Michael Palmer Alumni Profile
RHIM Graduate Expands Wine and Beverage Industry with Dream Career at Southern Glazer's
Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management (RHIM) alumnus Michael Palmer has spent nearly 24 years in the alcohol and entertainment industry. After graduating from Texas Tech University in 2003 with his RHIM bachelor's degree, Michael became the Regional Sales Director at Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits in Lubbock.
"I oversee the sales and service of a $37 million territory annually," Michael said. "I oversee all facets of the sales operation for Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits for all territories West of Wichita Falls and North of I-10 for the State of Texas."
In 1994, Michael began his career in the beverage industry. He later moved to Lubbock, running bars, nightclubs, and restaurants while attending Texas Tech. During this time, he was given the opportunity to own his own bar and grill.
"I opened the Texas Tech Club at Jones Stadium for ClubCorp in 2010 and worked there until 2014 when I took a job with what was known as Glazer's Distributors at the time, now known as Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits."
Since starting at Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits, Michael has been promoted twice. He prides himself on being customer-oriented and says he has adopted a 'servant leadership' mindset. Meeting, interacting and working with people are the backbones of his career.
"The one thing we know in times of joy and of sorrow - people still have to eat and drink," Michael said. "The RHIM degree deals with three things people need to survive: food, water, and shelter."
Michael says one benefit of a Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management degree is that it will never be obsolete, or lose its value, because it gives people the opportunity to begin a career in the hospitality industry and move forward. Another benefit is interacting with people in a fast-paced environment, uncommonly found in most desk jobs.
Michael believes RHIM opened his eyes to the many facets the hospitality industry can touch. Whether its restaurants, hotels, industrial food service or private clubs, the possibilities within the hospitality industry are limitless. Michael says the RHIM bachelor's degree encompasses everything from entry level beverage management to practical application of education, with opportunities for students to run their dinner series at Skyviews Restaurant.
"The classes were focused towards the core knowledge of systems and processes within the industry, and gave a great opportunity to learn how to focus your efforts on understanding the business as a whole."
Eighteen years later, Michael says he is still in close contact with several professors and College of Human Sciences (COHS) faculty. For current students or younger alumni looking for advice, Michael recommends finding an industry mentor to learn from. With ears and eyes open, Michael encourages his peers to soak up information like they are a sponge - learning something new every day. The last piece of advice Michael offers is to never be complacent.
"Having a rewarding career is not simply going through the motions by showing up at work. It is having the mindset of showing up to work with a sense of task and purpose and always looking forward while not reliving the mistakes of the past."