Springfield, MO

12 People You Need to Know in 2012: Phill Burgess

Posted online
In what is his third stint with a John Q. Hammons company, Phill Burgess is charged with teaching a new generation of sales professionals and hotel managers about Hammons’ approach to business.

Since December 2010, Burgess has served as the vice president of sales and revenue management for Springfield-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, which has 78 hotels, more than 9,000 employees and an operating budget of more than $800 million.

“On top of directing the sales and revenue aspect of our business, I’m creating an ongoing training program that includes the John Q. Hammons legacy and the values we embrace,” says Burgess, who was recruited back to the Hammons fold by CEO Jacquie Dowdy, the company’s leader since October 2010 when health issues forced Hammons to step down.

Unlike Burgess, many of the company’s employees had never met the company’s founder, and company veterans felt it was important to perpetuate Hammons’ business influence.

“In this economy, since it’s difficult to build new hotels, we had to ask ourselves, ‘Who do we want to be?’” Burgess says.

“The bottom line is it all comes back to leadership, and so a lot of my focus is leadership training and development.”

Burgess’ first stint with Hammons was in 1982, and he climbed his way to general manager with Winegardner & Hammons Inc., the precursor to John Q. Hammons Hotels.

He left in 1988 for a regional marketing position with Holiday Inns Inc., but apparently made a favorable impression on his former boss with a marketing speech at a Holiday Inn Conference.

Hammons, who hadn’t been taking Burgess’ calls since his departure, shared in the applause and told the crowd he taught Burgess everything he knows.

A couple years later, Hammons recruited Burgess for a second stint, helping to guide the company’s sales and marketing when it went public in 1995. After that, he left again, and spent the next 15 years as a hotel industry consultant and in the Christian publishing business.

Having recently battled testicular cancer, Burgess says his experiences with chemotherapy tested the advice he’s given to employees through the years.

Now, he’s using what he’s learned from Hammons and others to write a book – with the working title, “Big Blue Sky” – about having the right attitude to inspire excellence in service and sales.

“It gets back to being the best,” he says. “Being the best is difficult or everyone would be the best.”[[In-content Ad]]


No comments on this story |
Please log in or register to add your comment
Editors' Pick

From the Ground Up: Maxon’s Diamond Merchants

Maxon’s Diamond Merchants owners Rick and Jane McElvaine in January plan to relocate from the Brentwood Center to a new building.

Most Read
SBJ Live logo
Zero Capital Startup

“I started with no working capital. My husband came back from Afghanistan and his job was gone, so he went back to Iraq for a year,” says Nanette Willis, owner of Sassy’s Goodies L.L.C. in …

90 Ideas - Crista Hogan “Torch your strategic plan,” says Crista Hogan, Executive Director of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association. “Don’t open a ton of time on a document you’re going to pit in a drawer, …
Growing a Business Mind “We received our initial investment, which was a great start up investment. Any founder would have loved to have had that,” says Charity McGill, CEO and Co-founder of Deep Water Software. “At …
Take the Initiative “It’s a definite plus when they walk in groomed, dressed without holes in their jeans and flip-flops,” says Jim Swafford, Owner and General Manager of Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub. You never know …
Best Advice - Don’t be Intimidated Are you intimidated in certain situations? Tami North, Executive Director of the Rogersville Area Chamber of Commerce, and one of Springfield Business Journal’s Most Influential Women for 2017, …