Dan Simons

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Dan is a highly regarded industry expert, sought after not only for his experience, but also for his passion for hospitality and building relationships. Dan has the proven ability to lead and manage teams within high-volume restaurant concepts, while also focusing on developing dynamic operational systems that deliver profitability.

After 18 years of full-scale operational management and leadership experience, Dan co-founded Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group (VSAG) in 2004 with business partner Michael Vucurevich and has built a talented team of experienced F&B professionals who excel at and enjoy helping clients achieve their goals. Building upon VSAG’s ongoing domestic success, Dan has directed global strategies with projects in Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, and Panama, to name a few.

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 sustainable, farmer-owned concept, along with sister restaurants Farmers Fishers Bakers and Farmers & Distillers, has flourished. Not only as one of the most sustainable concepts in the U.S., but also the first LEED Gold Certified upscale, full-service restaurant in the country and OpenTable’s most booked restaurant.

As a dedicated industry expert, Dan has participated in the FranklinCovey Leadership Symposium, dedicates his time and experience to DC Central Kitchen’s culinary jobs training center, and established The George Washington University’s Scholarship for Sustainable Hospitality to help a GWU School of Business student further their studies. As a GWU graduate, Dan stays connected to his alma mater by teaching a career development class, and was the recipient of the inaugural GWU Business Gives Back Distinguished Alumni Award. Dan was also named Ernst & Young’s 2018 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.

Dan was born and raised in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. He and his wife live just outside of Washington, D.C. with their three sons and share an affinity for travel and exploring hospitality concepts wherever they go.