By Elizabeth Holland
Two of Colorado State University’s hospitality management alumni are featured in Hotel Management’s “30 under 30” and one in NOCO’s Top 30 under 30 articles; Brandan Alcorn, Noelle Johnston and Taylor Strope.
Brandan Alcorn was born and raised in Fort Collins and has known he wanted to work in the hotel industry since he was ten years old. After leaving the state to attend high school in Minnesota, he returned home to enroll in the Hospitality Management Program at CSU after realizing how much he missed Fort Collins. Alcorn’s passion for hotel management stems from both his grandmother, who was an executive assistant for Master Host International in the 1960s and convention manager at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, as well as the draw he felt towards the hotels his family would stay in as they traveled when he was young. Since graduating from the Hospitality Management Program at CSU, he has become the Complex Sales Manager for two franchised Marriott Hotels in Denver, and is responsible for soliciting, negotiating, selling, and contracting all market group rooms for a combined 285 rooms!
“There are so many advantages to working at hotels, whether it’s meeting new people every day, being in a diverse workplace, travel benefits, exciting work environment, and the enormous gratification you get from making guests happy,” said Alcorn. “I can’t name a better feeling in the world than making a guest’s day better or just making them smile. As for my specific job, it’s high paced and the entire selling process is a thrill from the prospecting, negotiating, and then closing.”
Noelle Johnston was born and raised in Loveland, and started her career working at the Embassy Suites located there. While Johnston was working, she noticed the close relationship between the hotel and CSU’s Hospitality Management Program. Many of her fellow co-workers were students within the Hospitality Management Program and had great things to say about attending CSU. Seeing her co-workers go through the program and then go on to further their careers within hospitality management inspired her to make the leap herself, and she began what seemed like a natural next step in her career. Today, Johnston is the front office manager at the Hilton Fort Collins! She enjoys the training and development of her team and setting the standard for exceptional service.
“Although there are plenty of obstacles day-to-day, meeting those challenges head-on and getting valuable experience in her field is what makes the job fun!” said Johnston.
Taylor Strope is a Fort Collins native who always planned on attending CSU in the hopes of realizing her dream of opening her own restaurant. However, after beginning her journey in hospitality management and gaining real world experience in the restaurant industry, she gained a better insight into her field and changed her focus to event planning. Both programs are a part of the Hospitality Management Program here at CSU, and she was able to easily transition from one to the other. After graduation, Strope was able to put her talent and passion to work, starting her own event planning business called Mountainside Events. She started small, originally taking local jobs alongside her work at a community venue, and in a few short years has been able to grow Mountainside Events into a full-time business, celebrating their 5-year anniversary this March.
“I love the creative process and the challenges that come from meeting (and exceeding) client expectations,” said Strope. “When my clients ask, ‘Can we make this happen?’ I am there to make sure the job gets done.”