Director of Culture and Operations
Paid in grits since 2016
As director of operations, Dan oversees all aspects of daily operations across Jim Shirley’s family of restaurants. As the first-ever director of culture, Dan’s role brings an emphasis to the importance of company culture, employee experiences, and the growth of each individual.
Knowing Chef Jim’s reputation for delivering culinary quality and genuine hospitality, in 2016 Dan moved his young family to Santa Rosa Beach from South Florida to serve as the general manager over the company’s operations in Seaside, Florida — before being promoted to director of culture and operations — to reinforce the company’s vision and values.
Dan began his restaurant career at the age of fifteen, was managing partner of a steakhouse for over thirteen years, and general manager of an upscale pizza restaurant for over six years. He currently oversees the company’s management teams who serve 280+ seasonal and full-time employees, as well as oversees the logistics plans for company appearances like the latest trip to cook at the James Beard House in New York, Governor DeSantis’ inaugural candlelit dinner in Tallahassee, the Children’s Home Society of Florida’s annual fundraiser in Pensacola, and many, many more. Dan also played an integral part in the coordination and setup of the mobile relief kitchen in Port St. Joe that fed thousands of people in the area following hurricane Michael. Dan recently developed the b.f.f. concept that was introduced into the company’s portfolio in 2018 and assists with the strategic plans for all future projects.
With his trademark devotion to his family, self-leadership, and extreme ownership, Dan empowers others to create a work-life balance. While he wears many hats to satisfy the diverse needs of his teams and responsibilities, his devotion is reflected by the quality of talent and relationships he has been able to enlist and nurture throughout his management career.
Outside of the office, you can typically find Dan with his family — and most likely outdoors. He was appointed Chair of the Vision and Mission Committee for Dune Lakes Elementary. He currently serves on the Bay Elementary Schools Advisory Council Board for the School Improvement Plan.