Alumni Spotlight - September
Ed Biery - 1991
Trust the Process
WE BELIEVE in the process of Catholic Education at Newport Central Catholic and there are few better examples of this than Ed Biery, 1991 graduate and now co-owner and COO of the quickly growing and successful Flipdaddy’s Restaurants.
Flipdaddy’s, a restaurant that focuses on quality burgers and craft beer as well as a super clean and customer friendly environment, opened its doors in 2010 in Cincinnati. In only seven years, the chain has expanded to five locations in three different states including a restaurant just down the Hill from NCC in Newport. Many members of our community can be found at this location for lunch, dinner or after sporting events. The most recent restaurant opening took place in July, 2017 in Orange Beach, Alabama where Ed spent over a month preparing for the grand opening.
It is very obvious Ed is passionate about his restaurants and no one can blame him considering the amount of time he has put into his career. He began working in restaurants when he was still a student at NCC at 15 years old. After 30 years in the field, he has filled every role imaginable from busboy to manager, cook to bartender. He feels this well rounded experience has given him the tools to lead his employees, but he admits he was not always set on being a leader.
At 25 years old, Ed earned a degree in film from Watkin’s College of Art & Design, but found little opportunity in the film industry when he moved back to the Cincinnati area with his wife Kathy. So, Ed went back to what he knew and that was food, but he still felt a yearning for something more. While working at The Pub as a bartender, he found some inspiration.
“What’s your real job aside from bartending?” asked a patron. Ed was startled at the question and quickly found offense. This was his REAL job and he had at that moment realized he was a professional at it with over 20 years experience at the time. On that very night, Ed had realized he had all the skills and knowledge to own and run his restaurant. On that same night, he set a personal goal of opening his own establishment by the age of 40. Ed went hard at work and finally found his direction. At the age of 38, he overachieved, just as his restaurants are doing today. In 2011, Bob Dames, CEO of Flipdaddy’s, asked Ed to be Chief Operating Officer and Co-Owner of Flipdaddy’s Restaurants.
“I love being behind the scenes and find happiness in Bob getting the face time our restaurants deserve,” said Ed. This is a humble comment that former NCC Dean of Discipline Mr. Lloyd would find ironic considering Ed’s behavior. He loved high school, but at times felt he had a little too much fun, “but I always knew where to draw the line.” The discipline at NCC of knowing where that line was drawn kept Ed grounded and though he felt directionless at times, he knew he had a greater purpose.
Certain faculty on The Hill also knew Ed like all other students have a greater purpose. “Father Hinds was one of the most influential people in my life. He was patient with me and found ways to focus my energy,” he commented about a desk project in which Ed under the direction of Hinds creatively refurbished and painted a desk. “He always talked to me like I was his peer and really tried to understand the challenges that I was going through,” he said reminiscently. This Christ-like individualization is what makes Catholic Schools so unique.
“I owe my success to Catholic Education,” simply credited Ed; however, the once self-proclaimed anti-establishment, metal-head admits he did not realize how blessed he was during his time at St. Vincent, Holy Spirit and Newport Central Catholic. “I lacked direction and matured later in life,” he commented. “But the morals instilled in me during school helped me get to where I am today.” These ideals are evident in the “Yes, is the answer. What is the question?” philosophy Ed has adopted for growing and running his restaurants. Kroger runs for Flipdaddy’s employees are not out of the ordinary to fetch an item not on the menu for a requesting customer. A great example of this was the weekly shrimp based burger made for a former Bengals player with no questions asked. Check their menu. Shrimp is not on it. Talk about individualization.
Ed found these types of philosophies in others at NCC, too, including his former math teacher. “Mr. Dave Ueding used to stay after school and tutor me for free,” Ed commented graciously. “I don't think I appreciated it at the time. I really appreciate it now, because I deal with a lot of math every day and he really built that foundation for me. I could tell that he was not going to accept mediocrity from me.” Many share this same sentiment and it is evident Mr. Ueding’s impact continues even after his retiring last year after 51 years of teaching.
These types of mentors have led Ed to not only become a successful business owner, but also a husband and father continuing the mission of Catholic Education. Ed and Kathy’s son Liam, a student at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Anderson, Ohio, is experiencing the similar process his father did. Catholic Education leads to a well rounded, driven and focused individual. Ed is influential and passionate in his son’s shaping as he coaches a number of Liam’s athletic teams and is a significant supporter in their Catholic community.
Ed continues to connect with old classmates and often invites them for get-togethers at his Newport location. He is a proud product of Catholic Education and we thank him for being a model of what Newport Central Catholic can shape.