Central Oregon -- it's a world-class tourist destination and hub for hospitality. And Todd Montgomery is ready for it to grow even more.
"Even in the worst of times, people still want to go out and eat, they still want to go on a vacation. They might change their behavior a little bit, but it's always going to be there," he said.
OSU-Cascades recently hired Montgomery as the new hospitality management instructor, to develop a course catered to what Central Oregon thrives on.
"You look around Bend, Central Oregon or even Oregon as a whole, and you see the growth, you see the things that are happening. The industry came to us saying, 'This is a need. This is what we want," Montgomery said.
It's exactly what people who work in the hospitality industry like to hear -- creating more jobs by turning experienced students into staff members.
Rocky Adrianson, manager at The Riverhouse, said, "Students that would come through the program could feed the system. To have an educated hospitality base would be huge for the city, and I don't see Bend shrinking on the hospitality front, so I think it could help."
The classes will teach students about running a business just like Adrianson does at The Riverhouse, which during a busy tourism season can serve up to 50,000 people.
"I could see it affecting all the industries that feed into tourism," Adrianson said.
Montgomery added, "We are hearing this a lot from the industry is of people that can make an impact on Day 1 (and) also deliver that basic customer service that will never go away. But there's also a big technology component, and the technology we've used in hospitality has really changed in the last five to 10 years."
As the industries change and adapt, so will Montgomery's courses -- guiding students to jobs here on the High Desert after graduation.
"It's an evolving thing, but the momentum is building, and you can see it all around campus," he said.
The Hospitality Management Program will happen in phases. Right now, there are only upper-level undergraduate classes offered. Next fall, they will expand even more, and then OSU-Cascades anticipates the full degree will be offered in 2015, when OSU-Cascades transitions to a 4-year university.
For more info, visit http://www.osucascades.edu/