Growing up on Dale Drive, Chris was introduced to the Blair “spirit” at an early age. He was a member of the first undefeated basketball team in the history of Takoma Park Junior High School, and at Blair Chris was active in the Crest Club and other student activities. After leaving Blair, Chris moved to Montana and eventually enrolled at the University of Kentucky.
Chris completed his education by putting himself through his last two years of college, during which time he entered the management training program for Steak and Ale Restaurants. He rose through the organization and became the president of the Bennigan’s chain in 1980. In 1988, he and his partners opened the first Outback Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida. What began as a casual conversation about America’s fascination with all things “Down Under” turned into an opportunity to differentiate their restaurant from the routine casual western-themed steakhouse. Today there are over 800 Outback Steakhouses worldwide. Chris became the chairman & CEO in 1991.
As his success grew, so did Chris’ generosity in giving back to his community. Children and educational organizations are the focus of his charitable contributions, with millions of dollars annually given to communities and tens of thousands of volunteer hours given by Chris and his associates from their restaurants.