Niagara Gazette — A former tourism official from Niagara Falls — now in a key post in Florida — was elated at what he found along Old Falls Street during a return trip to the Cataract City.
It was obviously a breathtaking moment when the visitor walked inside the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. “It’s impressive to think of what all that talent will mean and what it will bring to this city,” said Mark G. Gatley, who headed the Niagara Falls Convention ad Visitors Bureau before joining the Philadelphia-based SMG Corp.
Gatley’s reaction echoed the response of countless local residents as well as tourists as they first encountered the newest downtown attraction. For those who have had the dining experience in the Savor restaurant, most of the reviews received five stars. On a brief tour of the institute, Gatley learned that some 300 persons including students, faculty and administration are involved in daily operations and that number is expected to increase in the next few years.
A Niagara Falls native, Gatley, 63, is a regional general manager for SMG and the director of the Greater Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Broward County Convention Center. A graduate of Niagara County Community College and the Niagara University College of Hospitality & Tourism Management, he continues to help coordinate the college’s role in the NU Alumni Advancement Day each fall. He and other classmates from their days on Monteagle Ridge return to campus to offer expert advice and direction to students planning careers in the burgeoning hospitality industry.
Gatley visited here last week as part of a family reunion to celebrate the mother’s 91st birthday. In fact, the party was all set for the Culinary Institute until their mom was hospitalized due to injuries from a fall. Ironically, she ended up on the same floor at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital where she had served as a nurse for 20 years before retiring.