About TopShelf Express

About Us

TopShelf Express, began as an in-house training program for Diverse Concepts in 1999 teaching the Bar Code Alcohol Training program.  In 2005, we started searching for a new training program that better covered the needs of our servers, bartenders and managers.  After looking at all the training programs on the market, we decided to use TopShelf Responsible Beverage Service (now TopShelfEDU).

Why choose TopShelfEDU?

Our focus was to find a program more specific to Tennessee.  TopShelfEDU is the only program that has a Tennessee-specific law handout, a carding section that includes an ID Coder and the CODES® Of Carding helping keep alcohol out of the hands of minors. Their course materials are easy to understand; has a section on how alcohol affects the body, and a major focus on Tennessee Dram Shop law.  Because TopShelfEDU is one of the most respected training programs in Tennessee, the choice was easily made to switch!

Since 1999 TopShelf Express has successfully trained over 40,000 servers, bartenders and managers. TopShelf Express is now one of the largest TABC training companies in East Tennessee. We offer TABC Server/Permit Classes 7 days a week in East Tennessee, Carding and ID recognition training, special/private on-site classes and restaurant consulting.  We will continue to grow to meet the needs and expectations of the restaurants we service in East Tennessee.  Thank you for your continued support and making TopShelf Express the number one ABC Server/Permit training program of choice in East Tennessee.

 

“Often Duplicated, Never Replicated”

 

The TopShelf Express Team

 

Mark Church-Janes – Owner & Master Instructor

With over 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, Mark is originally from a small town outside Louisville, KY.  He attended the University of Louisville, where he was president of Delta Upsilon fraternity for 2 years. Mark served in the US Army as well as the Kentucky National Guard.  He started in the hospitality industry working for the corporate offices of Apple South in Madison GA, as a restaurant opening coordinator, opening 49 Applebee’s across the United States.  Mark transplanted to East Tennessee in 1997 to be the Kitchen Manager of Alabama Grill in Pigeon Forge for 2 years.  Then going to work for Diverse Concepts, “Texas Roadhouse” for 5 years, leaving as the regional training manager.  Mark is now working as an account manager for a local liquor wholesaler.

Mark enjoys spending spare time with his husband of 15 years, friends, family, traveling and outdoor activities.

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”


 Sarah Goodpaster – Instructor

Sarah Goodpaster grew up in the Knoxville area and attended the University of Tennessee. She graduated in May of 2005 with a degree in Spanish with a concentration in Hispanic Studies. While Sarah was earning her degree, she worked in the restaurant industry and continued to do so after graduation.  During her 16 years in the Restaurant Industry, she has worked in all types of restaurants from Fine Dining to Sports Bars. When she was  employed as a server and  bartender, she attended many ABC classes. Her goal while teaching an ABC class is to make her classes as fun and informative as possible by using examples from personal experience.

She currently works as the Marketing and Promotions Manager for Wild Wing Café in Knoxville, TN, Johnson City, TN and Asheville, NC.


Lisa Huffman – Instructor

Lisa has worked in the restaurant industry for 38 years.  She started out at Regas Restaurant on 17th street while attending the University of Tennessee, which was great training because of the extensive Greek & German menu. After Regas, Lisa at Red Lobster on Merchants Road where she became the first dining room manager in 1979 when it opened.  After taking a few years off to spend time with her new son, Lisa went to work at the Silver Spoon Café in Knoxville.  Lisa worked for the Silver Spoon Café for the next 29 1/2 years.  She met so many wonderful people and learned so much about different types of food and recipe preparations. Lisa is now the cafeteria manager for Ball Camp Elementary School. Her love for children makes it a very rewarding job.  Lisa has been a TopShelf EDU certified alcohol awareness instructor for the last 5 years. She started training for Pouncey Partners and now works for TopShelf Expres.  She also is an account manager for TopShelf EDU taking care of the restaurant’s server permit books—making sure managers and servers are in compliance with the TABC rules and regulations.


 Steve Kilgore – Instructor

Steve has over 15 years restaurant management experience, as well as 13 years of construction superintendent experience.  He has completed numerous projects in the eastern United States and is known for his skill, integrity, and faith.  He currently resides in Pigeon Forge, TN with his wife of 16 years and their daughter, age 7.

Steve is committed to training servers in Tennessee with practical advice for complying with the State requirements.


Jessie Maples – Instructor


Mia Powell – Instructor


Milton Rivera Jr. – Instructor


John Volpe – Instructor

 John has 32 years restaurant experience, GM of Abuelo’s  in Knoxville since 2007.


Michelle Woodfin – Office Manager


Melinda Wolfe – Master Instructor

Mel Has been a TABC certified on-premise instructor for 16 years. Mel moved to Knoxville from middle TN in 1981 to enroll at UT.  In 1982 Mel got hired at Hawkeye’s Corner, a popular bar/restaurant on UT campus area. Mel graduated honors with a degree in Elementary Education in 1986, but she never looked for a teaching job.  Mel loved the restaurant business!  She loved the people she met and worked with.  Mel met her husband Steve while working at Hawkeye’s and she continued tending bar until sometime around 1998 when her daughter started kindergarten.  Her former manager and friend, Kim Pouncey, asked if she would like to start teaching ABC classes and it seemed like a perfect transition. Mel loves being able to bring her restaurant experience and love of teaching together and meeting new people each class.