In His Own Words | Whitney Peak Hotel’s Eric Olson
Name/Title/Company: Eric Olson, general manager, Whitney Peak Hotel
Number of years with company: 2.5 years
Number of years in the profession: 2.5 years
Education: BS in Accounting
Last book read: The Startup Playbook
Favorite movie: Step Brothers
Favorite musical group or genre: Ed Sheeran
Spouse, kids or pets: Samantha (wife) and Gandalf (dog)
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position.
Eric Olson: I’m the general manager of Whitney Peak Hotel, Reno’s first full-service, non-gaming, non-smoking indie hotel that is targeted to active-lifestyle guests who want to take advantage of the area’s local culture, geography and natural resources. I have been with the hotel for almost three years.
My role is to oversee the business and manage daily operations. I also do a lot of financial work as well as stay up to date on future trends that will impact the Reno market and economy.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Olson: I am a big believer in finding not just the right job, but also the right boss. I applied to Whitney Peak because I was attracted to the hotel’s culture. I researched the owners, managers and firmly believed in their vision. They don’t do things the traditional way, but instead encourage creativity, thinking outside of the box. My personality and goals fit with the hotel’s company culture and people.
NNBW: What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
Olson: I enjoy the constant change. Every day, I am faced with a new challenge or something I have never had to deal with before. This industry keeps me on my toes and always tests my knowledge as a general manager.
NNBW: What is the most challenging part about your job?
Olson: In this industry it is important to stay on top of the day-to-day responsibilities, all while trying to come up with innovative ways to better the hotel. The hardest part of my job is finding the time to get away from the day-to-day work to focus on implementing the many exciting ideas and programs I have for advancing the overall success of the hotel.
NNBW: What advice would you give someone who wants to get in your profession?
Olson: Start from the bottom and work your way up to the position you desire. Give yourself time to gain skills and experience in different departments of the hotel. There is nothing more powerful than learning how an entire hotel functions from the inside out.
NNBW: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you either professionally or personally?
Olson: Eventually, your hard work will pay off. Keep your head up, work hard and put the effort in everyday and good things will happen.
NNBW: Has there been someone who was especially influential in helping you establish your career or in reaching your higher goals? If so, who and how?
Olson: My wife has been my greatest influencer. There are times in my life when I become too comfortable, but she pushes me through these phases and motivates me to raise the bar so that I may continue my career growth.
NNBW: Do you belong to any professional/networking organizations? How has membership benefitted your career?
Olson: I am on the board of Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) and the Downtown Maintenance District Advisory group. I like to stay informed about what is happening in the city.
NNBW: Is there any educational advancement that is essential for someone in your career field?
Olson: I am a big proponent of gaining experience in the hotel world. Understanding how each department functions is the key to running a successful hotel.
NNBW: How do you manage your time between the responsibilities of your profession and your personal life?
Olson: I manage my time by keeping a structured lifestyle and having a well-maintained calendar that helps me keep track of my long-term goals and daily tasks.
NNBW: What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time away from work?
Olson: I really enjoy being outside working in the yard and trying to build things, although my attempts at building usually end up with a call to my brother for him to complete the project.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Olson: I am not ready to retire any time soon. I love keeping busy and being productive at work. I thrive in an environment in which I can be productive and doubt there will ever be a time when I am not working — even if I’m selling tools or watering plants at Home Depot after I’ve “retired” from hospitality.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like about living/working here?
Olson: I was born and raised in Reno and most of my family resides here. I haven’t really had a reason to ever leave since family is most important to me.
I have fully immersed myself into Reno. I love the city’s easy access and proximity to the outdoors, the different festivals going on at any given time, the good food and the entertainment options that all make Reno a wonderful place to work and live. Currently, “The Biggest Little City in the World” is in the midst of a big makeover and it’s exciting to see how it will emerge.
“The thing that I like most about entrepreneurship is I can work toward something that I’m passionate about and be at the forefront of the change that I want to see happen,” said Priyanka Senthil, a senior at Davidson Academy in Reno and co-founder of startup company AUesome.