2/7/17 | When Mike Stengel walked into The Great Hall at JWU’s Denver Campus, all eyes were on the front of the stage. And with good reason: Stengel is the senior vice president of Gaylord Hotels, where he oversees 8,400 employees and approximately 8,100 rooms across 5 properties.
Stengel needs to hire 2,000 employees to support the opening of the Gaylord of the Rockies in late 2018. Once completed, the premier hotel and convention center, located just 25 minutes from campus, will boast 1,501 guest rooms, including 114 suites and more than 485,000-square-feet of meeting space — making it the 6th largest hotel and convention center in the country.
“Johnson & Wales is one of the best schools to recruit at — you have 4 great campuses with great opportunity to meet students to become part of our team,” said Stengel.
Stengel was honored as the School of Hospitality Distinguished Visiting Professor, and discussed his career path within Marriott, the parent company that owns the Gaylord brand.
Stengel originally started out his career working in a Marriott dish room — at a time (1980s) when there were only 50 Marriott hotels in the world. Now, Stengel said, the brand encompasses more than 6,000 hotels and 30 brands, with more than 18 languages spoken worldwide.
“This brand is about entertainment. We not only want to have successful meetings and do great leisure business, but we also want to drive the entertainment agenda,” Stengel said as he highlighted flagship Gaylord events like ICE!, an indoor winter wonderland festival that sold 1 million tickets last year.
Hotel Lodging Management student Julianne Lukens said guest lectures from executives like Stengel provide perspective on what it’s like to have a career with one of the most recognized hotel companies in the world.
“It was a really great presentation,” said Lukens. “He gave a lot of insight into the issues they’ve had opening [Gaylord of the Rockies], as well as what it takes to advance at Marriott.”
Stengel’s visit was part of Marriott Days, a two-day recruiting event on campus.