Dan Simons is a highly regarded industry expert, sought after not only for his operational experience, but also for his passion for hospitality, developing successful partnerships, and proven ability to lead and manage teams within high-volume restaurant concepts.
After 18 years of full-scale operational management and leadership experience, Dan co-founded VSAG in 2004 with business partner Michael Vucurevich, building a team of talented, experienced F&B professionals who guide clients, both in the U.S and abroad, in achieving their goals.
Dan and Mike V spearheaded the development of Farmers Restaurant Group, in partnership with VSAG client the North Dakota Farmers Union, opening their first restaurant, Founding Farmers, in 2008. Under their direction, the award-winning, sustainable, farmer-owned, LEED Certified concept has grown to include Farmers Fishers Bakers and Farmers & Distillers restaurants, as well as an innovative in-house distillery, Founding Spirits.
As a dedicated industry expert, Dan blogs regularly @Dan Simons Says about restaurants and hospitality, personal productivity and time management, developing partnerships and brands, environmental issues, and a range of other topics that capture his attention. In addition, he has participated in the FranklinCovey Leadership Symposium, dedicates his time to DC Central Kitchen’s training center, and established The George Washington University’s Scholarship for Sustainable Hospitality to help a GW School of Business student further their studies. As a GW graduate, Dan stays connected to his alma mater through teaching a career development class and was the recipient of the inaugural GW Business Gives Back Distinguished Alumni Award. Dan was also recently named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Mid-Atlantic.
As founder of Our Last Straw, a non-profit company devoted to eliminating the use of plastic straws, Dan is committed to raising awareness about the environmental and health hazards of single-use plastics. He launched Our Last Straw to bring together a coalition of restaurant and hospitality industry partners with government leaders and NGOs to lead the charge for change.
Born and raised in Lynnfield, MA, Dan and his wife live just outside of Washington, DC. with their three sons and share an affinity for travel and exploring hospitality concepts wherever they go.