The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Reich Family Professor-for-a-Day program brings industry professionals on to campus and into the classroom. The vision behind the program is to provide an informal environment for connections and collaboration. Students are able to meet future employers and receive advice from seasoned experts.
On Nov. 28, students from three classrooms in the Department of Hospitality Management received a break from the standard routine and heard from Steve O’Loughlin, president and COO of Lodging Hospitality Management in St. Louis. O’Loughlin was nominated by Eliza Tse, chair of the department.
In reference to O’Loughlin and his father Robert O’Loughlin, chairman and CEO of the company, Tse said, “They are successful entrepreneurs in St. Louis and our students have a lot to learn from their successful stories.”
As a leader of a company that employs more than 2,500 people (approximately 35 of whom are MU grads), O’Loughlin said it is important to meet students and interact with them in their own environment. O’Loughlin started his day meeting with the hospitality management faculty for a welcome lunch with Tom Payne, former vice chancellor and dean, and Bryan Garton, associate dean and director of the Office of Academic Programs. Following the lunch, O’Loughlin spoke with students from the Introduction to Hospitality Management, Management & Promotion – Live Entertainment, and Destination Management courses. He discussed the experiences that have led him through his career and gave advice to the next generation of the hospitality industry.
O’Loughlin’s career in the industry began in his high school days at Stouffer’s in 1984. He received
his degree in business administration at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Following, he worked in management positions in hotels in both Detroit and St. Louis, picking up awards along the way. O’Loughlin is a two-time recipient of the Marriott Living the Vision Award and was Marriott Sales Manager of the Quarter for the Midwest Region. He has served as president of the St. Louis Area Hotel Association and currently serves on the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. He joined Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) in 1997 and in 2008 was named president of the organization.
“Students find it interesting to have the practitioners talk about their business development and real challenges that they face,” Tse said. “This brings theories taught in the classroom to life.”
Opportunities like this give students the chance to match a face with the company and learn what they are seeking in an employee. Additionally, O’Loughlin said that employers are assisted in their recruiting efforts with the ability to promote their company before students hit the market.
O’Loughlin said that his favorite moments of the day were before and after his presentations – chatting with students and learning their stories.
“Every year I am amazed at the quality of the students that come out of Mizzou. Whatever they’re doing there – they’re doing a great job,” O’Loughlin said. “I know when we’re recruiting from Mizzou, we’re going to get great candidates and great future managers.
Blaise Pastoret (B.S. ’11), Steve O’Loughlin, Stephen Baalmann, Anne Conway (B.S. ’04) and Todd Hotaling at Eckles Hall, home of the Department of Hospitality Management. Photo courtesy of Eliza Tse.
O’Loughlin, second from right, Todd Hotaling, far right, Anne Conway (B.S.’04), third from right and Blaise Pastoret (B.S. ’11), third from left, join hospitality management faculty as they prepare for their day. Photo courtesy of Eliza Tse.
O'Loughlin, back right, chats with hospitality management students about the experiences that have led him to his current position.
O'Loughlin, right, and Former Vice Chancellor and Dean Tom Payne, left. Photo courtesy of Eliza Tse.
O’Loughlin, front row third from right, Blaise Pastoret (B.S. ’11), front left, Todd Hotaling, front row second from left, Stephen Baalmann, front row second from right and Anne Conway (B.S. ’04), front right) sit on a class with hospitality management students.
From left, Todd Hotaling, Stephen Baalmann, Steve O’Loughlin, Blaise Pastoret (B.S. 2011), Eliza Tse and Anne Conway (B.S. 2004).