Jason joins the Lava Lava Beach Club team with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management from the Le Cordon Bleu affiliated Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon and more than 18 years of dining expertise in the Seattle area. His background includes positions with El Gaucho, Salty’s and Brix 25 restaurants in that region.
A certified sommelier, Jason has spent many fall days at Pacific Northwest wineries during harvest and crush. He’s an avid golfer, and loves new adventures and travel. In 2011, Jason opened up his very own restaurant “JW Restaurant” in Gig Harbor, WA – a dream-come true! Currently, JW operates under Jason’s family direction so he can build a future here on Hawaii Island.
Marci made her way to Hawaii Island via her hometown (Philadelphia) and Oahu. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Marci says, “I visited Hawaii while still in college and knew immediately that this was where I wanted to spend the rest of my life!” The ink was barely dry on her diploma when she boarded the plane for Oʻahu almost immediately following graduation. She brings years of training and experience working in the human resources field to her new position at Lava Lava Beach Club.
While on Oahu, she worked in Human Resources at City Mill and served as Human Resource Manager for Crazy Shirts, Inc, during some of its peak years of growth. Her most recent post was with Girl Scouts of Hawaii here on the Big Island where her responsibilities included growing membership, supporting the volunteers and creating programs for the girl members.
“Returning to the Human Resource field is like coming full circle for me – I’m delighted to be at Lava Lava Beach Club,” she says. A long-time resident of Waikoloa Village, Marci has one child and when she’s not busy working she loves “beaching it”, reading, making stained glass, quilting and volunteering with North Hawaii Hospice.
Drew, who joined the Lava Lava Beach Club ʻohana (family) in late 2012, brings more than 10 years of hospitality and customer service industry experience to his position as Club Manager for the restaurant, guest hales and event venues.
A graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder, Drew worked with the Monette family for years at their iconic Flagstaff House Restaurant perched above Boulder and at their restaurant here on Hawaii Island, Monettes at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (now closed). When not charming guests and inspiring staff at Lava Lava Beach Club, Drew volunteers with the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii and spends time simply enjoying life on the Big Island!
Brian Whitlock was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri. He is a great fan of the Eleven time world champion Saint Louis Cardinals. Brian began his career in the hospitality industry while in college at Marquette University. Since then Brian has worked for restaurants and bars all over the mainland.
Most recently, Brian has worked for over a decade in Las Vegas. There he served as Manager for Studio 54 at MGM Grand and as a General Manager for Sugarfactory / Chateau Nightclub and Caesars Entertainment. Brian has now come to call the Big Island his home and completely embraced the spirit of Aloha. He can usually be found fishing and diving on his days off!
Teddy grew up on Hawaii Island and then made a move to Las Vegas where he landed his first job – a server at The Olive Garden – in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Teddy eventually made his way back home, working as General Manager at Huli Sues restaurant in Waimea and then as Restaurant Manager for Allen’s Table, also in Waimea.
After a short stint as a Certified Sales Representative/Territorial Manager for Anhueser Busch, Teddy concluded his heart was in the hospitality industry and found just the right spot at Lava Lava Beach Club.
At Lava Lava Beach Club, Teddy, who believes the heart of hospitality is the “Aloha Spirit”, extends his aloha with a warm welcome and a genuine smile. When it’s pau hana (after work) time Teddy enjoys spending time with his wife Mikilani and son, Jonah. Most often you’ll find him in the kitchen doing cook-off “competitions” with Mikilani or playing volleyball on the beach with son Jonah.
Shayne Galan, Sous Chef
Born and raised on the big island, Shayne first was interested in a culinary career when he started working with his step-mother who was the pastry chef at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. He developed a love for Pacific Rim cooking.
When you dine with us you might try one of Shayne’s nightly specials, the “Hook, Line and Sinker” and see some of his creative dishes first hand! When not at the club, Shayne is an accomplished muscian as well as chef and Lead singer of the band Ainakea Boys and Tita.
Beth started cooking at the early age of 13 and by 18 was already a sous chef at an elegant French restaurant. Add to that experience, a stint with the United States Marine Corps, an executive chef position or two and even General Manager of a restaurant and you have a well rounded Culinary Professional.
Chef Beth, who recently moved to the Big Island with her partner, wisely takes a moment each day before work to gaze out at the beauty we are all fortunate to experience while dining and working at Lava Lava Beach Club. In her free time, Beth is a certified master gardener and enjoys raising edible flowers.
Cottage and Special Events
Andrea relocated to Hawaii Island from Las Vegas 10 years ago, bringing with her many years in the restaurant industry and as an elementary school teacher. With a desire to really know her new home, Andrea initially worked as a master Kona Coffee roaster, learning all about “this amazing, home-grown product”.
Returning to her roots in the restaurant industry, Andrea worked her way through the ranks from server, trainer and bookkeeper to Front of the House Manager and Training Manager for Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in Kailua-Kona. Joining Lava Lava Beach Club as Cottage Specialist, Andrea says, “I love coming to this gorgeous property and being a part of such an inviting team that is Lava Lava Beach Club,” she says.
Our Leadership Team
Nick hails from Erie, Pennsylvania and has been a lifer in the hospitality industry. He started his career at Jr’s On The Bay in Erie, then bounced around the Great Lakes region with the popular steakhouse concept, Texas Roadhouse.
Nick moved to Hawaii in 2006 and managed the popular Waikiki restaurants Tikis Grill and Bar and The Cheesecake Factory. Nick moved to the Big Island in 2010 and fell in love! He enjoys time with his wife Venus and his kids in his off time and finds the waters of the big island as a necessary balance to a stressful week.
After successfully opening Lava Lava Beach Club, Nick now oversees the operations of not only Lava Lava Beach Club but also Huggo’s, On The Rocks, Paradise Gourmet Catering and Grass Shack Parties.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Chef Ken brings nearly twenty years of experience to Lava Lava Beach Club. Born and raised in wine country, Chef Ken worked in Napa Valley for most of his career. He also took five years and explored the cuisine of the Caribbean, gathering new ideas of parallel tropical latitude culinary inspirations.
Chef Ken works directly with the sous chefs to create our menu items as well as work with our vendors to ensure our family of restaurants get the best possible products from local farmers and fishermen.
Morgan comes to Hawaii from Canada and is responsible for all financial aspects of our family of companies. One day at Huggo’s in Kona and another day at Lava Lava Beach Club in Waikoloa, Morgan is working to manage cash flow, profit and loss and all aspects of the various businesses. With three bookkeepers reporting to her and five entities to manage, Morgan enjoys the challenge of keeping things “controlled.”
Morgan also oversees the Human Resources for all the companies.