20 Questions with Chon Nguyen

Chon Nguyen leads two technology companies, based in Tampa. Newgentek is a technology services company specializing in managed information technology services, audio video and workplace technology. Fusionprep is a software-as-a-service company that powers multi-unit restaurant kitchens nationwide, managing their recipes, operational checklists and food safety. 

He is one of three partners at Proper House Group. PHG owns, and operates, six restaurants including Dang Dude, Gallito and Gorditos, both at Sparkman Wharf, Rooster & The Till and Nebraska Mini Mart, in Seminole Heights, and Gallito at The Joinery, in Lakeland. 

Their two new concepts, Ash and Alter Ego, are opening in early 2024 at Water Street. They’re also developing two new units in Trinity, bringing their total units to 10. One of their restaurants, Rooster & The Till, is a 2022 and 2023 Michelin BIB Gourmand Award recipient.

  1. College alma mater? I took a few classes and then dropped out. If my Mom asks, tell her I’ll go back one day.

2. Favorite TV show of all time?
The Wire.

3. Preferred place for a business meeting? I’ve been doing a lot of meetings at Capital One Café, in Hyde Park. There are tons of seats and I can walk there on the days I work from home. It was a secret but it’s starting to get a lot busier lately.

4. Social media time suck of choice? Instagram.

5. What time do you wake up on workdays? I’m usually up by 6:30 a.m.

6. What’s a life hack you swear by? Weekly wash, dry and fold laundry service, including linens. Gamechanger. 

7. A movie that terrified you as a child? I have always avoided scary movies. If a scary movie trailer shows up in my Instagram feed, I report it as harassment. 

8. Favorite local restaurant? Outside of our restaurants, at the Proper House Group, my favorite, right now, is Tori Bar.

9. Last book you read? “Unreasonable Hospitality” by Will Guidara.

10. Biggest business failure? I’m very patient and while that’s sometimes helpful, it has also caused me to hold onto ideas, people and projects longer than I should. It’s not one big failure but it has added up to a lot of medium-sized ones. I’m working on it.

11. Best concert you’ve ever seen, live? Kanye West and Drake, at the Free Larry Hoover benefit. They played all the hits and the energy was insane.

12. Something you cook really well? I make a delicious breakfast sandwich. 

13. Most famous person you’ve ever met? Jon Stewart from “The Daily Show.” I bumped into him at my hotel, at Atlanta Food & Wine.

14. Coca-Cola or Pepsi? Coca-Cola.

15. How do you manage the volume of emails you receive?
I do my best to keep up but declare “email bankruptcy” about once a quarter. I have a rule configured that archives everything except messages received in the last 45 days and can usually get to inbox zero from there. It feels so good.

16. Last thing you ordered from Amazon? “Above the Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship Program” by Urban Meyer.

17. Most used emoji? Heart.

18. Charity you support? We try to support as much as we can, but the YMCA is very special to me. It was a big part of my life growing up.

19. What is something silly you got in trouble for as a child? I would build very elaborate firecracker setups to blow up ant hills in my backyard, at a very young age. My mom started hiding the matches.

20. Best advice ever received? Give yourself grace. I see people being so hard on themselves for making a wrong decision or comparing themselves to others — no negative self-talk. Be kind to yourself.

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