Matthew Thompson, a maintenance supervisor at a La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham in Cary, N.C., is pursuing an upward course in the hotel industry even amid the pandemic. Thompson, who is a plumber and electrician by trade, says he was encouraged to head back to school to prepare for a management career by a former La Quinta executive impressed with his suggestion that they implement a preventive maintenance program. He described his path, his plan for a post-epidemic management career, and the role of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) Foundation in his education to LODGING, after speaking at a virtual After-Hours Cocktail event sponsored by Ecolab and Vesta Hospitality that raised $100,000 to support furloughed hospitality employees.

Thompson admits that some may find his focus on pursuing a hospitality career during a worldwide pandemic counterintuitive, but he believes the hospitality and tourism administration degree he is now working toward will position him for the future he wants after the industry, along with the rest of the world, recovers from the nightmarish scenario it is now experiencing.

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