In 2011, Mr. DiCicco joined Epicurean Charitable Foundation to positively affect deserving students’ lives in Las Vegas. After serving as Vice President of ECF for 2013 and 2014, he now takes over as President for 2015-16. Mr. DiCicco’s goal for ECF is to mentor the young minds of future food and beverage leaders and give back to an industry that has been so good to him. As ECF president, Mr. DiCicco will be responsible for overseeing all day-to-day operations for the organization with a focus on fundraising, building community relationships and student development.
Mr. DiCicco graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, with dean’s list honors. In addition to serving as Vice President of ECF, Mr. DiCicco is an Advisory Board Member for Le Cordon Bleu and served on the Board of Directors for Cheflive Las Vegas.
Chairman of the Board
Kevin Ball joined Epicurean Charitable Foundation in February 2016 to help Clark County’s young people realize their educational dreams, which not may come true without the help of ECF. Mr. Ball is inspired to be a mentor by the fresh perspective and excitement that the new generation of hospitality leaders bring to the industry.
Mr. Ball has over thirty years’ experience in the procurement/supply chain field. From 1997 he has held senior level positions with American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, and Public Service Enterprise Group. In July of 2008, he joined American Casino & Entertainment Properties as the Corporate Vice President of Purchasing/Strategic Sourcing where he oversees and directs the development of the company’s procurement strategy, practices and procedures to form a strong management focus on improving the cost and quality of delivered material and services.
Mr. Ball is the co-founder and chair of the Las Vegas Purchasing Leadership Council. In 2013 he was published in “Inside Supply Management” magazine where he describes navigating the recent recession and how the purchasing department played a strategic role during that time.
In addition to serving as a member of ECF, Mr. Ball enjoys spending time with his two wonderful children: his daughter Cheyenne and son Austin When he is not traveling, he enjoy golfing, fishing and scuba diving.
Vice President National Accounts-Gaming, Sysco Corporation
Karla Perez-Larragoite is Vice President of Gaming at Houston-based Sysco Corporation. has joined Sysco as Vice President of Gaming. Karla has over 16 years of experience in both Commercial and Tribal gaming and is excited toresponsible for the further development of the Gaming Segment at Sysco.
Born and raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Karla graduated from and a Graduate of Oklahoma State University, with a B.S. in Marketing and International Business. , sShe began her career in gaming as a Styleales Consultant with Cintas Uniforms. Karla progressed her career at Cintas through demonstrated ability to develop and deliver mission-critical results, her customer-centric and analytical approach to new business development and the creation of a complete business strategy for a new segment at Cintas. In her last position at Cintas, Karla was Progressing her career to the National Director of Gaming, responsible for the company’s entire gaming strategy. at Cintas through demonstrated ability to develop and deliver mission-critical results, her customer centric and analytical approach to new business development, delivered a complete business strategy for a new segment at Cintas. Karla is Aa dedicated and visionary leader who creates strategic alliances with other organization leaders to effectively align with and support key business initiatives., s She is industry recognized in the industry and recognized and is an award winning professional with a proven history of success. Her Karla’s portfolio of valued business partners spans the nation and includes customers such as MGM, Caesars, Stations, Pinnacle, Gila River and San Manuel Casino.
Karla is the mother of three wonderful children and has an amazing and supportive husband and family. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and watching movies with her family. She believes family is the most important gift. She believes in being humble, working hard and making a positive impact on every personal encounter.
Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa
In 2012, Mr. Kennedy joined Epicurean Charitable Foundation to support and mentor the next generation of hospitality professionals. After serving as Executive Committee Secretary for 2013-14, he now holds the title of Chairman of the Board for 2015-16. As chairman of the board, he is responsible for working closely with the ECF executive committee and board of directors to enhance member recruitment and oversee all community-based fundraising and grant efforts.
Mr. Kennedy is the Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. In his role as Director, he oversees South Point’s Food and Beverage Department as he works to implement strategic plans, guest relations, process improvement and create food and beverage promotions for the property. Mr. Kennedy oversees the hotel’s 13 venues including dining, fast-casual, concessions and the hotel’s wine program. With more than 24 years of experience, he continues to expand his expertise in analyzing, developing and implementing policies to drive his department toward higher achievement.
Mr. Kennedy enjoys quality time with his wife and children and participates in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity committed to funding research to find cures for childhood cancers.
Director of Hotel & Guest Relations for TAO Group Las Vegas
Mr. Chiti, a UNLV graduate brings 18 years of hospitality experience and is currently entrusted with the responsibility of liaising between TAO Group and Sands Corporation assisting with request for Tao & Lavo restaurant, Tao Beach Dayclub and Tao Nightclub. Mr. Chiti is looking forward to knowing the impact the funds he raises will have on young people.
College/University: Graduated from UNLV in 2009
Major/Minor: Hospitality Management
High School: Rancho High School
Mentor: Win Person
Fun Fact: Martha has worked her way up to Director of Hotel Operations at Caesars Palace after graduating from UNLV in 2009.
Melissa Arias joined Epicurean Charitable Foundation in September of 2013 as the new Executive Director. She is passionate about providing a platform for deserving young students to achieve their dreams through hard work and determination.
In her role, Mrs. Arias oversees all fundraising, scholarship activities and day-to-day operations for the organization while working collaboratively with the executive committee, board of directors and the students.
Mrs. Arias joined ECF after seven years with the American Cancer Society, most recently serving as the Director of Development and Distinguished Events. During her tenure, she was responsible for developing a scholarship program for students with childhood cancer, leading the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and managing and executing the Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament and Gala.
A graduate of Towson University in Towson, Md., she was the founder of Young Professionals Against Cancer, received a Certificate of Commendation from US Senator Harry Reid and was inducted into the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Nevada’s Hall of Fame in 2008. Ms. Arias was the recognized as Vegas Inc.’s esteemed Women to Watch 2016.
Mrs. Arias, her husband John, and daughters Savannah and Kinsley, recently welcomed their third child Sebastian to the family. She spends most of her spare time with her daughters, running 5ks, and participating in charity events.
Operations and Program Manager
Christopher Alfieri joined Epicurean Charitable Foundation as Operations and Programs Manager in 2014. He is passionate about a career that is spent bettering the lives of Nevada’s young people and being an instrumental part of their development from the moment they enter the office.
Along with managing the ECF office, Mr. Alfieri oversees all activities pertaining to the Future Leaders of Hospitality Program including: recruitment, as UNLV liaison, student counseling, monitoring student progress, ensuring that students adhere to ECF requirements and standards, and scholarship disbursements. He has been named one of the top 100 men in Las Vegas by MyVegas magazine.
Originally from Long Island, NY, Mr. Alfieri is an avid traveler. He enjoys frequent travels back to the east coast to visit his family and niece Riley. He has lived in Las Vegas for more than a decade and enjoys spending his spare time experiencing all that Las Vegas has to offer.