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Equipping others with essential life skills from the start

When Jonathan “Bob” Ewing, ’06, received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgia College, he never imagined that he’d end up owning and operating a restaurant three years later and two additional ones in the years that followed. He owns and operates Amici in Milledgeville, Greensboro and Macon—slated to open this fall.

Although the Snellville, Georgia, native was a biology major, he easily applies the skills he acquired at Georgia College on the job today.

“I learned how to multi-task and balance my personal life with school and in business,” Ewing said. “The things I learned in class prepared me for the real world.” 

Jonathan "Bob" Ewing, '06, owner/operator Amici

After graduating, he took business education classes with the Continuing Education Department at Georgia College.

“The classes helped me write business plans,” Ewing said. “They apply to what I’m doing now. When the bank asked me for a business plan, I knew exactly what to give them because I took the business classes.”

He is also involved in his community. Ewing assists with Milledgeville Main Street events and talks to Georgia College students, who are in the entrepreneur and franchising classes, as well as the business fraternity. In addition, he’s a food sponsor during Homecoming at Georgia College. Ewing also serves on the board of directors for the Amici Franchising Group.

His inspiration stems from the success of his predecessors.

"The guys who started this company were two college friends just like how my business partner Jon Joiner and I are,” said Ewing. “To see how they’ve grown the brand from being a local pizza place out of Madison, Georgia, to 10 locations—including one restaurant out of state—is just amazing.”

What little free time he has, Ewing spends with his daughter Loghan and his wife Keeli. When he is not at work, Ewing works from home.

His good work ethic has paid off. His peers recently nominated Ewing and Joiner to receive the Georgia Restaurant Association Culinary Exemplary (GRACE) Award. Amici was one of three restaurants vying for the Georgia Restaurant Association’s highest honor as Franchisee of the Year for a Small Chain. The winner will be revealed during the association’s gala to be held Oct. 29.

Since he started with the restaurant, Ewing keeps in touch with the previous owners, who created an encouraging environment.

“My business partner and I got in on the ground floor, so I know what starting out is like,” he said. “We both worked here, and they held our opinions and input really high.”

Since Ewing took over the reigns of ownership, he’s hired hundreds of college students, who account for 90 percent of his staff and are mainly from Georgia College.

“I was a Georgia College student when they hired me as a dishwasher,” Ewing said. “I’m just kind of passing down the torch.”

A lot of employees leave Amici to move on with their own careers. When they return, they describe how they miss the restaurant and how the skills they learned there remained with them.

“They put their best foot forward,” Ewing said. “For some of them this was their first job, because they were focused on getting to college when they were in high school. It’s all about training that person life skills –whether it’s serving, bartending or dishwashing. They’re going to take those skills with them for the rest of their lives.”

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