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The Power of the JWU Network

More than 20 years later, three JWU alumni find themselves working together on a multibillion-dollar development in Baltimore, Maryland for the new Under Armour campus. Marc Weller ’95, president of Sagamore Development Company, LLC, and David Andrew ’93, senior vice president at Marsh & McLennan Companies, have been great friends since their time at Johnson & Wales University. When Weller learned Andrew’s company, and fellow JWU alumnus Luke Ostrom ’97, partner and proprietor of NoHo Hospitality Group, submitted bids for this project, he knew he’d be working with passionate, dedicated and smart businessmen.

Get to know Weller, Andrew and Ostrom in this video and how the power of the JWU network brought them together for this professional partnership.

Weller, Andrew and Ostrom visited the Providence Campus this winter to talk with students about their career paths and the power of the JWU network that led them to this partnership. Here are a few sentiments these alumni shared with our students during the panel:

WELLER: I was going from class to class [as a JWU student] and dreaming up ideas. The biggest thing was that I had a dream of doing some big and important things and making a difference, but I didn’t know exactly what that meant. I didn’t know the path that was going to get me there either. The only thing I did, that I know was right at the time, was that I tried everything I could from a work perspective, from a friendship perspective, and from an experience perspective. I think that helped shape me into what I am today. I found something I’m passionate about—building and creating things, creating opportunity, creating jobs—and I went with it and went all in.

ANDREW: As a student, I was always a hard worker. What was always important for me, more than anything, was my schedule. I received a half tuition scholarship to Johnson & Wales, but [worked a number of jobs to pay for the other half]. After class, I would leave to get on the bus to the Harborside Campus where I worked for continuing education from 1-9pm; then I would bartend at the Marriott; and then after that, late night, I would DJ epic parties and return and repeat. So keeping a schedule was important to my success.

OSTROM: I knew at a pretty young age I always wanted to be involved in hospitality. I probably didn’t know what that meant at the time. I started scrubbing pots and pans at 14, which was one of the best educations I have ever received. And from there, I worked my way up. I was a chef for about 10 years after attending JWU until I eventually took the leap of faith and took the white coat off and transitioned into a very different part of the business. When I was attending JWU, I was trying to figure out the right balance of social living and experience that comes with that – which at times, can be as valuable as the education you get. Working is really part of the education process also – I think if you can find the balance of life, work and education, and you keep those three principles from now until forever, you’ll find yourself having a lot of success. What I learned here early on, if you always, always try to put a little bit more effort in than the guy on the left and the guy on the right, you’ll have a good chance of succeeding at what you do.

For the full panel discussion, watch the video.

Pictured (left to right): Andrew, Ostrom, and Weller. 

Pictured (left to right): Andrew, Ostrom, and Weller.