Alumni Spotlight

John Saccomanno

John Saccomanno

Wine Consultant Gets His Start in Triton’s Hospitality Program

After graduating from Triton College’s hospitality program with a degree in restaurant management in 1976, alumnus John Saccomanno has enjoyed a lengthy career in the hospitality industry. After Triton, Saccomanno earned a Bachelors in Hospitality Management from Florida International University in Miami and has held many positions in his field since.

Saccomanno first entered the hotel industry working for Marriott Hotels followed by a position as Director of Catering for the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. He has also spent many years working in country clubs including Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois among others. Saccomanno is currently employed as a wine consultant for Compass Wines and Spirits and founded his own web-based wine business, Saccomanno enjoys working with animal and cancer-related non-profit organizations to assist in fundraising through wine pull events.

When not working, Saccomanno enjoys spending time with his daughters and grandsons. He also enjoys golf and hopes to play at Pebble Beach one day with his grandsons.

What have been some obstacles you’ve had to overcome in pursuit of your educational and career goals?
I came from a blue-collar, working family so financially, it was difficult early on to receive my education while working as l went to school. More recently, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer 11 years ago. I received treatment and am now in remission.

What have been some sources of inspiration both in your career and in your life?
I have been inspired by many people in many different ways. My Christian faith is of paramount importance to me and in my life. I've been a member of Willow Creek Community Church for many years now. I get involved in many of the Church activities and am beginning the planning of the first ever golf outing for Willow Creek in 2016.

What would you describe as your strong suit?
Patience and persistence. I also love relating to all levels of people, from the President/CEO of companies to the lowest paid person in the kitchen.

How has Triton College impacted your life?
Triton gave me the foundation to thrive in the hospitality industry by providing me with hands-on, experienced faculty that knew their business and were role models. These faculty members included Joseph Quagliano, Chef Mike Kern, Chef Jens Nielsen and many more.

What advice would you give someone who would like to pursue a career in your field?
If you have a passion for the industry and are hard working, learn all you can every day. Be patient and persistent and go for your dreams.

What are your words of wisdom for current Triton students?
Make lots of friends and nurture those friendships. Make wise choices. Do all things in moderation. Be grateful for all things especially your health. Exercise regularly and keep watch on your diet.

What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to work with more non-profit organizations to raise money through conducting Wine Pulls in Chicagoland, grow my website, travel and golf a whole lot more.

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