West Virginia Department of Commerce Todd Gillespie

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Todd Gillespie

West Virginia The Place to Be

Todd Gillespie
The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs

Todd GillespieTodd Gillespie grew up in Worthington, near Fairmont, and graduated from Fairmont State University.
He has worked in the resort business since college in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida. This past year, he came home to West Virginia to become the Director of Sales of The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs.

My Job: As the director of sales, I am in charge of bringing guests to the resort. I focus on group business and leisure business. This is typically corporate and association meetings – new product launches or client entertainment.

Romance and rhododendrons, the sense of service, the sense of history -- The Greenbrier is a proud West Virginia resort and we are very proud to introduce the world to West Virginia in the best light. We have guests from all corners of the globe. We hope that if they have a good experience they’ll bring their business back to the state – they’re spreading the word about West Virginia.

Opportunities: There are few times in a hotelier’s career when you are able to be a part of a renaissance – to be a part of the opening of the casino or an inaugural PGA TOUR event. Now, we are working to get our fifth star (out of the Forbes Travel Guide’s five-star rating) back. This work is a highlight of anyone’s career – and it’s all been in one year, this year. The changes are remarkable. Under Jim Justice, the resort has changed its pricing strategy so we could open ourselves to new markets. We have set revenue and occupancy records every month in these tough economic times.

There are more transportation options to the property, now. There are direct flights from New York, Atlanta and Cleveland into Greenbrier Valley Airport. Amtrak already stops here three days a week, but beginning next year we’ll have daily service. We also are creating The Greenbrier Express, a special round-trip train charter from Union Station, Washington, D.C., to the front door of the resort.

My West Virginia Connection: I grew up playing golf. My dad introduced me to golf and told me stories about Sam Snead and The Greenbrier. So, from a young age this was a special place for me.

After college, I started my career at the Lakeview Resort, near Morgantown. I also worked for Stonewall Resort and The Greenbrier before now, too. I worked in resorts in Maryland or Pennsylvania, always a two-hour drive from West Virginia. Then I moved to the Ocean Reef Club in the Florida Keys. I enjoyed the beautiful, tropical weather, but the forces of the world were leading me home.

My fiancée, Ashley, moved with me from Florida to Lewisburg. She likes having four seasons. She likes that it is safe, with good schools and we can afford a nice home. Maybe you have to see other parts of the world to appreciate what we have here. The further I get along in my career -- everything I could ever want professionally, personally or socially is right here. The real opportunity is where you’re at.

My Favorite Places: I love Blackwater Falls for family reunions and Seneca Rocks is a favorite place. I like Spruce Knob and the grandeur – the uniqueness – of the state. I used to go mountain biking in Coopers Rock or visiting Stonewall Resort. Having worked in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida – West Virginia’s resorts and luxury destinations rival the products of any other state. We have a variety of destination resorts – like Stonewall Resort, Oglebay Resort and The Greenbrier. We have some of the finest golf courses and spas in the country.

West Virginia’s Best Kept Secret: West Virginians should take pride in what we have and who we are. We’re just as smart. We’re talented. We work harder and we’re more genuine. You have to make your own breaks but you can be a part of the change in West Virginia. You can make a life and bring jobs and make a difference.