Fresh out of college in the early 1990s, Troy Longwith worked at a large hotel in nearly every capacity: housekeeping, front desk, valet, maintenance and security night manager. But the job that intrigued him most was one he had never heard of.
“In school, they don’t really tell you much about the sales and marketing department,” says Longwith, who graduated from Washington State University with a business degree from its hotel and restaurant program. “I wondered, ‘Who are all these people in suits who are going to lunch?’”
After getting a start in the hospitality business, Longwith left the industry for three years and worked in pharmaceutical sales to gain marketing experience. Following that brief detour from hotels, he joined the team at Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seattle (now The Fairmont Olympic Hotel), where he worked his way up the chain of command to director of sales. In September 2012, he was appointed general manager at The Heathman Hotel in Kirkland, Washington.
Longwith loves the diverse responsibilities his job involves and welcomes the unpredictability a day brings. “You’re always on call, 24/7,” he says. “If you make it through the night without an accidental fire alarm or a guest issue, it’s a good day!”
Longwith also enjoys being a part of the larger Kirkland community, and he sits as the vice president and member of the boards of directors and executive boards of both the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and the Kirkland Downtown Association.
A short walk from the eastern shore of Lake Washington, The Heathman Hotel is a 91-room luxury hotel with seven meeting spaces and a renowned farm-to-table restauran t. It draws guests from all walks of life, including local empty nesters—who may book a room over the holidays so that their visiting children can have their parents’ condo all to themselves—and musicians in town for a concert. Longwith says that the hotel’s close proximity to Microsoft’s and Google’s offices makes it the choice for traveling businesspeople and technology workers.
“We’ve been called ‘Kirkland’s living room,’” says Longwith. “We’re a hotel that gets different types of business all year round.”