The Art of Hospitality begins with our people.
Pete Shaheen, President
Pete has been the president of HORIZONS since we opened our doors in 1996. Under his direction, HORIZONS built its reputation as the region’s top destination for distinguished events – through our industry expertise, creativity, flawless attention to detail and superb hospitality.
As the architect of the Art of Hospitality, which is infused in every aspect of how we do business, Pete models humility, honesty, empathy and a dedication to providing our guests with a personalized event experience that exceeds their highest expectations. His leadership and example form the cornerstone of our company’s success.
Kiron Choudhri, Executive Vice President
Kiron absolutely loves her job and it shows. Since joining HORIZONS in 2003, Kiron’s genuine passion and enthusiasm for each and every event she plans shine through her work – from her trademark meticulous detail to the thoughtful, personal touches that make each guest feel truly special. No matter the occasion, Kiron is at least one step ahead, managing every aspect of corporate and social events calmly and skillfully, earning numerous accolades from her clients and even lifelong friendships with many of them.
The following testimonial speaks volumes: “Kiron, you are a Godsend! How can we ever repay you for the time and sacrifices you made in order to make our day a dream come true? You went above and beyond our expectations, helping me in any way you could to give me ease of mind throughout the entire process. Thank you for the endless memories you have created for us!”
Charlie DiMercurio, Director of Business Operations
Hospitality comes naturally to Charlie, the always-smiling face of HORIZONS and the “glue” connecting all of our departments, from front of house to the culinary team to sales and customer service and all points between. Since joining our team in 2008, Charlie has overseen the entire scope of the HORIZONS organization, leveraging decades of diverse business experience and an entrepreneurial spirit to make sure our operation runs like clockwork, for impeccable execution when it’s “go time” for events of all sizes and levels of complexity.
Charlie finds great joy in being part of bringing people’s events to life and seeing the awe and delight on the faces of our clients and their guests. He is continually “stepping up” delivery of the Art of Hospitality, saying he usually walks 10-15 miles a day when he’s running an event at HORIZONS or a catered affair at the Temple Theatre. Whatever the occasion, Charlie’s goal is to make our guests feel they’re at home – relaxed, welcome and cherished.
Mark Wilson, Executive Chef
Nothing brings people together like good food, and “good” food is an understatement when it comes to the creations of Chef Mark, the visionary behind the taste bud-tingling, award-winning cuisine that has marked HORIZONS events since 1996. HORIZONS owes its reputation for gorgeous gourmet food, artfully presented and graciously served, to our executive chef. He has mastered the art of creating diverse menus featuring elegant dishes from all over the world, which embody his passion for food and love for his profession.
Not only does Chef Mark wow our guests with his culinary gifts, but he and his in-house and off-site catering teams are experts at designing unforgettable, exceptional dining experiences that delight all of the senses.
Mike Speed, Chef
A key senior member of our kitchen crew, Chef Mike has brought exceptional culinary skills and an artist’s eye and attention to delicious detail to every HORIZONS event since joining our team in 1996. His passion for inventive cooking and bold flavors comes through in each meal he prepares, and his creative and palate-pleasing presentations are legendary, earning the highest praise from our clients.
Chef Mike enjoys exploring innovative techniques and unexpected ingredients to serve up the memorable cuisine our clients have come to expect from HORIZONS for occasions of all types and sizes – whether a spectacular wedding, a soirée for 60 or a themed corporate banquet for 2,000.
Bob Schaeding, Director of Food & Beverage
If you’ve ever been to a large, complex event at HORIZONS and wondered who orchestrates every move – from setup and service to food and bar to décor to housekeeping … chances are very good it’s been Bob. His job is a blend of orchestra conductor, chess grandmaster and chief mixologist. Bob first joined HORIZONS in 1998 as an assistant banquet manager, working his way through the ranks in his first 17 years with the company. He left for a few years and returned home to HORIZONS in 2021, seamlessly returning to his role as director of food and beverage, bringing his signature humor, humility and old-school work ethic – along with many fresh ideas.
Bob says over his HORIZONS career he’s probably worked with 40 different banquet managers and hundreds of hospitality team members, developing deep and lasting relationships. He takes his own practice of the Art of Hospitality as well as training others in our trademark approach very seriously and very personally. “It has to be genuine … come from the heart … come naturally,” he says. “You can’t fake it – you have to be sincere. And it just flows out of you. You either have it or you don’t. You also can’t just be one way – you have to be flexible. Every event may be 80 percent the same, but it’s that other 20 percent – how you present things, the unique décor, the special touches and, of course, the guests themselves – that’s what makes the difference.”
In training new employees, Bob tells them:
- Treat everyone like it’s your party.
- ‘No’ is NOT in the vocabulary!
- Never say ‘I don’t know’ … ad lib, improvise and do whatever it takes.
- Always care.
- Make it memorable … just do it.
Bob admits he’s terrible with names, but faces and people’s special requests – even from many years ago – are imprinted in his brain. Don’t be surprised if you see him in the grocery store and he greets you with: “Table 12, 2005, ginger ale!”
Rick Mendoza, Audio-Visual Manager
Rick has been with HORIZONS since 2010, providing our guests with state-of-the-art audio-visual and digital solutions for their events, meetings and presentations. His extensive knowledge of web streaming, video conferencing and live broadcast services enable him and his team to recommend the right blend of audio-visual solutions to ensure the experience is top-notch, whether it’s a robust multi-platform presentation to 1,000 attendees or a simple meeting for five people.
Rick is a true professional who harnesses his expertise, positive attitude, and boundless energy and creativity to make every event the best it can be.
Megan Norgan, Director of Floral
Imagine a career where you have the opportunity to constantly “wow” people … that’s what Megan, our director of floral, says she loves most about her role.
Even though she is one of the newest members of our HORIZONS team, Megan brings more than 20,000 hours of extensive design experience to our hospitality team. Before coming to HORIZONS in early 2022, she was immersed in all aspects of design in prestigious wedding and event design studios and flower shops in San Diego and Washington, D.C. A gifted educator who loves to share her passion, Megan also taught courses on the basics of floral design at both locales.
Here at HORIZONS, Megan extends her creative and expert touch beyond floral to event design, theming and all things décor. Her flair comes through in centerpieces – from traditional to avant-garde – as well as the coordination of every element of fabric décor, lighting, linens and truly anything related to the total event experience.
Megan also oversees decorating our building interior year-round and creates glittering and magical displays for holidays – and she helps preserve our extensive inventory of silk florals and greenery.
While her signature style leans toward lush and organic (as if creations have sprung forth out of nowhere), Megan is comfortable executing any design vision, from tight and tailored to structural and abstract to every style in between.
Megan likens the Art of Hospitality to what she calls the art of anticipation – being able to anticipate what a client or guest needs before they even need it. “It means having a can-do attitude and providing everything imaginable … and being gracious and accommodating if there’s something we missed,” she says. “Honestly, there’s no limit to what we can do here at HORIZONS. If you can imagine it, we can manage it!”
Karen Wager, Senior Banquet Manager
When Karen joined the HORIZONS team in 1996, she was already a seasoned and sought-after hospitality professional. Since that time, she has delivered exceptional service to thousands of our guests and trained generations of servers, bartenders and others throughout our organization. Karen will tell you her instincts lie in family-friendly food service and claims “elegant” methods were new to her more than 25 years ago. But with her warm, yet straightforward and efficient approach, Karen exemplifies elegance in the truest meaning of the word. Not only does she have an innate ability to quickly scan a room and know immediately what it needs, as a family-owned business, we are delighted that her influence on our culture here at HORIZONS is a clear demonstration that elegant and family-friendly are not mutually exclusive.
Karen says she practices the Art of Hospitality by treating each person who walks through our doors as if they are a guest in her own home – guests who very quickly become family. She also appreciates the wide range of cultures and experiences she’s been exposed to during her time at HORIZONS and embraces every opportunity to continually learn and improve her own skills and make each family celebration, business and community event she manages better than the last.
Our goal as a company is to stay at the forefront of our industry by creating a unique workplace where employees have opportunities to develop themselves and their careers, while giving our customers the best possible service.
Service is personalized, attentive and very customer-oriented. We cater to all types of clients, from families to business executives, and pride ourselves on dependability and our talent for exceeding clients’ expectations.
If you’d like to apply for a position with HORIZONS, please download an application, print it out and email (email@example.com), fax (989.799.4188) or mail it to us at your convenience.
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