Trine grad promoted to president of Triumph Hospitality

March 07, 2024

Katie SchultzA Trine University graduate has been named president of Triumph Hospitality, based in Tennessee.

Katie (Hurst) Schultz graduated in 2011 with a degree in hospitality management. She has worked for Triumph since 2017.

“The move to president was a natural transition, since all of the key team members already knew me,” she said. “I am now more involved in the day-to-day operations and have a closer working relationship with our general managers and owners. My primary goal is to implement processes that will increase our efficiency and control expenses while also increasing sales and boosting customer satisfaction scores.”

Engineering not the right fit

Schultz was originally attracted to Trine for its engineering programs, hoping to become a civil engineer. She toured the campus and fell in love with the accessibility of walking throughout campus, the feeling of being at home and the beautiful brick buildings.

As her first year at Trine was coming to an end, Schultz decided engineering was not the right career for her.

She reflected, “I ultimately decided that hospitality was the best fit based on my passions and skills.”

Katie Schultz and grandma
Katie Schultz says her grandmother played a huge role in her love for planning and entertaining. Schultz was recently named president of Triumph Hospitality in Tennessee.
“My grandmother played a huge role in my love for planning and entertaining. She taught me how to set a proper table, which I still enjoy doing every holiday. She shared recipes with me and showed me how to make others welcome in your home. She dreamed with me about the future bed and breakfast I would own. This foundation helped me become the party planner of my friend group and I thought becoming an event planner was a natural career path, hence the hospitality major.”

During her time at Trine, Schultz completed an internship in her hometown that solidified her career path.

“I had the privilege of working as a Sales Coordinator at The Boulevard Inn & Bistro, the premier hotel in St. Joseph, Michigan,” she said. “I saw firsthand how each department works together to make the hotel operate smoothly. I was offered a position to come back and work full-time after graduation. I gladly accepted the role and worked there for about a year and a half.”

On to Tennessee

As much as Schultz loved the Boulevard, she wanted to experience a new city.

"I took a weekend trip to Nashville, Tennessee, with a friend and fell in love with the city,” she said. “We went out to explore the town and came back to our hotel around 2 a.m. where I instantly started looking for jobs. Country music, delicious BBQ, warmer weather, southern accents; what's not to love?”

She secured a job as a sales manager at the Radisson Hotel in that city, growing in her knowledge of the sales process.

“I learned how to hunt for business and set yourself apart from the competition,” she said. “I stayed with Radisson for three years and the team there became my family. I met my husband, we got married, we bought our first house and had our daughter all during my time there.”

Triumph HospitalityAfter her maternity leave, she decided to look for a new opportunity and became director of sales position at a Holiday Inn Express owned by Triumph Hospitality. She eventually worked her way up to vice president of sales for the company before being named to her current position.

Founded in 2008, Triumph is a management, development and hotel ownership company that is one of the fastest-growing leaders in the hospitality industry.

The company’s portfolio of hotels has grown from four hotels to 10 currently open and five more in development.

“Triumph Hospitality has grown so much since I joined the team. I have been honored to be a part of building this company and watching our team develop,” she said. “We just opened the Motif on Music Row hotel in Nashville, which was a huge milestone. I sat in on my first development meeting for this boutique hotel in 2017 and have been a part of designing the hotel, building the brand and hiring the entire team. Those experiences are what keep me with this company; the ability to look at a beautiful hotel and say I had a hand in it!”

While she enjoyed hospitality classes at Trine, the ones she finds most beneficial today are accounting, marketing and technical writing. As a student, she was able to get hands-on experience working in Career Services.

“I had no idea that planning resume writing workshops and helping students apply for jobs would prepare me for the candidate reviews and interviews that I now do on a regular basis,” she said.

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