Ken Ventre is the Brand Ambassador for American Heroes Smokehouse, who truly embodies the same values we cherish. As the son of a Marine Corps veteran and the grandson of a World War II vet, Ventre has service running through his veins. He joined the Air Force in 2003 at the age of 23, then considered an “old man by the high school graduates.” In the interim years he attended a local community college and worked at various restaurants.
In the Air Force, Ken worked as an F-15 jet Crew Chief, serving two years in England at Royal Air Force Lakenheat base. He continued to deploy throughout Europe and the United States, serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. Ken completed his enlistment at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia at the First Fighter Wing until he was honorably discharged in 2004.
Ken credits the Air Force for instilling the discipline necessary to lead a team. Prior to his service, he attained supervisory roles at work but lacked the discipline or maturity to properly fulfill those roles. After leaving the service, he worked as a jet mechanic, albeit briefly. “It was only a year or two before I was yearning to get back into customer service, especially with what I had learned in my time in the Air Force.”
In the restaurant world, his leadership skills stood out. Ken moved quickly up the ranks at Panera Bread, managing New Jersey location for many years. He joined American Heroes Smokehouse in 2017, rapidly working his way up from a store manager, Director of Operations, and the company’s Brand Ambassador and Customer Service Director.