Piada Spotlight | Nicolas Gray
November 30, 2021
Meet Nicolas Gray. As one of Piada’s longest tenured employees, we lovingly refer to him as “the man, the myth, the legend” at our Home Office and if you have the pleasure of meeting Nick, you might hear him call himself an “actual dinosaur”.
Nick, our Senior Designer who just hit his ten year anniversary at the company, has shaped the brand into the Piada you see today. His passion for our business and exceptional creative talent has influenced everything from our restaurant exteriors to our app design. The title “Designer” doesn’t even come close to describing all that Nick has contributed to the brand from day one.
His dedication to personal and professional growth doesn’t stop with his role at Piada. Nick is also an incredibly talented photographer, videographer, musician, illustrator, at-home chef, and more. He isn’t afraid to try something new and is always experimenting with different mediums and creative outlets.
Nick’s Piada journey began at our Upper Arlington restaurant “scooping cheese”, greeting Guests who walked through our doors on the front line and passionately welcoming them into the dining room.
While studying at the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, Nick was open to working in different industries post-graduation with only one goal to marry his creative side with his business education. Nick joined the team first as a Marketing Intern and quickly diversified his skills, often joking that he made it impossible for the team to get rid of him ever since.
“I never wanted to work at a big company and feel like just a number. Even after 10 years, it still feels fresh with new projects and new problems to solve. There’s always opportunities to push my skills further.”
When asked why he has stayed at Piada for so long, Nick credits the transparent culture and continuous development opportunities as one of the main drivers.
“I’ve never felt like I’m below anyone. It’s awesome to have access to a wealth of knowledge and experience at your fingertips. I get to flex all my creative muscles on a regular basis.”
In addition to honing his creative skills through a plethora of hobbies, Nick has a love for Italian Greyhounds and motorcycles (which, if you can believe it, come together sometimes!).
“I gravitate towards adventurous activities. I love the adrenaline rush. I always wanted motorized scooters and mopeds when I was a kid, and I’m pretty sure that just pushed me into extreme sports more as I grew up. There’s something really beautiful about motorcycles - I love the customization, personalization, and the style. I’ve been working on mine for two years to make it unique to me. I feel alive on the road.”
When Nick was growing up, his parents surprised him with an Italian Greyhound puppy who joined their family for 18 years. He fell in love with the breed and currently has two Italian Greyhounds of his own — Zelda and Luca — and two cats with his girlfriend Merideth.
“I love Italian Greyhounds because they’re incredibly athletic and also super lazy. They’re cuddlers and lovers and love to sleep under the covers. I love taking them to the park and watching them run circles around the other dogs. I take Zelda in my backpack and let her ride on my motorcycle with me sometimes.”
Over the last ten years, Nick has been influential in transforming the brand and brought all creative in-house. In collaboration with the greater team, Nick pushed the brand voice from “formal” to more playful and colorful, introducing photography, stop motion animation and more puns that he can count.
“There’s a lot to be proud of. I’ve really enjoyed taking concepts and bringing them to life. The things you’re creating, you’re creating to help give someone a better experience. Whether it’s online, in restaurant, or on the menu card, even though I’m not behind the line anymore, I’m still interacting with Guests and giving them that great experience.”
If you’re looking for a career with huge growth potential, head to careers.mypiada.com.