Tyler Zust is the first Ohio University student to win the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) Club Foundation’s Joe Perdue Scholarship.
Zust, a senior Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism major with a Business Administration minor, has been active in Ohio University’s Club Managers Association of America for over three years. In that same time, he has held four internships at private clubs around the country, and he started a podcast called “Club Talk.”
The Joe Perdue Scholarship provides tuition support to students who are pursuing careers in club management. The scholarship was established in 1988 to honor Joe Perdue, CCM, CHE, the club industry’s leading hospitality educator who was responsible for the initial development of CMAA’s Business Management Institute.
“Joe Perdue was a legend in the private club industry, as he paved the way for a lot of the education and certifications that are provided today,” said Zust. “Being the first at anything is a cool feat, but really it just contributed to the Mamba Mentality I try to have each and every day,” he said, referring to the late Kobe Bryant’s self-improvement mindset. “I challenge my peers to strive and win this award themselves, because I know they can do it.”
Zust is currently an intern at Silver Spring Country Club in Ridgefield, Conn. He has previously interned at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan, the Tokeneke Club in Darien, Conn., and the Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley, N.Y. During these internships, Zust was able to grow both professionally and personally.
“What has been unique about my experiences are the living conditions over the course of those internships. I lived on the 19th floor in the city house located on 180 Central Park South for free last summer, and then this past summer, I lived in a Catholic convent with nuns. I wouldn’t trade any of these past experiences for anything,” Zust said.
In addition to moving states for his internships, Zust has also traveled extensively with Ohio University’s CMAA.
During his freshman year, Zust said that Donnie Brown, an associate professor in Ohio University’s Human and Consumer Sciences Department, encouraged him to travel to San Francisco for the CMAA world conference.
“I have never looked back since that moment,” Zust said. “Since then, I have traveled to Fort Wayne, Ind., Westchester, N.Y., Nashville, Tenn., and Grapevine, Texas, through the club at Ohio University.”
Since attending the San Francisco conference three years ago, Zust has become highly involved within the CMAA student chapter.
“Tyler has been very active in the Club Management Association of America at all levels and has worked hard to distinguish himself through the organization,” said Brown. “He is an officer for the student chapter and has participated in many educational opportunities over the past three years, both locally and nationally. He has also gained extensive employment experience through his participation within CMAA.”
Zust started the “Club Talk” podcast in December 2019 with the intention of sharing his passion for working in the club industry. Now, with over 10 episodes under his belt, Zust has learned a lot from the experience. The podcast has grown considerably through improved questions and content, more unique guests, and better editing.
“I have conversations with students, current managers, faculty, and really anybody within the private club sector about anything ranging from career advice to fun ‘would you rather’ questions,” he said.
When he graduates in May 2021, Zust hopes to have already secured a management position in the private club industry.
Zust added that his chosen field has allowed for some personal expression for himself and inspiration for others.
“After having 19 back surgeries, it just goes to show if I am able to achieve something like this, so are you,” said Zust. “I try to have fun and be different, for example wearing Big Baller Brand shoes with my suit at business professional conferences and being the only student in the club industry to have a podcast.”