Forty Seven years ago Joe Morgan left the University of Southern Mississippi and began a career in hospitality. He had no industry training and little if any work experience that might have given some indication of his capabilities for this type work. Regardless, he convinced Earle Jones and Frank Peyton that he would work hard and be a positive force within a very young organization, Mississippi Management, Inc.
From that humble beginning, Joe was both unstoppable and unflappable. He rose through the ranks serving in every capacity imaginable within the MMI organization. He has led the organization’s operations for the vast majority of his career. I even had the pleasure of serving as one of his General Managers in the early 1980s. I suppose what I marvel most is his ability to understand and manage such a diverse, multi-generational workforce. He is an amazing manager of people.
By now you have likely guessed that something is up. And yes, Joe Morgan plans on retiring at the end of this year. Joe and I have discussed retirement for many years, but always at his insistence. He said that he wanted it to be his decision. Two years ago he said he was ready. He didn’t factor in the possibility that I might ask him to remain a bit longer, but gladly acquiesced to a longer tenure.
Though Joe will relinquish the majority of his responsibilities, I don’t think he is quite ready to go cold turkey. So we plan on utilizing him on a more limited basis with specific opportunities.
Going forward, operations will be divided between Scott Sledge and Micajah Sturdivant. With big shoes to fill, Scott will add all limited service hotels in Florida to his existing group with the Crowne Plaza and the King & Prince reporting to Micajah Sturdivant. Joe will maintain an association with the company overseeing special projects throughout 2011.