Our Faculty

Michelle CostanzoMichelle Fitzpatrick, CHT

Department Chair
Professor - Hospitality Management
“Happiness is an attitude. Each day we have a choice to either make ourselves miserable, or embrace the positive and share a smile. The amount of work is the same and up to each individual.”

Introduced to the industry by her Chef father and working at their family owned Italian restaurant led Michelle to follow in her father’s footsteps. After years of education and working in the hospitality industry, Michelle discovered her passion for hotel operations and training. Michelle lives with her husband Sean and they enjoy scuba diving, watching live music and trying to keep up with the Austin foodie scene. Michelle has been with ACC since 2010.

B.A., Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA Hotel and Restaurant Institutional Management
Internship with Schiller International University, Engelberg, Switzerland.

Professional Experience:
Manager, Fairfield Inn by Marriott Frederick, MD
Manager, Courtyard by Marriott Frederick, MD
Faculty, Prince George’s Community College
Leadership & Training Manager at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, MD

Email: michelle.fitzpatrick@austincc.edu

Liz AlexanderLiz Alexander, CMP

Professor - Hospitality Management
“Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

While receiving her bachelor’s degree from the Hilton School for Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, Liz began working in the culinary intern program with Starwood Hotels, giving her a strong background for later work in catering sales, food and beverage operations and conference and event management. Texan born, Liz enjoys activities in the sun - rowing Lady Bird Lake, boating at Lake Travis, biking around town and growing peppers and tomatoes in the garden. Liz has been with ACC since 2004.

B.A., University of Houston, Hilton School for Hotel and Restaurant Management
Intern, Starwood Hotels
Masters, Augusta State University, Business Administration
Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), 2008

Professional Experience:
Marriott Hotels
Manager, Food and Beverage Operations, University of Texas
Manager, Food and Beverage Operations, Augusta State University
Conferences Project Manager, Texas Association of Counties
Email: ealexand@austincc.edu

Latonia BoothLatonia Booth

Professor - Hospitality Management
“If better is possible... good is not enough!”

Latonia Booth has over 20 years experience as a Corporate Event Manager. She has traveled extensively around the world as well as throughout the US managing medical conferences and tradeshows of all sizes. She is currently employed as the Meeting & Events Manager at Pioneer Surgical, a medical device manufacturer in Austin, TX. Her responsibilities include developing event strategies, contract negotiations, site selections, budget management, on-site operations as well as many additional logistical tasks associated with event management. Additionally, Latonia has worked as a Convention Services Manager for Hilton hotels where she was responsible for working with clients to determine overall meeting objectives and all logistical & operational aspects of each event.
On a personal note, Latonia enjoys traveling, sports, good wine, and spending time with her husband.

AAS in Meeting & Event Planning, Austin Community College
Certified Meeting Planner (CMP)

Professional Experience:
Meeting & Event Manager, Pioneer Surgical
Convention Service Manager, Hilton Hotels

Email: lbooth@austincc.edu
(Cell) 512.466.1757

Karen DuncanKaren Duncan, MS, CTC, DS

Professor -Travel & Tourism
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca

My passion for entering the travel industry has always been to learn about other cultures, now I enjoy opening the eyes of others to the professional opportunities this vast industry can provide as well.
Originally from Chicago, Karen came to Texas to go to college and never went back.  Karen started Peeks Cruises & Tours over 17 years  ago and is a partner with Gustos Pedicab Wine Tours. Karen has been with ACC since 2000. Karen is married to Mitchell and has two children, Porscha and Edwin.

B.S., University of North Texas, Recreation and Leisure Studies
M.A., University of Illinois, Recreation/Sports/Tourism Management
Certified Travel Counselor-The Travel Institute
Destination Specialist-The Travel Institute

Professional Experience:
Insurance Agent and District Sales Manager with Allstate Insurance 1988-1998
Texas Parks and Wildlife 1984-1985
Resident of Pflugerville since 1987
Graduate of Leadership Georgetown
Graduate of ACC Leadership Academy
Board member of Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area
Board member, Texas Travel Industry Association.
Member of CLIA-Cruise Line International
Member of International Culinary Tourism 
Certified Sandals Specialist

Email: kduncan@austincc.edu


Dan EichlerTucker Johnson

Professor - Hospitality Management
“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” -Vince Lombardi

Tucker was introduced to the hospitality industry as a dishwasher, at the early age of 16. Fresh out of college he had the opportunity to be a manager for Outback Steakhouse and was responsible for the Front of House. Looking for a change though still passionate about the hospitality industry, Tucker transitioned into hotel sales. In sales he developed a love for making sales calls and proactively finding new business. In his current position, Tucker is responsible for sales, marketing, and revenue optimization for a portfolio of hotels. In his free time Tucker enjoys spending time with his wife and their three children. Tucker has been with ACC since 2013.

B.S. Cornell University – School of Hotel Administration
M.H.A University of Las Vegas, Nevada – Harrah Hotel College
Certified Hospitality Sales Professional (CHSP), 2007

Professional Experience:
Front of House Manager, Outback Steakhouse
Assistant General Manager, Log Cabin Inn
Director of Sales, Candlewood Suites
Sales, Ayres Hotels
Corporate Director of Sales & Marketing, Live Oak Lodging

Email: tucker_johnson@austincc.edu

Bryan GardnerBryan Gardner

Professor - Hospitality Management
"The best things in life aren't things."

Fortunately, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, didn’t hold true for Bryan Gardner. ACC has benefited from Bryan’s years of experience in the hotel industry in Vegas and other cities. Currently, Bryan is the Director of Human Resources at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas, where he has been since the summer of 2000.  He has been with ACC since 2002.

B.S. with Honors, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Hotel Administration
B.A., University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Spanish

Professional Experience:
Internship (Training and Development), MGM Grand Hotel, Casino, & Theme Park,  Las Vegas, Nevada
Employment Specialist, MGM Grand Hotel, Casino, & Theme Park, Las Vegas, Nevada
Housekeeping Supervisor, MGM Grand Hotel, Casino, & the Park, Las Vegas, Nevada
Assistant Housekeeping Manager, Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Santa Barbara, California
Assistant Director of Human Resources, Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Santa Barbara, California
Assistant Director of Human Resources, Four Seasons Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Director of Human Resources, Four Seasons Hotel, Austin Texas
Member, society for Human Resources Management

Email: bgardner@austincc.edu  

Nichole GoldenNichole Golden

Coordinator, Special Events
"Find your passion and you will never work a day in your life."

Accompanied by their dog, Weston, Nichole and her husband, William, left the East Coast for Austin in 2011 and haven’t looked back.. Nichole has worked as the Events Coordinator for the programs of Hospitality, Culinary Arts, Meeting & Event Planning, and Travel & Tourism departments at ACC since 2011.

BS, East Carolina University, Hospitality Management, Business Management

Professional Experience:
Guest Service Agent, TownePlace- Gaithersburg, MD: Seasonal May 2000-October 2003
Sales Coordinator, Event Manager, Sales Manager, Assistant General Manager, Courtyard by MarriottGaithersburg, MD: October 2003-July 2006
Assistant General Manager, Fairfield Inn by Marriott – Frederick, MD: July 2006-February 2008
General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott- Gettysburg, PA: February 2008-March 2011

Email: ngolden@austincc.edu

Pavan NayiniPavan Nayini

Professor - Hospitality Management
“To make every experience a memorable one for the guest.”

Pavan’s journey in Hospitality started right after high school with a simple desire to find a job where he could look sharp and handsome wearing a suit. Since then he has travelled two continents, attended three schools and worked for 5 different hospitality companies. Pavan often wears a suit while fulfilling his passion for teaching. He has been with ACC since 2012.

Diploma,  Institute of Hotel Management, Hotel Management, Hyderabad, India
BS, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Hotel and Restaurant Management
MBA, Johnson and Wales University, Financial Management, Providence, Rhode Island

Professional Experience:
Internship, Green Park Hotel, Hyderabad, India
Manager, "Where Else," Hyderabad, India
Consultant, Four Seasons Hotel, Boston, MA
Staff Accountant, Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, Miama, FL
Staff Accountant, Four Seasons Hotel, Austin TX

Email: pnayini@austincc.edu

Don MorrisDon Morris

Professor -Hospitality Management and Travel & Tourism
The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
- Saint Augustine

Don’s great love of learning, teaching and serving others has continued to grow over a span of 30 years in the travel and tourism industry.  Don has been with ACC since 1997. He has a wife of 20+ years with two daughters and a granddaughter.

BA, Texas Tech University, Business Administration
MA, Austin Graduate School of Theology, Theological Studies
AAS, Austin Community College, Hospitality Management
CTA, Travel Institute
CTE, Travel and Tourism College

Professional Experience
Independent Travel Consulting, Austin, Texas, 1996-2006
President of the ACC American Federation of Teachers
President of the Adjunct Faculty Association, Austin Community College

Email: dmorris@austincc.edu 
Phone: 512.223.1790 ext 23183 voice mail only


Kate ValishKate Valish

Professor - Meeting & Event Planning
The feeling of pure accomplishment one experiences after having a direct impact on a successful event is the most rewarding part of being an event professional.”

Kate is originally from Nebraska where she began her career in the hospitality industry.  Kate graduated from the University of Nebraska and then relocated to Austin to take her first hospitality management role.  After ten years in a wide variety of roles in hospitality management, Kate embarked on a new path as an event planner at George P. Johnson Experience Marketing Agency.  At George P. Johnson Kate specializes in corporate events and tradeshows for IBM.  She currently manages program goals and event strategies for over 150 IBM events per year. Has been with ACC since 2013.

B.S. University of Nebraska Lincoln Human Resources & Family Sciences, concentration in Restaurant Administration.
Certified Meeting Professional, CMP 2008

Professional Experience:
Front Office Supervisor, Doubletree
Food & Beverage Manager, Crowne Plaza
Catering Sales Manager, Crowne Plaza
Sales Manager, Omni
Executive Meetings Manager, Doubletree
Event Project Manager, George P. Johnson Event Marketing Agency
Senior Program Manager, George P. Johnson Event Marketing Agency

Email: kate.valish@austincc.edu 


Kristen SikorskiKristen Sikorski

Department Assistant
"Even the smallest act of benevolence for another person is like a drop of water; it will make ripples throughout the entire pond.”

While receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from Texas A&M University, she worked in administration and meeting planning at the renowned Vegetable Fruit and Improvement Center. There she discovered her joy in assisting others get organized and strengthening organizations for their path to success. Kristen has been at ACC since 2012.

B.A.  Texas A&M University History

Professional Experience:
Student Administrator Assistant- Texas A&M University
Manager- Corner Bar and Grille
Manager- Snap Kitchen
Administrative Assistant- Corporate Reality Austin

Email: kristen.sikorski@austincc.edu 
Phone: 512.223.5274