1. Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today?
I’ve been in the hospitality industry longer than I haven’t been. I’ve always worked for someone else, helping make their visions come to a reality. Although I have always appreciated the opportunity to work for influential people who were able to pass along valuable knowledge gained from years of experience, I needed a bigger challenge. Luckily, with the support and persuasion of Mark Sandground Sr. I was ready to open my own restaurant. So with a little elbow grease, a lot of coffee, and support of friends and family, we made the dream come true. Smokehouse Live’s continued success is owed to a lot of hard work. We keep things pretty simple by serving quality barbeque, practicing southern hospitality, pouring a good drink, and having great live entertainment.
2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?
Winning a Small Business Award is about my staff getting the recognition they deserve. As a small business you heavily rely on your staff to help you succeed. I’m very lucky that my team understands my vision and wants to make this a fun destination for everyone just as I do. Winning this award would be for them.
3. If you weren’t running your own business/working at this business, what would you be doing?
FISHING!!! Or working as a sandwich maker in a bait shack.
4. What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book?
I don’t have a favorite book. My favorite magazine is Southern Living, and I read that all the time.
5. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?
I would definitely be on my Harley riding down the back-roads of Loudoun County.
6. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?
I can’t say that it’s a small thing, but having a great staff makes a huge impact on business. I’ve got some hard-working people here that really make the difference.
7. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
I’ve always wanted to be a Chef. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.
8. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
Mark Sandground Sr. He’s the man that encouraged me to take the leap and open Smokehouse Live.
9. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?
The people. We are so lucky that we live in such a diverse area. We meet the coolest people, with the greatest stories and of course I enjoy talking ‘que with them when I can.
10. If you’re not in the office where can we find you?
To be completely honest, I stay out of the “office” as much as possible! If I’m not in the kitchen, I’m probably at home on the deck, drinking a beer and smoking meat with Toni Soprano, my dog.
11. What is your favorite weekend activity in Loudoun County?
What’s a weekend? We work the traditional weekends. We are closed Mondays and Tuesdays so on those days I like to take my wife, Melanie, out on the bike. We enjoy trying new restaurants and hitting the local wineries and breweries