartending and the whole industry behind it. It has pulled me in and sparked new life into me.
It’s a long complicated story but here is the condensed version:
The ad in the paper read: “Bartender, no experience needed.”
I started that night at the Cloverleaf Bowling Alley.
That was on my 24th birthday.
I was working a full time at the newspaper and with two small children we needed extra money.
I fell in love with bartending immediately and have been working two to four shifts behind the stick ever since. From the bowling alley, to neighborhood bars, large dance clubs, a chain restaurant, ski resorts and in gentleman’s clubs.
My big break came when the movie Cocktail came out. Yes, I saw it when it came out. I was working a small corner bar where quite a few industry people hung out. They taught me to flip bottles and tins and I entered a contest a large dance club. I came in second (Only to find up years later I won but they couldn’t give it to a corner bartender with all of the big chains competing.) That propelled me out of the corner scene and into the big club atmosphere. Because of my position at the paper, I traveled all over the country and always made it a point to check out the clubs when out of town.
I have been working for at The Plain Dealer for over 40 years, progressing from door to door subscription sales when I was in high school to my current position as Quality Assurance & Commercial Print Coordinator. I have been in supervision/management for over 20 of those years. I was part of the team that brought the International Color Club award (IFRA) to The Plain Dealer three times. The Plain Dealer was the first paper in North America ever to win this award. I was the leader for projects from training the advertising staff, advertising agencies and customers on how moving from letterpress to offset printing would affect the look and quality of their print ads. The leader in the transformation from traditional paste-up to digital workflows, hard copy tearsheets to digital tearsheets and digital invoicing. Taking our plateroom from a film to plate workflow to computer to plate (CtP) experience. In the early days of desktop publishing, I was recognized as an industry leader in bringing desktop publishing to the forefront of the newspaper industry. I worked with Adobe and the Associated Press to promote a PDF workflow throughout the industry. Chairperson of Newspaper Association of America, NAA digital tearsheet and invoicing task force. Introduced color management and press profiling to The Plain Dealer, which then became standard practice for the newspaper industry. Worked with Adobe on PDF for print production, Metadata for photos and taking PageMaker, to the Quark killer, InDesign.
My experience in the newspaper industry has been a great asset in my bartending career as well. Advertising is all about the customer service and getting your message out. Just like taking care of your customers from behind the bar and getting their drinks out and providing a pleasurable experience for all.
My wonderful wife, Gabriella and I have been happily married for 34 years. We have three grown children and two grandchildren. This story is better than anything above.