Lisa Gardner first became interested in the hospitality industry when she worked in her mother’s restaurant in Verona, Missouri. She worked in every position in the restaurant before heading to college to pursue her own career. Two years into an undergraduate degree, she realized that the hospitality industry was where she belonged.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from Missouri State University, Gardner began her career in hospitality management at Hemingways Blue Water Cafe within Bass Pro Shops. Four years later, she was named assistant general manager of the property, managing all concessions, catering and restaurant operations and its 130 employees.
After a brief time in real estate and health care, Gardner returned to Hemingways to serve as its interim general manager for six months. She then found a new home at OTC in 2003, serving as a full-time instructor and then department chair since 2008. Currently, she teaches Dining Room Management, Purchasing, Supervisory Management, Accounting and oversees all student internships. In addition, she is a member of the local chapters of the Missouri Restaurant Association, Springfield Hotel Lodging Association and the Springfield Branson Chef’s Association. She also serves on the advisory boards of the Center for Workforce Development, the Scott Regional Technical Center in Monett and the Waynesville Career Center.