Meet Patrick Geiger – WVU EMBA graduate
Patrick Geiger graduated with a WVU EMBA degree in December 2009, and he has every right to be relieved. For the past two and one-half years, he has worked hard for the advanced degree, all while helping to open the new Morgantown Fairfield Inn Hotel.
Geiger, the hotel’s general manager, was onboard before the building was opened at the University Town Centre, just off Interstate 79.
“This has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done professionally,” he said. “We planned on getting open by July 6 this year—from construction to operation by July 6. As the operational team came in, it was clear the construction team was nowhere close to being done. I actually lived here at the hotel during that time, working from 5:30 in the morning until about 1:30 the next morning every day for three weeks until we opened.”
The Fairfield Inn is under the license of Marriott Hotels, which finally sent an inspector to give his blessing to the new facility on Thursday, Aug. 25. “He said, ‘I believe you can open by Saturday,’ and I was thinking of two thousand things I would need to get done” Geiger recalled.
On Friday morning, Geiger and the hotel staff were having an opening celebration in anticipation of attaining the next day’s goal. “The inspector came up to me in the middle of the celebration and says, ‘I believe you can be open by 5 o’clock today.’ They were still installing our computer systems!”
It was the weekend of Mountainfest, a Morgantown-based motorcycle gathering that attracted more than 65,000 participants in 2009, one of which was Geiger’s first customer, riding up on a Harley. “He was our opening customer, and it hasn’t slowed down since,” Geiger said.
That’s part of the reason he’s looking forward to graduation. He’s been busy – for years.
At 19, Geiger went to work for Coca-Cola . He worked his way up for 17 years and became a division manager. Then he went to work for a grocery distributor for six years and drove 1,600 miles a week calling on clients and taking classes in the evenings.
But that wasn’t enough. He wanted an MBA degree.
“In this day and age, the marketplace is very competitive. The current master’s degree is the former bachelor’s degree. If you want to be competitive in the marketplace, you have to be willing to take that next step and go ahead for that advanced degree. Also, the skill sets you acquire assist you with your individual and professional goals.”
His goal is to manage a business and to eventually have equity partnership in that business.
He has accomplished the former. He is in charge of $10 million in assets, a budget of $2.5 million a year and a staff of more than 30 people.
“The skill sets that came from the EMBA program helped me in large part to be eligible for that – I’m not sure I would have been considered prior to pursuing the EMBA,” he said.
The owner of the motel plans to build others in the region, and Geiger hopes to oversee all of those operations and be an investor and partner. “The skills that come from the EMBA have trained me to not only manage the operations of this hotel and the vast assets here, but has also set me up to invest in the future.”