John DeJohn, B.A.’95

Master of Management and Motivation

By Amy Halloran, B.A.’90

ohn DeJohn runs several eating and drinking establishments in and around Albany. Justin’s and DeJohn’s are restaurants that nearly face each other on Lark Street. Just down the street is Legends on Lark; Pearl Street Pub and the Dirty Martini Lounge are located farther downtown. DeJohn also operates the concessions for The Armory a sports venue. By year’s end, several other projects should be up and running, including a nightclub on the lower level of the Armory, and a pub on the Washington Street side of the building. Legends on Pearl and DeJohn’s Ship Pub, in Latham, opened this fall.

“I think that managing classes and schoolwork taught me a lot about being able to run 10 restaurants,” said DeJohn, pausing to chat in the busy, white-tableclothed dining room at Justin’s.

Pearl St. Pub

DeJohn, who majored in English, credits UAlbany, and his two years’ active duty in the Marines, with giving him the tools to run his businesses. Many of these tools are social in nature: Don’t demonize things you don’t understand. If you fight everybody you don’t agree with, you’ll never get anything done. If you can understand what people are thinking, you can get them on your side.

DeJohn’s first job, at 15, was washing dishes at an inn in the Catskills. He worked in every position – except cook – while he got his associate’s degree at Columbia-Greene Community College, and in more restaurants while he attended UAlbany. Following graduation, DeJohn served with the Marines. He was a technician at Verizon for 11 years, continuing to work for the company while running his first two restaurants.

“The biggest thing I learned is how to manage people and how to motivate them to do things they don’t necessarily want to do. I learned that leadership from UAlbany, from the interaction between students and teachers,” he said.