Gordon Elliott lives like he’s dying.
The president and CEO of Elliott Lodging Ltd. experienced a near-fatal heart attack while in China in 2005 that has changed his life’s course.
“God gave me a second chance,” Elliott says. “From my first moments of consciousness, I planned my recovery by writing notes and winking at my Chinese doctors and nurses, telling them I had the will to recover. With prayers from hundreds of people in Springfield and around the world, I progressed to return home with changes in lifestyle, believing that I still had a unique purpose to fulfill.”
The last six years have been full of three hotel acquisitions, service on Missouri State University’s Board of Governors and development of another two hotels, while maintaining Elliott Lodging’s 17 hotel properties and 10 apartment complexes in the region.
One of its new properties, the Candlewood South in Springfield, was ranked the No. 1 Candlewood in the United States, says Elliott, who received the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau’s 2000 Hospitality Award and the CVB’s 2010 Pinnacle Award for lifetime achievements.
Elliott and his wife, Glenda, logged 50,000 miles in the last year alone to 15 countries, including a return to China to hand diplomas to more than 100 graduates at MSU’s Dalian campus.
“I also had the opportunity to visit with my doctors in the Beijing Hospital to thank them for saving my life,” says Elliott, chairman of MSU’s Board of Governors.
His journey as a community leader began with the Junior Chamber of Commerce, aka the Jaycees.
“None of us is born with leadership skills,” Elliott says. “We learn these skills through education and through working with strong leaders.”
Elliott helped the Springfield Jaycees become recognized as the top chapter in the country in 1974. At that stage in his career, he already had nearly a decade of accounting work under his belt, with stints at Baird, Kurtz & Dobson and Cohen, Kirkpatrick & Co.
He launched Elliot, Robinson & Co. in 1973 and remains a senior partner with the firm.
“With confidence gained from the Jaycees, I grew my one-person CPA firm to more than 30 professionals,” he says.
Elliott was a founding member of the Springfield Apartment Association, Leadership Springfield and Springfield’s first Adult Day Care Center. He’s a 30-year member of the City Utilities Advisory Board, a past vice chairman of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and a former Springfield City Councilman.
Elliott also has used his accounting acumen to fill a niche role of political campaign treasurer for such officeholders as former Springfield mayors Tom Carlson and George Scruggs, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt.From 2011 Men of the Year