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KNOXVILLE — Top professionals in hospitality and tourism will discuss the future of their industries as part of Hospitality and Tourism Leadership Week at UT March 26-27.

The hotel, restaurant and tourism management program in the Department of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management has planned the week to promote the program, recruit students interested in learning about pursuing a career in those industries and provide students a chance to network with professionals.

Two discussion sessions with professionals will be held:

• Wednesday, March 26

9 a.m. to 11 a.m., a panel discussion on “Trends, Forecasts and Career Opportunities in the Hospitality and Tourism Industries.” The panel includes Max Piet, vice president of operations at Ruby Tuesday; Steve McMillen, vice president of training and human resources development at O’Charley’s Inc.; Mark Romano, regional vice president of Pilot Travel Centers; and Ken Knight, general manager of Crown Plaza. University Center, Shiloh Room.

• Thursday, March 27

10 a.m. to noon, a discussion on “Sustainability, Tourism Development and Career Opportunities” led by Susan Whitaker, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Hodges Library Auditorium.

For more information about the Department of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management and the majors and minors offered, go to, call (865) 974-2141 or e-mail


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179,

Rachel Chen, (865) 974-0505,