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Brian Connors is the Director of the Bacardi Center of Excellence and Clinical Instructor at Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Brian works directly with industry and academia creating innovative solutions for operational training, concept development, and educational resources.
He was the Wine & Beverage Consultant for Celebrity Cruises. In this role, he assisted in the development of their award-winning beverage programs and traveled the globe training the fleet of nine ships and one of the largest teams of Sommeliers in the world.
In the culinary world, Brian spent eleven years as a Professor with Johnson & Wales University teaching in both the College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs. He taught Advanced Culinary Production, Strategic Food Service Marketing, International Food & Beverage, Foundations of Wine, Advanced Global Wines, Brewing Arts, and Strategic Management.
Throughout his career, Brian has consulted every segment of the industry including independent and multi-unit restaurant groups, hotels, resorts, entertainment venues, private city, and country clubs, retailers of natural and organic goods, hospitality REITs, and the mega yacht industry. Brian began his career on the operations side where he has had the opportunity to work with a number of well-known and successful industry leaders and organizations. He is regularly invited to speak nationally on topics such as creative wine education, food & beverage trends, strategic marketing, and hospitality leadership. Brian has developed nationally recognized, award-winning wine and beverage programs, and has appeared on the Travel Channel’s ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ as well as national television and print media features.
Brian earned his culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University, has trained for his Sommelier certification at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley and is certified by the Court of Master Sommelier. He is also a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) through the Society of Wine Educators, International Bordeaux Wine Educator (IBWE) through The Bordeaux Wine Trade Council (CIVB) and a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) according to standards achieved through the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Brian currently serves as Alumni Admissions Ambassador at Cornell University for the School of Hotel Administration and a board member of the Cornell Hotel Society.
Brian has a Master's degree from the top-ranked Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, and a Bachelor of Science from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, which is a specialized business school in the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University.