Tennessee ABC Class Instructors

David Lester

Dave Lester recently retired from restaurant management, which has been his passion for over 40 years. During his career, Dave was a General Manager, Manager Trainer, and District Manager, working for some of the most successful companies in the business. While he is thrilled to finally have time to spend with grandchildren and is diligently training his German Shepherd puppy, Molly, he also loves being an AIM to Serve instructor! Teaching the ABC class allows him to share his substantial knowledge, experience, and some unique stories. This also keeps him connected to the industry he loves through the servers and managers who take his class. Dave teaches a class at Carrabba's in Green Hills every Monday at 4:30, every Tuesday evening at 4:00 at the Aim to Serve Office in Nashville, and Thursdays at 10:00 am at Chili's in Hermitage. Dave teaches every other Wednesday night at our AIM To Serve office close to downtown Nashville at 4:45 PM.

Charlie Lutz

Charlie Lutz is a native of Nashville and a graduate of Belmont University.  He received his master's degree from the University of Cincinnati. While working in the restaurant industry for more than 22 years, he realized the importance of alcohol awareness and recognized the need for common-sense training. His experience and his passion for people are what inspired him to begin working with Chris Phillips and the "Aim To Serve" program.  The "Aim To Serve" curriculum is a valuable resource that offers practical application for service professionals. Charlie enjoys teaching and interacting with his students and can be found teaching classes every Wednesday at Mellow Mushroom-21st Avenue Nashville at 10:30AM, every Thursday at Beyond The Edge-East Nashville at 10:00AM, and at Panera Bread on Mallory Lane.

Jessica Nicholson

Jessica Nicholson was born in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana and has lived in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee for over 15 years. As a true southerner, Jessica believes in southern hospitality. With over 16 years experience in the hospitality industry, she has had the opportunity to make connections with people all over the world. Jessica has experience in Hotels/Lodging, Sales and Marketing, Corporate Training, Bartending, and Restaurant Management. Training has always been a passion of Jessica's. Her goal in teaching the "Aim to Serve" program is to give her students a thorough understanding of their role in responsible service/sale of alcohol. Jessica wants her students to be armed with all the knowledge they will need and to feel empowered to do the right thing in all situations. Jessica is a diehard college football fan and likes to spend her spare time with her family and fur-babies.

Chris Owensby

Chris Owensby is a native Nashvillian, a graduate of Antioch High School, and Nashville State Technical Institute for Business Administration.  He got into the service industry just after high school and immediately found his niche.  His first job was at Olive Garden where he was made corporate trainer after only a few months. He then spent several years working for the Ruby Tuesday concept functioning as a corporate trainer.  He honed his skills at teaching and training while opening stores in several locations locally as well as Pigeon Forge, TN, Austin, TX, and Springfield, IL. After leaving Ruby Tuesday's Chris went to work for Big River Grill Nashville for three years, and then went on to work on the opening of Buffalo Billards and Havana Lounge, two of Nashville's premier nightclubs in the late 90's. After a few years at the Villager Tavern, serving as bartender and manager. Chris then met the Aim To Serve owner Chris Phillips in 2005. Shortly thereafter he joined Aim To Serve as the first trainer and today is one of the company's Master Trainers. He currently teaches at Dave and Busters Opry Mills every Monday at 10:45AM, Maggiano’s West End Nashville every Tuesday at 10:45AM, and Bar Louie in The Gulch Nashville every Friday at 10:45AM.

Denise Parton

Denise Parton -Not only is Denise a teacher for Aim to Serve but she is also a published author writing under the pen name of Denise Daisy. She is described as one of the purest storytellers of all time; pulling of romance, suspense and a touch of the supernatural, all in the same piece. Born and raised in Tennessee, Denise Daisy sets her stories in the Deep South and her natural southern style charms all her work. In addition to writing, Denise enjoys directing for the theater, and has brought to the stage many wonderful stories, from The Legend of Pocahontas to Great American Tall Tales. To Denise, there is nothing more thrilling than bringing characters to life, whether on stage, behind the camera or in the pages of her books. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her four daughters, watching fireflies in the evenings, dreaming up her next story and inspiring others. Denise's books include, The Secrets of Moonshine, The Secret in the Rubble, The Storyteller's Secret all a part of her Moonshine series. Once Last Time, a historical time travel romance. The Haret, the first book in The Haret series. You can follow her at, Author Denise Daisy on facebook.

Key Petkus

Kay Petkus I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio. I now live in Bristol, Virginia. I have worked in the restaurant industry for over thirty years, doing everything from fine dining to the club scene. For the last eighteen years I have worked for Applebee's. I have twelve years of management experience and am currently bartending. I have taught the responsible service of alcohol class for the past fifteen years, and I have a wonderful husband, three kids, seven grandchildren, and two dogs which I love very much. Kay teaches classes that are scheduled at Stateline Bar.

Christie Rutledge

Shay Smith

Shay Smith has been training with the Aim To Serve program since 2013. She has been a part-time server at Noshville Deli since 2001, as well as, a full time Human Resources professional in the banking, manufacturing, and engineering industries since 1993. She and her husband are also investors in Blue Moon Waterfront Grille which is a seasonal restaurant on the Cumberland River at Rock Harbor Marina. Shay has always enjoyed her work as a server because it provides such a nice change of pace from her HR profession and allows her to meet all kinds of people - students, musicians, tourists, professionals, and even the occasional celebrity - you name it, all maner of customers comes through Noshville. Server Permit training classes provide her the same kind of interaction opportunities while still using her HR training skills. However, in the trainer setting, Shay gets to interact with and learn from servers that represent all parts of Tennessee's hospitality industry whether they serve at hotels, catering or the busy establishments of downtown Nashville. It's the people that make training classes fun! Her classes are every other Wednesday at the Center615 office in Nashville at 4:45 PM.

Ashley Upchurch

Ashley Upchurch is a graduate from Tennessee Tech University with a business degree specializing in human resources. She has been in the hospitality industry for over fifteen years. As a teenager she started as a hostess and worked her way up to bar manager of multiple high volume bars such as: Tootsies Orchid Lounge and General Manager of Fishlipz Bar & Grill. She is very passionate about  the industry and enjoys sharing her well-rounded knowledge during her classes. Ashley applies interactive teaching methods, quirky statistics, along with the knowledge given by the great state of Tennessee to deliver a fun filled class that you should check out soon!

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