Industry: Hospitality/ Catering
Jeremy Bronson has always had an entrepreneur’s heart. However, the first twenty years of his career, he found himself working in public service and the private sector. It wasn’t until he had the opportunity to buy Occasions by Sandy – Denver’s longest-serving catering company – that he found his niche.
Bronson took the reins of Occasions in the waning hours of a booming economy, in early 2008. With the economic recession, though, his bold growth vision soon became a fight for survival. Once the economy recovered and finances stabilized, he worked with his team to rebrand the company and modernize everything about its offerings.
The modernized display equipment transformed culinary operations and their plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free menu options worked well to catapult the company to new fiscal heights. As a result, Occasions Catering has more than doubled in revenue in the last five years.
“The focus now is on smart growth, working to ensure we maintain a consistent guest experience and retain our team while continuing to grow the organization’s enterprise value,” said Bronson.
According to his staff, Bronson has been successful as the president and owner because he loves planning events, developing business partnerships and managing a growing team. “He’s a natural with people and has a way of making everyone feel important and heard,” said the staff. “He is humble and seeks to learn and improve to the benefit of all around him.”
This is evidenced by the manner in which he dedicates a large portion of his time to supporting the community by serving on nonprofit boards, volunteering for industry associations and lecturing in business and hospitality courses. In fact, Bronson was a pioneering board member of We Don’t Waste, an innovative provider of food security for needy individuals in the Denver area. Occasions delivered 3,600 meals to those in need in 2016 alone.
The company has emphasized its focus on sustainability, which is a galvanizing force in the organization’s culture. “Everyone has to believe in its principles for it to work successfully and continue to evolve,” said Bronson. “Many people come to work for Occasions because of their commitment to sustainability. Staff repeatedly refer to it as a reason for them to stay.”
Bronson’s leadership style has also contributed to low staff turnover. “I strive to surround myself with people who are better than I am at everything,” he said. “I want to be good at leading, volunteering, running a business and cooking.”
For his success as a sustainable employer and a leader who leads by example, Bronson has earned a spot as a Titan of industry.
"Be the change you want to see in the world"
Greatest Leadership Lesson Learned:
Consensus building is critical but only gets you so far; people want their leaders to be decisive.
Long before he considered being in the food business, Jeremy competed in (and lost) a friendly Iron Chef competition with figs as the secret ingredient. Watching the scoring and how he lost, he’s never written a menu since that didn’t include chocolate in dessert!