Jim Harbour appointed director of the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management

Jim Harbour, a career-track associate professor in the Carson College of Business, has been appointed director of the School of Hospitality Business Management. He will officially assume director duties on Aug. 16.

Closeup of Jim Harbour
Jim Harbour

“It’s an incredible honor to be the next director of the School of Hospitality Business Management,” Harbour said. “I want to be a change agent while honoring all those who came before me who worked so hard to create our international reputation. It’s my goal to keep that reputation and work with students, faculty, staff, alumni, industry, administrators, and anyone else that wants to engage with us to help students thrive.”

Harbour (’99) earned his bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant administration from WSU and an MBA from Gonzaga University. He has been a faculty member in the SHBM since 2006 and has taught nearly every course in the hospitality program. One of his passions is leading students on study abroad experiences. He co-owns and operates South Fork and Round Top Public House restaurants and Fork in the Road Catering with business partner Wade Dissmore (’97). Harbour and his wife, Jennifer, own Porch Light Pizza and Sweet Mutiny.

The School of Hospitality Business Management was established in 1932 and is renowned for its faculty expertise, globally recognized research, industry collaboration, and hands-on experience, making it a top choice for students seeking a comprehensive education in an accredited school of business.

“Jim’s intimate knowledge of our curriculum and wealth of industry experience make him an excellent choice to lead our hospitality programs,” said Debbie Compeau, interim dean.

Early exposure to industry influences career aspirations

Harbour grew up in Auburn, Washington, and said his interest in hospitality began in 7th grade when his parents briefly invested in a restaurant. He worked there and fell in love with all aspects of the business. His family later moved to Pullman, where Harbour attended high school. At 16, he worked in a local pizza place, which confirmed the direction of his career.

“I enjoyed the intensity of the work and the industry; it suited who I am as a person,” Harbour said. “Making crew members’ and guests’ days better in the restaurant kept me coming back for more.”

Today, he infuses his classroom with the expertise he’s gained in the industry over the last 30-plus years.

“I use real-time data in the classroom so students see how the numbers work from an operating restaurant,” Harbour said. “I discuss successes and failures that we have experienced in the restaurants, which adds relevancy.”

As director, he plans to leverage industry partnerships that enhance student learning through lectures, internships, externships, company visits, and full-time job placements. He’ll ensure best practices are being used in the curriculum and work with industry leaders to identify resources and collaboration opportunities for research faculty. The hospitality faculty produce some of the most significant hospitality and tourism research in the world, in keeping with the Carson College’s vision to provide leading research insights and critical thinking about business to business and policy communities in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

“I am excited to develop the leaders and innovators the industry needs to keep progressing,” he said.

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