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Alumni Spotlight: Dennis Haley

Dennis Haley (B.S. '99) is a manager and sommelier for III Forks in Dallas. He plays a large role in maintaining the ultra-fine-dining restaurant's reputation for excellent food and an extensive wine collection. He also will lead the UT Dallas alumni wine tasting event on February 15 at III Forks.

When he first started working for III Forks, Dennis had no experience as a sommelier. Instead, he credits his business education at UT Dallas for helping him land the job. The food industry's profit margins are notoriously small, and Dennis is proud of the cost effective wine program he runs. A lasting lesson that he learned at UT Dallas and uses regularly in his job was how to understand profit loss statements.

Of course, UT Dallas can't take all the credit for his restaurant management skills. Dennis also thanks McDonald's, where he worked in the 1970's, and even attended Hamburger University, where he was trained to run a restaurant with a focus on quality service, good food, and a clean environment.

The wine industry, however, he had to learn himself. Within three months of working as a sommelier, he passed the level one sommelier test. As part of the job, Dennis travels the world a few times each year, visiting vineyards and wineries and meeting the people behind the wines.

Someday Dennis might like to unleash his entrepreneurial spirit and open his own restaurant, but for now he loves his job and the opportunities to travel and expand his knowledge of wines. Anyone who has benefited from his expertise at III Forks definitely appreciates that knowledge.


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