Name: Nick W.
Position: Vice President, Engineering & Facilities Operations – U.S.
Dream destination: Alaska, more specifically, the eight national parks
Drink or treat of choice: Ironically, root beer — my grandfather’s root beer that he made and bottled when I was little. It was one of the best treats we had when we visited my grandparents. I wish I had learned the recipe and how to make it.
It’s hard to believe Engineering Vice President and U.S. Navy veteran Nick didn’t always plan to work for Marriott — especially since he just celebrated 25 years with the company.
“I only planned to work for Marriott a short time until I found something in the HVAC field,” recalls Nick. “But after the first week, I knew I belonged at Marriott.”
Nick initially applied for an Engineer II position, but the Director of Engineering at the Nashville Airport Marriott recognized Nick’s supervisory experience from the U.S. Navy and invited him to apply for the Engineering Supervisor role instead.
“Within the first week, everyone was always smiling and greeting each other. I felt like I worked at the happiest place in the world. The military was great, and I would do it all over again, but it’s not a jovial environment,” says Nick. “So when I flipped the switch from one extreme to another, I immediately loved what I was doing and where I was doing it.”
Nick spent six years in the U.S. Navy as a Petty Officer Second Class Engineman. He was primarily a diesel mechanic, but he also learned about all the auxiliary mechanical equipment on ships. Before he got to his ship, he learned about other equipment, including air compressors that provided HVAC control on ships, kitchen and laundry equipment, air conditioning, refrigeration, hydraulics, pumps, and elevators — many of which are found in hotels.
“It was a perfect match.”
A match, indeed. Since his first job with the company, Nick has made a difference in the lives of guests and associates alike. During his initial role as an Engineering Supervisor at the Nashville Airport Marriott, Nick created a memorable moment for a group of military supply-chain pilots during a convention at the hotel.
“One of the pilots mentioned he dreamed of being able to climb back into the cockpit. Being prior military, it became my obsession to fulfill his dream.”
“The cockpit was elevated, and he didn’t have the upper-body strength to pull himself up. There was not enough room for someone to try to lift him into the cockpit. I spent a day searching and sourcing a platform with the right dimensions, then worked with the vendor on why we wanted to borrow-purchase, knowing we would bring it back after one use. The vendor agreed, and we got the pilot into the cockpit. He was overwhelmed with emotions.”
Since then, Nick has served guests and mentored associates in on-property Engineering leadership roles throughout Nashville and Atlanta. He later moved into the Area Director of Engineering role for the Southeast U.S. before the promotion to his current position as Vice President, Engineering and Facilities Operations.
“Leading, developing, and mentoring others is my favorite part of the job. Over my career, many leaders have invested in me, and I am passionate about investing in others so they will achieve more than what they thought is possible.”
Above all, Nick is proud to be part of the Marriott family.
“We are in a hospitality environment, and people that work at Marriott are genuinely caring people. You get to know each other on a deeper level; you learn about each other’s families. You experience life’s ups and downs together and build lifelong friendships. I have people that I still talk to from the first hotel I started working at 25 years ago.”
Learn more about Nick’s 25-year tenure at Marriott below.
Which of Marriott’s values resonate most with you?
Empowerment. I love that Marriott trusts us to take care of our customers and associates.
What was your Marriott interview process like, and any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?
I have interviewed many times over my 25 years, and each interview has been unique. My advice is to boast about your accomplishments, specifically during adverse times. Leaders want to know you have grit and will overcome challenging situations. I also highly recommend you practice for your interview, as many as 10 times. Lastly, be yourself. We want diverse team members who bring different attributes to round out and complement our teams.
Describe a moment you felt like a part of a community at Marriott.
I have many examples, but my most recent one is reaching the Quarter Century Club. My Quarter Century Club counterparts total just over 70,000. Think about that for a second — over 70,000 people have worked for Marriott for over 25 years!
What kind of leader do you strive to be?
A trusted and respected leader who speaks up when compelled to and admits his errors. I believe trust and respect are foundational in every relationship. I think articulating what you have to say, while it may not be the popular opinion, is important, and admitting when you are wrong keeps you balanced.
When you’re interviewing talent for your team, what soft skills do you look for most?
A good listener is crucial. Someone who gathers all the information and data before drawing conclusions is also important. Strong leadership skills are important, including not being afraid to challenge the status quo. Lastly, I look for someone who takes immense pride in what they do.
How has your military experience served you in your Marriott career?
All the things the military demands of you made it an easy transition. This includes being on time, following directions, paying attention to the details, keeping our overall mission at the forefront and working towards it all the time. At Marriott, it comes down to taking care of our associates. They will take care of our customers, and our customers will come back.
Do you have any advice for veterans looking to pivot into hospitality?
The transition is very easy and there are countless opportunities to begin your career with Marriott.
What advice do you have for those interested in working at Marriott?
Don’t think about it, join us and you will learn how great of a company Marriott is…We have a saying “if you stay a year, you will stay a lifetime.”
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
I have used my Explore Rate to make life-long memories. I have taken my daughter around the country to play softball. I have taken my son on hunting and fishing adventures. I have used it to meet my family over the holidays at the halfway point since we are so far apart. Lastly, and most importantly, I have used the explore rate to take my wife to some of our luxury resort beach locations for our wedding anniversaries.