By Mr. Robert Dozier (FMWRC)November 21, 2013
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO (October 14, 2013) -- In the food and beverage world of customer service, speed often translates to customer satisfaction. On the auto racetrack, speed is the ultimate measure of success. Preparation, desire and goal setting is a winning combination in both arenas. Listen to testimony from the man who knows.
"Racing has been a boyhood dream, but food and beverage is my passion," said Jim Perricone, senior food and beverage program analyst with the U.S. Army Installation Management Command G9 (Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs). "I was working as F&B director at a big name hotel in Virginia Beach and found myself taking care of visiting military brass. I jumped at the opportunity to bring the same level of new and fresh approaches, and trends to the Army as I was doing for the commercial world."
IMCOM G9 operates food and beverage facilities throughout the United States and at garrisons around the world, serving Soldiers and their Families wherever they are.
"I was able to bring with me new ideas and concepts, including a broad expansion of catering operations to the garrisons, which not only adds to the facility's bottom line, but serves the needs of the military community," said Perricone. "F&B is just one part of what we do for the Army, in support of Soldiers and their Families. I am fortunate to be able to contribute my part."
Jim's great attitude of service and embracing opportunity has contributed to his success outside his work in the Army Civilian Corps.
"I've been interested in auto racing all my life, but in food and beverage, the schedule of 14 days on and three days off made it nearly impossible to live the weekend racing circuit life to the fullest," said Perricone. "Since I've been with the Army, I've had more stability in my life, in both finances and time, to pursue the racing. These last three years have really paid off."
Perricone has been involved in racing since 1996 and has participated in national events at Eldora Speedway in Ohio and in Charlotte, N.C. at "The Dirt Track" Speedway.
Perricone is the owner of JBMotorsports and races the #10P car in the sprint car
Class. "This team is the best group of professionals I've ever had the chance to work with and win with."
Sprint cars are very highly powered and race on short circular or oval dirt tracks. Due to their engine designs, these cars can achieve speeds as high as 140 miles per hour, making them very popular in the sport.
"Growing up, I was not fortunate enough to be able to compete in racing," said Perricone. "I vowed to get an education and prove myself in the business world, in order to make it possible to buy my way in. I've been able to do that and now I'm reaping the benefits."
Perricone's team joined the national circuit in 2011 and has progressed to running with the "World of Outlaw" circuit the last two years.
"What inspires me about racing is getting a chance to meet great people who visit the pits and be able to set an example, especially for young people," said Perricone. "I want to tell anyone who will listen that if you work hard and have a dream, you can achieve it at any level."
In 2014 Jim has joined the ranks with the top 50 Sprint car drivers in the country.
"I had the chance to talk to a 19 year-old race fan who felt stuck in a small town, working as a welder, with no way to move forward and progress," said Perricone. "I talked to him about joining the Army Reserves or National Guard to give him the stability he needed and maybe the education he desired. No one should feel stuck like that. That young man promised me he would talk to a recruiter. That really felt good."
Perricone attended Penn State University and then worked for Marriott for almost 20 years, and then Hilton, before joining the Army civilian corps. His auto racing team intends to run in more than 20 shows this year and take part in the top 5 Premier National.
Inspiration comes from his family and he has learned how he can influence one of his biggest fans.
"My daughter is too young to race, but I encourage her at every turn," said Perricone. "She said she would just rather be watching me."
Even proud sprint track racers come back down to earth. This one realizes the importance of what he is doing on the track as well as off the track.
"What inspires me most is what we do best, for the Soldiers and their Families," said Perricone. "Right now, there is a Soldier overseas on the front line. Just like when racing on the dirt track, the last thing this Soldier needs to do, as he trains his weapon against a hostile enemy, is to look over his shoulder worrying about how is Family is doing back home. I'm the luckiest guy in the world, being able to support that Soldier."