Lonnie and Sherrie Wright share hospitality wisdom, experience with people who need an opportunity.
Nonviolent ex-offenders, unemployed veterans and young people have new opportunities to find success, thanks to the Hospitality International Training (H.I.T) Program.
Designed by Dr. Lonnie and Sherrie Wright, H.I.T. was devised to address the needs of the hospitality industry, while giving mentorship to people who might not otherwise have a chance to prosper in Las Vegas’ signature industry.
“H.I.T. teaches technical and human relations skills with an emphasis on serving the customer,” said Lonnie Wright, a Las Vegas native and former UNLV basketball player who is now a professor. “The human relations skills are all about communications, cooperation, and personal responsibility to the team effort in serving the internal and external customer.”
The Wrights know what they’re talking about: They have held various hands-on positions in the hospitality industry, and recently sold their Carl’s Jr. franchise in McCarran International Airport.
Professor Lonnie Wright also educates young people with a series of hospitality focused lectures called “Let Las Vegas Be Your Classroom.”
He first encountered the prison population about 20 years ago, as dean/associate vice president of the Hospitality Institute at CSN. He got more exposure after founding the UNLV Basketball Alumni Association — a group of former Runnin’ Rebel players who would give free basketball camps to men in prison, compete against prison teams, and offer Christian ministry to the inmates.
When Professor Wright’s wife, Sherrie, retired as a food and beverage supervisor, the couple decided to start Hospitality International LLC in 1998 — forming what would later be the parent company of H.I.T., which is committed to training historically disenfranchised populations.