Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise's director of operations

Selkirk students meet resort director

Visit by the head of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise helped provide incentive for learning about the industry.

As students in the Selkirk College resort and hotel management, hospitality and professional cooking programs dove into their second month of studies, a visit by the head of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise helped provide additional incentive to make good use of their time learning about the industry.

Nestled in one of the most iconic locations in Canada, the Chateau Lake Louise is currently enjoying one of its busiest years in recent history. The resort’s director of operations David MacGillivary stopped by Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus earlier this month to chat with first and second year students.

“We need to actively get into the colleges to let them know we are a great company and there are great opportunities for these students to grow their career,” MacGillivary said after his presentation. “We’re an international company, so that provides a great opportunity for young graduates to step into our company and explore the many avenues available.”

The Chateau Lake Louise was first opened in 1890 by Canadian Pacific Hotels—a division of the Canadian Pacific Railway—as the company was building resorts in some of the most amazing locations in the country. The Banff Springs Hotel, the Chateau Frontenac (Quebec City), the Empress Hotel (Victoria), the Jasper Park Lodge and even the former Balfour House along the shores of Kootenay Lake were all part of an extensive operation that lured tourists from near and far.

In 2001, Canadian Pacific purchased Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and took the name of the much smaller chain in order to reflect a new international focus for the Canadian-based company. Today, the company operates more than 70 hotels and resorts in 19 different countries.

MacGillivary started with CP Hotels as a room service waiter in 1979. After a long career, he returned to the Chateau Lake Louise two years ago and now oversees the operation that employs up to 700 people at full capacity.

“It was very interesting,” said first year RHOT student Geoffrey Abubakary, who grew up in Kelowna. “It’s great to meet contacts, especially for a chain hotel because those can be very important. It gets me excited to go into the industry and shows that I can make those leaps to go the places I want to go.”

Students will get an opportunity to engage with more industry insiders in the coming months when executives from Delta Hotels, Sheraton Hotels and Atlific Hotels pay a visit.

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