Hospitality Veteran and U of A Lecturer Powell Named to Leadership Baton Rouge Class

Rob Powell

Rob Powell

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Rob Powell, an adjunct instructor in the U of A's hospitality management program, has been named to the Leadership Baton Rouge Class of 2020 by the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Area Chamber.

Powell is a partner with Cardinal Capital, a Louisiana-based commercial finance consulting firm, where he focuses on hospitality business finance and marketing. He has vast experience in the hospitality industry, including marketing positions with The Walt Disney Company, Grand Casinos Inc. and Rainforest Café.

As an adjunct lecturer in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Science's School of Human Environmental Sciences, Powell lectures on hospitality principles and advanced hospitality strategies, mentors students and assists in the development of future hospitality programs.

"Our students and faculty are so fortunate to have the wisdom and experience that Rob brings to the table," said Kelly Way, associate professor of hospitality management and assistant director of HESC. "His many years in hospitality provide depth, knowledge and foresight that complement the faculty in the hospitality program. Not to mention, the connection he has with our students is simply something to be cherished. He spends hours mentoring students, working with them on corporate culture, interactions, communication and the importance of leadership in the hospitality industry. Leaders like Rob are not a dime a dozen, and we are lucky to have him in our corner and on our adjunct faculty."

Powell mixes his experience with academics, giving students industry insight, often with entertaining anecdotal examples.

"Just imagine the stories of strapping Tinkerbell on a wire while sending her off to fly across an audience and she gets stuck," said Powell of stories he shares with students. "As the speaker, you can imagine the ad-lib entertainment. Or when Martin Short and Tim Conway called a bingo game for me. That was a fun time. And imagine the hospitality case of being presented with a PETA demonstration in front of your flagship Rainforest Café where they were claiming we were keeping parrots against their will. With cameras in tow, the demonstration began and the parrots were frightened and flew away, only to fly back later when they felt safe."

During his time with Grand Casinos, according to Forbes, it was the "fastest growing company in North America." While with Rainforest Café, he was recognized by the Academy of Marketing Sciences as Marketer of the Year.

He also spent time with The Second City Comedy troupe from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, before launching his own management and marketing consulting firm.

After spending time in China, Panama, Central America and the Philippines, in 2012 he returned to Baton Rouge where he previously earned degrees in marketing from Louisiana State University.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences


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