* Name: Laura Neumann
* Organization: Benchmark Hospitality at Cheyenne Mountain Resort
* Position: Vice president and general manager
* Hometown: St. Louis, MO
* How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: Since March 7
* Education: My education is mostly hands-on experience working my way through the ranks. Although I have worked toward a bachelor’s degree on and off through my career, I am currently a few credits shy of earning my degree (that I have promised myself I will gain prior to my children entering college!).
* A few words about your company: I have been with Benchmark Hospitality for 17 years, most recently serving as a regional vice president overseeing seven hotel/resort properties in North America. At Benchmark, we take pride in being an internationally recognized leader in resort, conference center, conference hotel and golf course management. Cheyenne Mountain Resort is one of 28 properties that Benchmark manages.
* Recent accomplishments: Most recently, landing the position at Cheyenne Mountain Resort!
In the past few years&
Developed and executed, as general manager of The AT&T Learning Center, Basking Ridge, N.J., the company’s vision through pre-opening and first operating year. This $60 million property opened ahead of schedule to full occupancy and exceeded budget in its first year.
Developed and supervised, as regional vice president, the execution of all aspects of the pre-opening of the city-owned The Chattanoogan, Chattanooga, Tenn., Benchmark’s first venture into public/private partnerships. This $43 million urban resort opened on time and under budget in 2001 and exceeded budget and market share in fiscal 2003.
* Biggest career break: To cite one specific example, 10 years ago I was given the opportunity to open, as general manager, the most technologically-advanced conference center in North America and Benchmark’s first corporate conference center.
* The toughest part of your job: Making the tough calls that impact people’s lives on a daily basis.
* Someone you admire: I admire real people who have real lives and accomplish greatness in small everyday acts. People who “pay it forward.” If I named one or 10 or even 100, it would not begin to cover my long, long list of those who I admire. And, most who read this wouldn’t recognize a single name.
* About your family: We have a large extended family. My husband, Tom, is currently a stay-at-home-dad who deserves to have an article like this written about him. My 6-year-old daughter and four-year-old son have immediately fallen in love with Colorado living and exploring the great outdoors.
* Something else you’d like to accomplish: Learning the game and business of golf is definitely at the top of the list.
* How your business will change in the next decade: The business of hospitality needs to be a blend of utilizing the resources of all new age technologies yet be solidly based in the values of “days-gone-by ” service that ultimately seeks to delight every guest.
* What book are you currently reading? I read “Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett a few months back and thoroughly enjoyed her writing.
* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? I love the area and the city, but, increasing airline service is No. 1 on my agenda.