From the legendary playing fields of Aggieland to the NFL and back again, defensive back, former Texas A&M student, NFL player and coffee magnate Floyd Raven has come full circle. At age 25, the young entrepreneur has kicked off the latest outpost of his coffee company, Last Shot Xpresso at the new Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center (www.TexasAMHotelCC.com), that opened recently on the Texas A&M campus. The 250-guest room structure, adjacent to legendary Kyle Field, is now the university’s guest house, the embodiment of Aggie pride and spirit, staffed largely by students and graduates of the world-famous university. The new property is managed by BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, and is part of the Benchmark Resorts & Hotels brand.
The graduate of 2015 from Texas A&M, Floyd Raven majored in business. He played on the 2012 fabled Aggie football team, where he met his wife, and pursued his childhood dream of playing in the NFL. That ambition was realized right after the 2014 season when he started training for the 2015 NFL Draft. Professional football was all he dreamed of as a young boy growing up in New Orleans. Then, Floyd’s strong faith led him to question how much he was contributing to the world. Although he enjoyed the sport, he had a passion to pursue something different. He understood that his athletic career, because of the nature of the game, would just be the beginning of his life’s journey. Floyd had an epiphany and asked himself, “is this all I have to offer the world?”
Floyd Raven took stock of his life, with the support of his wife, and came to a difficult and significant decision to leave the NFL after two seasons and begin something he knew he and his family would be proud of. A simple date in Cincinnati with his wife would be the catalyst to his entrepreneurship within the coffee industry. “At that time, I had no clue what I was giving up my first dream for; I just knew God was telling me to do more,” Mr. Raven notes. Putting his business degree to work, he founded the Last Shot Xpresso company in 2017. The rich and unique coffee blends with their athletically-inspired names drew a discerning crowd of coffee lovers. Hearing that a new hotel was opening on the campus of his alma mater, Floyd began his campaign with an Instagram pitch to the hotel’s Food & Beverage Director Wayne Thomas. The two met several times and the advantages for both were evident; they seemed made for each other with the hotel’s Aggie-themed décor, adjacent football field and unique commitment to providing a genuine “Aggie Experience.”
The more casual, efficient and diverse food and beverage outlets of today’s hotels and conference centers all provide a showcase for a variety of products, especially coffee. Last Shot Xpresso’s blends will be available in every bar and restaurant in the hotel and conference center, spanning The Junction Market and Cafe to the lavish banquets and special events in the conference center.
Floyd Raven notes that Benchmark offers a unique laboratory for developing superior products and services. The company’s extensive and professional staff training, manageable size and luxury brands offer many opportunities for entrepreneurs. Benchmark’s approach to food services is creative, diverse and focused on freshness, local ingredients and sustainability. The company recently engaged chef and Father of Southwestern Cuisine Stephan Pyles as its chief culinary advisor. Consequently, the hotel’s cuisine shows a strong Texas influence with farm-to-table innovations using ingredients from Texas suppliers and inspired by the diverse aspects of Texas cuisine.
“A key factor in our decision to contract Last Shot Xpresso was Floyd’s vision, persistence and positive attitude,” says Wayne Thomas. That vision was forged in the faith and ideals of his Louisiana family and by the six core values that every Aggie strives to live by. Excellence fosters a sense of pride in achievement and creates an optimistic, can-do spirit. Integrity is at the heart of the Aggie Code of Honor: Aggies do not lie, cheat or steal nor tolerate those that do. The spirit of Leadership is instilled in every student, with values, confidence and experiences to lead in their world. Loyalty and Respect for Tradition are key to relationships with one’s own family and the larger, lifelong family of Texas A&M. Floyd Raven especially embodies the concept of Selfless Service that inspires both Last Shot Xpresso and the staff of the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center.
One of the prime commitments of the new hotel and conference center is “Aggies serving Aggies”-a program that gives Texas A&M students an opportunity to work at the hotel, learn more about the hospitality industry and the variety of career opportunities it offers. Benchmark CEO Alex Cabañas, Class of 1998, is himself a proud Aggie. Says Mr. Cabañas, “As a former student, I am so proud that Benchmark is helping to create a training program that combines Benchmark’s ‘Be The Difference’ service culture, forged by my father, Burt Cabañas, with the ideals and traditions of my Texas A&M family. Floyd Raven embodies and embraces both those traditions and we are delighted to welcome him to Benchmark at Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center.”
Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center Media Photo Link: https://www.texasamhotelcc.com/press/
About Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center
With a privileged location directly across from Kyle Field, the Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center in College Station, Texas is a destination luxury property offering state-of-the-art conference facilities, signature brand amenities, welcoming accommodations, and gracious southern hospitality. Steeped in Texas A&M history, traditions and culture, the property has a powerful sense of place and is the ideal choice for business and leisure travelers seeking a one-of-a-kind authentic Aggieland experience. As the preferred hotel for Texas A&M University, the property offers 250 spacious guest rooms, including two penthouses and 11 suites, with sweeping views of the Texas A&M campus. Also featured on property is a rooftop pool overlooking Kyle Field; dining outlets committed to providing fresh, healthful, scratch prepared and locally-sourced dishes; a two-story bar and lounge with a terrace; and a full-service conference center with 35,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center is the perfect place for scholarly explorations, meaningful celebrations, productive meetings, college visits and family vacations. www.texasamhotelcc.com and https://www.facebook.com/TAMUHotelCC/
About Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®
Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® features the finest in lodging, dining, recreational and meeting accommodations. Featuring unique and distinctive properties renown for exceptional service and for creating unforgettable memory-making experiences, it is the signature portfolio of BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, which has been a leading US-based hospitality management company for nearly 40 years. Many Benchmark Resort & Hotels' properties are certified by IACC, the association that represents the finest meeting venues and services globally, and many have also been recognized with the coveted Benchmark Conference Centers® certification of meeting excellence. www.benchmarkresortsandhotels.com. To become a fan on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/BenchmarkResortsandHotels Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BenchmarkHotels, on Instagram at www.instagram.com/benchmarkresortsandhotels, and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/benchmarkhotels
Ken Ellens Communications