Keith Brings 30 Years of Experience to Guide Company’s Largest Resort
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions has named Arthur Keith as general manager for the company’s Pocono Mountains resort. A hospitality veteran who has managed marquee properties throughout the world, Keith will oversee all day-to-day operations, as well as provide leadership and guidance to the Poconos on-site management team, while serving as liaison to the regional Poconos community. Keith assumed the position on Dec. 13, 2018.
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“Arthur Keith is a hospitality industry titan with great skill in leading teams to growth and success while never compromising on guest experience. Our company is strengthened by the addition of Arthur to the Kalahari family,” said Todd Nelson, owner, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions.
Keith brings more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry to his role. He holds the distinction of having been general manager at several of the largest hotels in the world, including Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville and Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower and The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
In 2005, Keith was named General Manager of the Year for all U.S. hotels by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. In 2018 he received the Excellence Award for Leadership from Viad, the parent company of his former employer, GES.
Keith holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University andis a graduate of theInternational Coaching Federation certification program. He is the father of two, and in 2012 he co-founded the I AM Worthy Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization committed to elevating women who have overcome abuse, addictions and human trafficking.
Opened in 2015, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, boasts nearly 1,000 guest rooms; America’s Largest Indoor Waterpark, with a true 220,000 square feet of attractions; a 100,000-square-foot family entertainment center; a 100,000-square-foot convention center, which will double in size later this year; 12 restaurants; a seasonal outdoor pool; Spa Kalahari and Salon and more. The property sees more than 1 million visitors annually to the location.
Arthur Keith knows humble beginnings. He was born in Elmira, NY, to the son of a minister, a former country bumpkin who conquered every odd to become the city’s first Black police officer. Pushing on to become a professor, his dad left him an invaluable legacy: “to always see and push the possibilities.” Perhaps Keith, president and GM of Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas, was destined to lead. After all, Elmira had produced the great Ernie Davis, the first Black Heisman Trophy winner.
A graduate of Cornell University, where he played football, Keith made a decision to switch (early on) his major from economics to hotel management/administration. This major housed under Cornell’s premier School of Hotel Administration, which Keith refers to as a business/management curriculum with manners, focused on hotel and casino case studies with culinary emphasis. This decision was a turning point in his life. A career that began as a prep cook has spiraled Keith into a leader who re-shapes hotels to top tiers. Prior to the Stratosphere Keith was senior VP and GM for the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN. Every year during his tenure, Opryland was ranked as one of the world’s best facilities and received numerous awards. Keith was given the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s General Manager of the Year award in 2006.
“There are tremendous lessons to be learned from the crossovers of what you learn in sports to what you learn in the business world,” voices Keith. “You can pull together or pull apart like teams.” He goes on to emphasize, “Great coaches or teachers really mean a lot in the business world — it’s about the team.”
Keith’s duties at Stratosphere, operated by American Casino & Entertainment Properties (ACEP), include overseeing day-to-day operations as well as developing opportunities for improving the Stratosphere experience. Keith believes he is like a Duracell battery; he keeps on going and believes in continuous improvements. He applies this strategy to the Stratosphere. He views Las Vegas as a MECCA of Creativity and innovation. Every three to five years, a property comes along that kicks it up a notch. Existing properties always have to remain extremely competitive. One way that Keith keeps the Stratosphere on its toes is by building great teams. He admires the book, Good to Great, (author Jim Collins) and stresses, “What separates good companies from great ones is how great a team they build. It’s all about maximizing talent.” His advice to individuals wanting to get into the industry, “Go out and get the best education.” Then combine that with a wide variety of work experiences. Understanding those job experiences and what they entail will help grow leaders. He advises, “Seek out leadership positions. Learn how to compromise.”
Keith’s passion is “getting people to see the possibilities.” Negative people are his biggest peeve. In business especially, you have to see the “turn around opportunity.” Keith follows the creed: Think Big; Act Small; Fail Fast (if you’re not failing, you’re not growing); and Teach. To him teaching is never an individual endeavor. This proud father has passed his “possibilities” legacy down to his daughter, Alijandra and son, Austin. His daughter is a freshman at Vassar and participates in horse polo. Sixteen-year-old Arthur has set his sights on MIT to prepare for a career in Technology. His missing only one problem on the SAT section indicates that he’ll make it!
Keith sits on the boards of the National Coalition of Black Meetings Planners (NCBMP) and the Nevada Hotel Lodging Association. He loves wining, dining and is interested in anything dealing with food and design. He chuckles about his favorite channels being the Food Network and HGTV. Though, this takes nothing away from him being an avid sports enthusiast. The combination of legacy, education, sports, food, design, and leadership have brought Keith to where he is today. Sitting on top at the Stratosphere and always seeing more possibilities. Keith can be reached at (702) 210-3403.
Arthur Keith, senior vice president and general manager for Gaylord Opryland Resort, has been named outstanding general manager of the year by the American Hotel and Lodging Association. AH&LA also honored Gaylord Opryland with awards for guest relations and good "earthkeeping."
This is the second consecutive year that the award for outstanding general manager has been awarded to a Gaylord employee. John Caparella, current COO of Gaylord Hotels and former senior vice president and general manager of Gaylord Palms Resort, received the award last year.
Source: Nashville Post