Meet Jeff Powell

Good Morning Team H5H!  I was asked to share my story, so I hope to entertain and let you into my world.  I was born at the Dover Air Force Base Hospital on 12/1/1980.  I grew up in “old base housing” with my 3 brothers, Joe, James, and John.  Yep, all J’s.  My dad is also Joe so it’s Joe, Joe, Jeff, James, and John. We had an awesome life growing up together as we were a close family.  Being raised military, we were raised with discipline, respect, and loyalty being many of the credos to live by.  I wouldn’t trade being raised in a military household for anything.  My dad would serve for over 20 years before retiring from the Air Force to go on to be a principal for a high school.  My mother was a stay at home mom for most of our childhood who has since went on to serve for over 25 years and counting with the Delaware State Police, Internal Affairs division.  I am very proud of my family starting with my oldest brother Joe who now is a global executive for Diageo, John is an officer in the Army currently working in the Pentagon, and Jim is a senior project manager for an enviro firm in Sussex County.

I started in the hospitality industry with Ruby Tuesday located in the Dover Mall.  I would go onto work for Ruby’s 11 years, climbing the internal ranks from hourly employee to District Manager over my tenure.  I had the pleasure of working alongside some of the greats in Ruby’s that some of you know including Mark Ford, John Lorenz, Matt Kaye, Matt Newquist and Mark Courtney.  I migrated north from Dover to the Christiana Mall where I would go on to be promoted to MIT in the Concord Mall.  I proved myself in Concord and was selected to do a New Restaurant Opening (NRO) in Bear, DE.  This is where I met my new District Manager, Mark Ford.  Mark and I spent time together in Bear Ruby’s and, within the first year of Bear opening, he was tasked with another opening in Elkton, MD.  Mark and I hit it off in Bear which led to the conversation to take on being the opening GM for Elkton.  I was ready and eager to dive in and make my mark as a GM in Ruby’s.  At the year-end conference in Maryville, TN that year, I was awarded with the “NRO of the Year” award for outstanding performance, till this day one of my most valued career highlights.  There were many great operating stores opened that year and it was a highly coveted award.  Interestingly enough I would earn the “Grand Prix” award as a GM for Middletown Bdubs exactly 10 years after I won the NRO award for Ruby’s.  I still reflect on the step back I took from being a DM to an AGM for H5H, 4 years ago, and how it was one of the wisest decisions I have ever made professionally.

After Ruby Tuesday I went onto Bruegger’s Bagels for 5 years as a District Manager.  I learned a ton in the quick service model about speed of service and accountability.  Bruegger’s was an awesome ride but I always felt myself missing full service.  The buzz and hum of a busy restaurant and the natural energy it emits along with the hospitality of a great team is not something to take for granted.  There’s nothing like our atmosphere. I still can recall being with Matt Newquist in Limestone Bdubs during Women’s World Cup Soccer, WOW!  The chants of USA, the whole place was electric.   During my tenure with Bruegger’s I had always remained friends with Mark Ford and I would frequently be invited with his GM’s to different DRA events.  Bobby and Mark were always gracious in extending an invite with a Guest Speaker at the Riverfront or an educational session at Deerfield even before I was employed with H5H.   I would shamelessly ask Mark if I could come with his team as self-development is important to me.  I can hear Bobby now saying, “Who’s this Powell guy Ford, that keeps bumming invites?”  Eventually it was time to not just hang with the H5H team but join the ranks.  It was a big decision as I was gambling on myself that I could take a step back to single unit, prove myself, and earn a spot back as a District Manager with H5H.  I came aboard as an AGM at the Limestone location and again proved myself to be given a shot to run the Middletown location.  I was fortunate enough to meet Trewartha when he joined H5H and started building my relationship with him to ultimately get back to my goal of Multi-Unit.  I thoroughly enjoy being able to interact with so many professionals and be a part of their development.  I get so much joy out of developing others which charges my battery.  I am a big advocate of self-development and constantly learning to grow our skill sets.  I try and share what I learn to advance those around me in bettering themselves which rolls up to make H5H better.

My current aspiration is to keep growing High 5 Hospitality.  Whether you think of units or gross revenue, I want to see us grow our footprint.  I would like to say that I oversee 50 million, 150 million in sales etc.  Mark Trewartha once said to me, “Powell when, do you think we will be traded publicly?” ….. Mind Blown, right?  Wait, so H5H can grow to a brand that can be a fortune 500 company on the stock market?  Why not?   Let’s think big and run thee best operations in the state to seize our opportunity to grow H5H to monumental heights.  Growth comes with its challenges that will push us past our comfort zones in the coming months and years.  Along the journey, take a moment to take it all in and enjoy the ride! 

What’s your Story?