Texas Tech University

Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management Alumnus Leads Team of Industry Professionals at Whataburger

Matilda Beckanovic

January 20, 2023

Nick Holmes

Nick Holmes, uses his Hospitality degree in innovative ways as field director.

Nick Holmes received his Bachelor of Science in Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management from Texas Tech University in 1998. He later went on to get his MBA in Human Resource Management from Wayland Baptist in 2003. Holmes has since become the field director of maintenance services for Whataburger. He leads a team of four regional facilities managers, fourteen lead technicians, and 76 maintenance technicians located across the country. 

“My job involves building systems that allow our internal and external maintenance teams to execute curb-to-curb restaurant maintenance and repair activities in the most efficient and cost-effective manner as possible,” Holmes said.  “I certainly never imagined that one day my career path would lead me into the maintenance field, but there are many very enjoyable careers that are related to restaurants, even if they do not often involve preparing or serving food.”

Being the field director allows Holmes to understand and fix highly complex, intellectually challenging aspects of building systems. This gives him and his team the opportunity to spend more time doing what they enjoy. His role encompasses many different aspects of running a business.

“I enjoy learning more about the technical side of things like HVAC, refrigeration, or even the science behind paint that I didn't know before,” Holmes said. “I also really enjoy traveling across the country and seeing so many parts I hadn't been to.”

Lubbock is home to a larger service economy, and the RHIM program benefits greatly from being surrounded by developing businesses within the service industry. Graduates from the Hospitality and Retail Management (HRM) department are prepared for this industry through instruction and hands on learning. Holmes shares his experience in the program. 

“I would absolutely recommend the Hospitality program at Texas Tech,” Holmes said. 

“The broader introduction to the hospitality industry provided by Texas Tech (hotels, restaurants, tourism, even facilities management) allows you to develop and apply solutions meant for one field but wholly applicable to another. Regardless of what service-adjacent industry you choose as a career, there will always be a need for hospitality.” 

One of the ways students are able to get hands on experience is through the on-campus restaurant Skyviews. This facility is run by Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management students and gives them real world experience at working restaurant. Holmes had the opportunity to work at Skyviews and shares how the program prepared him for his career after graduation. 

“In my first job out of college, a manager for Houston's Restaurants, I was asked to accurately gauge the weight of a piece of salmon then cut it as part of the interview process,” Holmes said. “This was a skill I learned at Skyviews, and such skills are things that will serve you well as you advance throughout your career.”

Students, like Holmes, are given opportunities to learn in real work environments with industry professionals. The Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management program prepares graduates for a career to serve their community in a professional way.