Tarallo Joins Pillsbury Institute as Academic Director

Neil Tarallo, newly appointed academic director of the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship (PIHE), comes to the School of Hotel Administration from Syracuse University, where he was an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. His responsibilities at the Whitman School included serving as director of the fourteenth-ranked Master of Science in Entrepreneurship Program as well as director of the Whitman Graduate and Undergraduate Capstone programs. Tarallo comes to the Pillsbury Institute with over 30 years’ experience as an entrepreneur and over 10 years’ experience in the classroom.

Tarallo’s focus for the PIHE will be to renew and strengthen its concentration on academics while at the same time emphasizing ways of putting classroom learning into practice. “Entrepreneurship is an academic discipline that can be learned through a combination of academic courses and experiential opportunities,” Tarallo said.

“At one time, entrepreneurship was considered to be innate, either you could do it or you couldn’t, but it can be learned,” he added. “In fact, studies show that individuals who have had formal training are three times more likely to succeed in their first entrepreneurial endeavor than those who have not had training.”

Some of the experiential opportunities available to students include the annual Business Plan competition and a summer abroad experience called “Empowerment through Entrepreneurship.” In this program, students will travel to South Africa to learn about entrepreneurship while helping entrepreneurs from historically disadvantaged populations start and grow businesses. Another experiential opportunity is provided in the nationally acclaimed Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans (EBV).

The two-faceted approach to entrepreneurship is a natural for Tarallo, who has both studied entrepreneurship at Syracuse University and operated his own businesses, including a quick-print shop and the well-regarded Ithaca Photo stores. He played a key role in developing the third-ranked entrepreneurship program at Syracuse University.

Tarallo is quick to note that successful entrepreneurship includes teamwork and cites the contributions of the PIHE team as being instrumental in the momentum that the PIHE has attained this semester. The team consists of Senior Lecturer Susan Fleming, Adjunct Assistant Professor Adam Klausner, Lecturer James Quest ’56, and two executives in residence for 2011-12: Jacob Wright, president and CEO, Action Companies, and Elizabeth Ngonzi ’98, founder of Amazing Taste LLC. “I am overwhelmed with the degree to which the PIHE team as well as SHA faculty and staff are working to increase the opportunities for our students in entrepreneurship,” Tarallo said.