We are excited and proud to introduce our newest board members to you. Both Dave and Miguel bring a tremendous heart for education and equity, and leadership experience that will undoubtedly raise our game to the next level.
Dave Urso was born and raised near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He lived in Philadelphia until leaving to attend college at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Dave received a Bachelor’s in Conflict Resolution and a Master’s in Educational Psychology from JMU. After graduate school, Dave spent 8 years working at Lord Fairfax Community College in Virginia. While working at LFCC, Dave completed a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Colorado State University. Currently, Dave works as the Dean of Life Sciences and Human Services at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia. Dave is very humbled to have received the Dr. Ronald Carrier Award for Exemplary Student Leadership upon his graduation from JMU in addition to being named the 2005 Outstanding Professional of the Year at a Two-Year Institution by the Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators. Dave is an avid sports enthusiast – Go all teams Philadelphia! – and truly values the time he gets to spend with family and friends. In 2006, Dave got married to his college sweetheart, Carrie. In 2009, they welcomed twin sons, Chase and Luke, to the world. In 2013, the birth of their daughter, Belle, completed their family. The Ursos live in Harrisonburg, VA.
What inspires you about the vision and mission of On the Road Collaborative?
I’ve dedicated my career to education. While the focus has been at the college level, I’ve seen first-hand what happens to students who fall behind the pace of education and enter college needing to catch up. A program like On the Road Collaborative, centered on bridging the gaps between where students are, where they need to be, and even where they have the potential to excel excites me. As this group generates momentum, the impact on the community will be real and long-lasting. At its core, the mission is the very essence of what a nonprofit organization should be.
Why are you interested in joining the On the Road Collaborative board?
I have two young children currently in the school system, and another not far behind. I believe in this community and that if we can share a crystal clear picture of not only what the problem is but also what others can do to be a part of the solution at the individual, family, or institutional level, we can move the needle in the right direction. I pride myself on being a strategic thinker and can add value to the efforts of the team.
What career enrichment project would you teach? I’d teach entrepreneurship. The lessons would challenge students to increase their creative thinking, exploration of the environment around them, trial and error experimentation, and building a vision.
What’s your favorite quote? Promise me you’ll always remember…you are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. – Christopher Robin
Miguel Bendrao Baltazar, holds a Master degree of Management in Hospitality (AACSB accredited MBA) from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, New York, USA. Miguel brings along 14 years of international hospitality management work experience achieving general management positions in the restaurant and hotel industries. Miguel had several hotel management positions including general manager of two different small size hotels. After his Masters degree, he fully dedicated to hospitality higher education in Portugal, Switzerland, Spain and Puerto Rico. He has in his portfolio 12 years of teaching, administrating and advising international hospitality management experience in the public and private sectors.
He currently works as a Lecturer at James Madison University School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management Harrisonburg VA (USA). In this public university he teaches a course on Hotel Operations and Hospitality Technology (HM311) and another course on Introduction to the Hospitality Industry (HM211). He also participates in a few academic committees and he is the adviser to the JMU Chapter of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH), the biggest hospitality students’ organization. Previous portfolio experience includes supervising BBA Honor Thesis, teaching Revenue Management at the MBA and BBA level, Hotel Operations and Marketing courses in several prestigious Schools of Hospitality.
The experiences he went through helped him to rise above difficulties and helped to make him more self-reliant, resilient, responsible and disciplined. From Monte-Carlo to Angola, from Switzerland to the USA, his experiences made him see how important the knowledge and skills that research offers are in life. Miguel’s operations and academic background – a Master in Management Hospitality, a Licentiate’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management and a BSc also in Hotel Management – together with his extensive teaching experience will also be important in integrating any course and research knowledge into the hospitality context. With his hard and dedicated academic work contribution, he will help to produce a place where the best of the ideas about professional hospitality management education have been sought, brought forward, shared and nurtured. In doing so, he is committed to positively affect the lives of students and other stakeholders who will pass through the doors of his higher education institution, preparing them well for a career in the industry.
He is fluent in Portuguese (mother tongue), English, French and Spanish and he is profound (speaking and writing) in Italian. He describes himself as a high energy, hardworking and knowledgeable dedicated professional with positive attitude towards both customers and students, with a natural communication and teaching proclivity.
What inspires you about the vision and mission of On the Road Collaborative?
It is about being part of an educational community cause and team who is concerned about supporting the development of Harrisonburg City Public schools kids after the normal day school schedule. It is a commitment and call to action of inclusion and engagement with all our kids in the community. A promise of not letting go after school without offering guidance and development opportunities.
What gifts are you excited to bring to the On the Road Collaborative team?
I will bring 14 years of an international professional experience of teaching in higher education and about the same time as an hospitality manager, multi-lingual skills - portuguese, spanish, french and italian - an experience of living in 5 countries and 3 continents. Also highly motivated to integrate better and give back to the community through volunteer hard-work with positive attitude.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Life is service – the one who progresses is the one who gives his fellow men a little more – a little better service.” - E. M. Statler (1863-1928). This innovative hotelier is famously known by answering about the choice of his hotel address as “location, location, location”; also known by introducing the Statler Hotel in Buffalo NY, the 1st major hotel to have a private bath or shower and running water in every room, introduce keyholes for safety, electric light switches, guest room radios and delivery of a morning newspaper in every room.
The world would be a more awesome place if...
People would live in peace and harmony, centered in its overall community development and increasing the education opportunities of its population.