Over at the Moon Township Holiday Inn on University Boulevard, you might notice they’ve got a thing for Robert Morris University. When you step into the hotel’s newly renovated Iron City Grille, you immediately notice the Colonials logos and student and campus photos covering the walls. The hotel is obviously proud of its collegiate neighbor – after all, it was RMU that gave them one of their most dynamic employees, Tara Rzepecki ’99.
A graduate of the university’s top-ranked hospitality and tourism management program, Tara handles group bookings for the hotel’s sports, military, education, religious, fraternal, and government clients. On top of that, this Imperial, Pa., native still finds time to raise her baby daughter, Piper, with her husband, Brad.
01) WHY DID YOU CHOOSE RMU?
At the time, RMU was just starting its hospitality and tourism management program, and it was something I was extremely interested in. I also loved the campus, the small class sizes, and how the professors knew you by name. You weren’t just a number.
02) WHAT GROUPS/TEAMS/ACTIVITIES WERE YOU INVOLVED IN?
Cheerleading. In fact, I was Cheerleader of the Year in 1999.
03) HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJOR? I liked how, with a business degree, I had a lot of different options. I decided to minor in hospitality and tourism because I was working at a local hotel at the time, and I liked the varied day-to-day activity and the interaction with people.
04) WHAT PART OF YOUR EDUCATION WAS ESPECIALLY BENEFICIAL TO YOUR CAREER?
The required internships taught me what to expect in a professional work environment, which really helped me prepare me for my current position.
05) WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT RMU?
I loved the faculty and how they worked with you on an individual basis. And having professors who actually worked in the hospitality field made the classes more relevant and true to life.
06) WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I have a great time working with my clients and co-workers, and every day brings new challenges and people into my life.
07) WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
As a new mother, I spend a lot of time with my daughter, family, and friends.
08) WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE 1) MOVIE 2) BOOK AND 3) TELEVISION SHOW?
Movie: “Grease.” Book: Anything by Dr.Seuss (Yes, still!). Television: I am a sucker for “reality” TV.
09) IF YOU WEREN’T IN THE HOTEL BIZ, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’D BE DOING?
I’d be a financial planner. I really enjoy telling people what to do with their money. Ha ha!
10) SO, WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR TARA?
I’m cool with wherever life takes me. But if I ever leave the hotel industry, I would love to work for RMU in helping the university grow.
WRITTEN BY VALENTINE J. BRKICH