|By Brook Stockberger, Las Cruces
Sun-News, N.M.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 31, 2009 - --LAS CRUCES -- Janet Green has a message to anyone who wants to open a restaurant: Remember that cooking food is just one of many important aspects you'll have to master.
Green, 50, is the director of New Mexico State University's School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.
"In some ways, it's everybody's dream to own their own little restaurant or their own bar or some type of business and they want to make people happy and serve food," she said. "But (you need to) have the management training to be able to manage the front of the house and the back of the house, and find capital to open a business and know how to market it and identify the locations and labor laws and other things to go along with that dream."
That is why, although food preparation is an important part of the curriculum for students, Green said that a degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management is "really a business-based degree."
"We don't train people to be chefs here," she said. "But we give them the competency in food and beverage management so when they are a hotel manager or a restaurant manager, they (can) know what their chefs should be doing."
To that end, the school operates an eatery on the first floor of Gerald Thomas Hall called 100 West Cafe. Students prepare meals and run the cash registers.
The economy has been felt in the school. Green said that it has become a little bit more difficult for graduates to find employment in the industry.
has slowed down, but we have some long relationships with recruiters like Marriott, Hyatt, Darden Restaurants and they still come to campus and interview,"she said. "What we've seen is the decision-making is more on the side of students staying in school longer, to pick up some more course work (and) staving off going out and interviewing because it was such a soft job market."
Green said that there are about 415 students in the school, up from about 300 when she came on board in 2002, even though enrollment was stagnant this semester for the first time since she arrived.
"We've had an increase in enrollment every semester I've been here for seven plus years except for this one," she said. "We didn't lose enrollment, we just didn't gain."
Green, who was interim director of the school from 2002 until last year when she became the permanent head of HTRM, is a former Secretary of Tourism for the state of New Mexico. She was also deputy secretary and has served as director of NMSU's Rural Economic Development Through Tourism program.
A Socorro native, she has earned a bachelor's degree in management, a master's in family and consumer sciences and a doctorate in educational administration, all from NMSU.
In 1998, she earned the state's Tourism Professional of the Year Award.
Green said that she and her husband, Ed, enjoy spending time with their beagles, CJ and Scout, and also can often be found on a golf course.
"There are Titleists (golf balls) on the table and I probably have golf tees in my purse," Green said.
Brook Stockberger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; (575) 541-5457
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