In the early 1990s when he was a sophomore at UW-Stout, Randy Ruder interned at a country club in New York. It was his first experience with a private club, and he loved it.
When he returned to UW-Stout that fall, he joined the student chapter of the Club Management Association of America, intent on pursuing a career in private club management.
That career has worked out pretty well. Ruder is general manager of the historic Beach Point Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., and is about to become the national leader of CMAA, the organization that helped put his career on the right track.
Ruder will be elected CMAA chairman, a one-year term, at the CMAA World Conference and Club Business Expo beginning Sunday, Feb. 24, in Nashville, Tenn. He has been a CMAA member since his undergraduate days and has served with regional chapters, on national committees and on the board as secretary-treasurer and, most recently, as vice president.
CMAA has 6,800 professional members worldwide at more than 2,500 clubs.
On hand to see Ruder become CMAA leader will be one of his UW-Stout professors, Phil McGuirk, and 24 UW-Stout students scheduled to attend the conference. The CMAA student chapter fundraises to help members attend. Students network with professionals and often return with internship or full-time job offers.
McGuirk is proud of his former student from the university’s hotel, restaurant and tourism management program. Ruder received HRTM and business administration degrees from UW-Stout in 1993.
“Even as a student he showed great promise for the industry and has an outstanding work ethic,” McGuirk said “He is very personable, has a great rapport with the guests and employees he interacts with and is very dedicated to the club management profession.”
McGuirk founded the UW-Stout CMAA student chapter, one of the first two in the U.S. In 2017 he received an award, presented by Ruder, for 40 years of service to CMAA.
Ruder had a postgraduation internship at Beach Point Club in 1993 and has worked there ever since. He became general manager in 1999. He also has a Master of Business Administration from La Salle University.
The club, which opened in 1925, features beach, yacht and tennis facilities. It is located on Long Island Sound. During the peak season, from May through October, it has 250 employees.
“It’s a great place, and I’m very proud to be here,” Ruder said.
A native of Marshfield in central Wisconsin, Ruder has maintained a strong connection with UW-Stout over the years. He is on the advisory board for the HRTM program, part of the School of Hospitality Leadership. He also established an internship program at Beach Point Club and has hired many UW-Stout interns over the years.
“The main reason we recruit UW-Stout students is that I have this fondness for the way we were taught. The hands-on learning and the instructors were excellent,” Ruder said.
At UW-Stout, the internships are through the Cooperative Education Program managed by Career Services.
One of Ruder’s three main initiatives as CMAA chairman will be developing future CMAA leaders through education. He plans to create a Student Development Task Force to “study how club management is taught and introduced in college. We need to make sure that the best and brightest hospitality students are not only entering our profession but staying in it. Training and the sustainability of their career path is very important.”
In addition to Ruder, four other UW-Stout graduates are full-time employees at Beach Point Club.
Ruder plans to return to UW-Stout March 7-8 for the 50th anniversary celebration of the School of Hospitality Leadership. In the summer, Beach Point Club will host a gathering for UW-Stout alumni who work and live in the greater New York area.
UW-Stout alumnus Randy Ruder will become chairman of the Club Management Association of America.
Randy Ruder is general manager of the Beach Point Club, on Long Island Sound in New York. The club opened in 1925.