Foodstock Orlando Executive Producer – Dr. Mary Jo Ross

Dr. Mary Jo Ross is a leading academic expert in the field of special events and catering. A Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) and a Certified Professional Catering Executive (CPCE) she began teaching hospitality marketing at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management in May of 2001.

Dr. Ross joined UCF while employed with Universal Orlando as a multi-unit restaurant manager in Islands of Adventure. Food and beverage operations have been a major part of her career for over 27 years prior to joining academia.

Dr. Ross also served the Pittsburgh Public Schools as the senior buyer for all food service operations and assisted the food and beverage director in the city’s re-development of school food service operations.

Her natural aptitude for quality guest service was enhanced while employed with the Ritz Carlton resort hotel on Vanderbilt Beach, Naples, and the Sonesta Sanibel Hotel & Resort in food and beverage operations and specialty catering.

Catering and event sales, banquet management, room service supervisor, and multi-unit restaurant management represent the responsibilities that her leadership provided while in the hotel and restaurant industry.

Dr. Ross has a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Instructional Systems Technology, a M.A. in Adult and Community Education and a B.S. in Human Resource Management.

During her educational pursuit Dr. Ross attended Penn State University and served as the Attaché to the Walter Conti Endowment in the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management. In addition, she was a project manager and subject matter expert of contract food service operations for a grant with the Department of Nutrition with the State of Pennsylvania to develop quality food service operations for public schools.

In her private life, entrepreneurial leanings resulted in her personal ownership of an event decorating business and catering company. A passion for the performing arts and musical theatre Dr. Ross has produced and directed dozens of semi-professional shows, pageants, and galas. Her sharpened technical and theatrical skills have supported the creativity necessary for the special events industry.

Dr. Ross served the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College faculty as an Assistant Professor from 2001 to 2016 and was the organization’s Director of Events from 2005 through 2009. She currently teaches foodservice and resort operations at several Florida Universities and works with several Orlando hospitality organizations on various boards and special events. She is the founder of the Dick Pope Legacy Awards and fledgling member of the Grand Tour Foundation Board of Directors.

She currently serves on Orlando’s Church Street District advisory board and is the Executive Producer for Foodstock Orlando.