Peter Matra ’94 is a big sports fan. “Short of being a
shortstop for the Yankees,” he laughs, “I’ve got the best
job out there.”
Matra is vice president of operations for Centerplate,
in Newark, NJ, a food service company specializing in
stadiums, arenas and convention centers. His home base is
the Prudential Center in Newark where he makes sure the
food, beverages and merchandise service roll out smoothly
when the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, the NBA’s New Jersey
Nets and Seton Hall’s basketball teams compete. The
center also hosts special events and concerts.
Prior to the doors opening, Matra and his staff walk
around the entire arena checking that food is being
prepped, employees are in uniform and the entire operation
is clean and ready for fans. Lending Matra a hand at
the center are JWU alumni Brian Gatskill ’07, assistant concessions manager; Emily Brennan ’09, catering supervisor;
and Justin Thomas ’09, concessions supervisor.
With seating for up to 18,000, 200 annual events, a
full-service restaurant, bars, concession stands, 75 suites
and a merchandise store, “There are a lot of pieces and
parts that go into making the machine run,” Matra says.
He has seven other accounts in the New York tri-state
area — minor league baseball teams and a hockey team —
with their own arenas. In all, he has 25 managers report to
him and oversees revenue in excess of $16 million.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” says Matra. “I went to
school for hospitality management and this kind of brings
it all together. I get to go to work at a ballpark, stadium or
an arena every day.”
Email Peter Matra
Online Program draws
In September 2010, 39 students embarked on JWU’s
first two online degree programs, a BS in baking &
pastry arts and food service management and a BS
in culinary arts and food service management. After
three terms, the programs are thriving: the group of
pioneering students is up to 62, courses developed for
the program rose from 26 to 33, faculty trained to teach
the courses increased from 79 to 107, and the number
of online sections grew from six to eight. With the count
still climbing, the program and its students represent 26
states and Turkey.
Returning alumni make up 89 percent of current students.
Most hold associate degrees from JWU in baking &
pastry arts or culinary arts and are immersed in culinary
and food service careers. In addition to being more
convenient for people who work full time, the online
program is particularly well-suited for alumni because
it incorporates course material required for the associate
programs they have already completed. Thus far,
feedback has been positive. “With these new programs
available, I was able to ‘attend’ a school in Delaware
and then transfer to a school in Rhode Island, and I’ve
done it all from my office in Pennsylvania.” “If it weren’t for online learning, I
would not even consider continuing my education at
this stage in my life and career.”
For information: jwu.edu/onlinelearning, 1-800-342-5598 x2300.
Providence student Taylor Amanda ’12 was chosen as the first recipient of a $3,000
Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship, presented by Benchmark Hospitality
International in Woodlands, Texas, in partnership with the James Beard Foundation.