Druffel, Longtime Industry Leader, Named Director for Nashville State Community College Hospitality Program
Nashville State Community College has announced that Thom Druffel has been hired as the director and an instructor of its Hospitality program. Druffel brings nearly 40 years of experience in the local hospitality industry.
“My focus is to bring industry best practices in leadership and service into the classroom, so students have both the knowledge and skills for long-term success,” said Druffel. “We plan on having strong skill development that will allow students to be job-ready at graduation. Our graduates are going to be ‘Ready to Serve, Ready to Lead’.”
Druffel plans on identifying career paths through the MNPS high school hospitality academies and with local hospitality staff that wants to grow their careers in leadership positions. Included in his goals is to expand minority development in hospitality leadership.
“Thom has the skillset, professional reputation, organizational abilities, and network to take the hospitality program to new heights,” said Karen Stevenson, dean of Nashville State’s Business, Management and Hospitality Division. “Students will benefit greatly from Thom’s knowledge and experience.”
Nashville State’s Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Carol Rothstein said, “With the College’s emerging Hospitality program, along with the Culinary Arts program, we are working to strengthen ties with local industry to be a key workforce solution partner and create a pipeline of sustained career success for our graduates.”
According to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., Nashville had 16.1 million visitors in 2019. Hospitality is Nashville’s second-largest industry and is expected to continue growing and placing more pressure on the need for skilled professionals.
Nashville State Community College offers students a variety of Hospitality Management programs to fit their needs and schedule, such as a Hospitality Management A.A.S., Hospitality Management Apprenticeship, Food and Beverage Management Technical Certificate, Food and Beverage Service Technical Certificate, Hotel Management Technical Certificate, and a Lodging Guest Service Technical Certificate.
In addition to the Hospitality program, Nashville State has a Culinary Arts program, with a state-of-the-art kitchen, led by award-winning, certified professional chefs. Both programs are located on the Southeast campus in Antioch.
For the past 19 years, Druffel has held the position of general manager at the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt (InterContinental Hotels Group). He has also served as the vice president of operations for Prime Hospitality where he developed the portfolio to 42 hotels during a two-year span. From 1981 to 1999, Druffel was with Marriott, having served from 1994 to 1997 as regional vice president of Residence Inn by Marriott, Southeast, where he was responsible for 32 hotels.
Thom is active in the community, holding several elected and appointed positions. He is the Metro Councilman for District 23. He chairs the Education Committee and is a member of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Convention, Tourism, and Public Entertainment Facilities Committee. Thom is also on the executive committee and board of directors for the Nashville After School Alliance (NAZA) and the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association. He is active with the Metro Nashville Public Schools Academies. Druffel is the recipient of numerous community awards.
Druffel earned a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration from California State Long Beach.