Randy Norton, founder, and owner of locally-based Great American Restaurants visited NOVA’s Annandale Campus to speak with business students. His company, which owns and manages a group of several restaurants that include Silverado, Sweet Water Tavern, Coastal Flats, and Mike’s American Grill, is a family business that Norton started in the 1970s as a pizza parlor in Fairfax. These days, his companies operate eateries all over northern Virginia and employ many NOVA students.
He shared lessons he learned, what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur, and the value of investing in employees. Norton suggested that students go into fields or businesses that truly interest them, think carefully about whether the demands of business ownership are truly for them, and to learn from their mistakes. As a gesture of appreciation, the class gave Norton a Nighthawks sweatshirt and baseball cap.