SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Tim O’Reilly: Attracting quality talent. That’s our No. 1 challenge, and being able to finance new team members who will help us keep up with the growth trajectory that we’re on. With national unemployment at 3.9 percent, it’s something that everyone is struggling with. People are crossing over into other industries. It’s a problem that’s going to get worse before it gets better. We try to do a lot of different things to make sure we recruit and retain quality team members. We try to have a good culture. Corporate culture is something that’s a positive for us. We really rally around community involvement and charitable programs. Sustainability is a huge piece of our corporate culture. Then, of course, competitive pay and benefits.
SBJ: Do you see your growth being sustainable in the long term?
O’Reilly: The really significant growth that we have right now is the result of a lot of work that was performed in the last six to eight years. Financing was so difficult up until a few years ago. Everything for us came together all at once a few years ago and allowed a lot of these projects to get off the ground. It was a very hectic time for us. That pushed our teams to the limit. I don’t like that type of environment because it really stresses our team members out. I’m enormously blessed to have an incredibly loyal and quality group of people here. I don’t see us growing at this rate forever. You have to have a pipeline, and some of them don’t work out. We have several different parts of the country that we’re looking at.
SBJ: How many hotels do you have in the works?
O’Reilly: We have the Cambria hotel in downtown Omaha [Nebraska] under construction, and that’s going to open in August. Then we have the Jonesboro Embassy Suites that is under construction [in Arkansas]. It’ll open in July 2019. We’re about to start construction on a Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites in Bonita Springs, Florida, and then two more Cambria hotels by Choice. It’s their upscale hotel. Those are in Louisville, Kentucky, and Sarasota, Florida. We have (Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Springfield) under construction, and that’ll be open in December.
SBJ: What about your plans for a boutique hotel in downtown Springfield under the Moxy brand? Are you still doing that?
O’Reilly: Yes. We’re working on the plans for that. We have so many other projects going, that we kind of have it in the queue, ready to start when the time is right for our company. We have plans almost finished. We’ll have everything worked out with Marriott. We’re going to definitely start construction within the next six months. We’re focusing on the Omaha project, getting that open, and once that happens, that will free up some time and effort by some of our folks.
SBJ: What’s the worst business advice you’ve ever received?
O’Reilly: To this day, I just cringe when I hear it, and that is, “It’s just business.” It’s not just business. It’s people, it’s people’s lives, their livelihoods and their families and their income.
SBJ interviews the owner of David Potter Agency Inc.
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