September 12, 2009
John Oppenheimer - CEO of Columbia Hospitality

John Oppenheimer – CEO of Columbia Hospitality

Director RJ McHatton with John Oppenheimer

Director RJ McHatton with John Oppenheimer

It was a gorgeous, sunny day in Seattle.  The waterfront was full of tourists off the Cruise ships.  I headed to the World Trade Center to interview John Oppenheimer, CEO of Columbia Hospitality for the Puget Sound Business Journal’s “Best Workplaces” award video.  Columbia Hospitality owns or manages 13 premier resort properties including the Salish Lodge & Spa.  John was a great interview.  He talked about how he started in the hospitality business as a bell hop and now he was the CEO!  John talked about how important the team culture was for their success.  He said that he really focuses on hiring the right people.  He said that all employees go through a rigorous hiring process and that he personally interviews all the concierges of all resorts.  He said he believes the first impression and the last impressions are the most important.  I really enjoyed meeting John.  I could tell that he is a world-class guy with a tremendous focus on the values of customer service and the goal of creating raving fans among his team and clients.  John said that he is a big believer in nepotism, that he loves to have lots of family working for his organization.

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