When Tim Walker came to Normandale in 1985, he arrived with a pretty full plate. Along with his classes in Normandale’s Hospitality program, Walker was working at Embassy Suites (owned by Promus Company at the time) and as a volunteer firefighter.
Promus had recommended that he and some of his co-workers enroll in Normandale’s Hospitality program.
The combination of class work and Normandale’s friendly, capable instructors soon convinced Walker that a career in the hospitality industry was the path for him.
“The instructor I remember is Barney Klecker,” said Walker. “He took ownership in me and got me excited about the business and industry. The education I received at Normandale was fantastic and it really helped me move up through Embassy Suites.”
After graduating from Normandale, Walker was promoted to assistant general manager, and it wasn’t long before he moved up to general manager.
During the next several years, Walker moved around the country as he received promotions with the company. In 1996, Walker took a job with Island Hospitality (which at the time was called Innkeeper Hospitality). He continued to earn promotions and rise through the ranks to become president, and eventually bought the company. The company currently owns 84 hotels in 26 different states and does $380 million worth of business annually.
Walker considers himself a hands-on worker and somebody who has seized the opportunities that have been given to him throughout his career. He considers Normandale one of the primary opportunities that got him started on his successful career path.
“I was promoted immediately after I was done with the Hospitality program at Normandale,” said Walker. “Normandale gave me a great education and a lot of hands-on experience. I valued my experience there, because I worked hard, they gave me a lot of opportunities; and that eventually helped me get started on the road to where I am now.”