After almost two decades of full-scale operational management and hospitality leadership experience, Dan co-founded VSAG in 2004 with business partner and mentor, Michael Vucurevich. VSAG is rooted in our team of owners and operators who expertly guide our hospitality partners worldwide to F&B success.
In 2008, Dan and Mike V joined VSAG’s longtime partner, the North Dakota Farmers Union, to form Farmers Restaurant Group. Under their collective direction, this award-winning, sustainable, farmer-owned, and LEED Certified brand of restaurants has grown to include Founding Farmers, Farmers Fishers Bakers, and Farmers & Distillers, as well as an innovative in-house distillery, Founding Spirits.
Dan believes that failures, past and future, are where character is formed and seen, where convictions are solidified, and where we learn.He blogs regularly @Dan Simons Says about finding success and lessons learned about owning and operating restaurants, personal productivity and time management, developing partnerships and brands, environmental and mental health issues, and a wide range of other topics. In addition, he teaches at his alma mater, The George Washington University (GW) in Washington DC, where he established GW’s Scholarship for Sustainable Hospitality to help a GW School of Business student further their studies. Dan also dedicates his time and experience to causes close to his heart like DC Central Kitchen’s training center. Recognized as an industry leader, Dan was named Ernst & Young’s 2018 Entrepreneur of The Year Mid-Atlantic for his business acumen, novel approaches, and success.
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. In the ongoing work of Our Last Straw, Dan, along with the coalition of like-minded restaurant and hospitality industry leaders he assembled, 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.