CONTACT: Jean Hertzman, 575-646-4786, jhertzma
Amy Miller, a graduate of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at New Mexico State University and 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry, has been named general manager of the new hotel being built on NMSU property.
As general manager, Miller, a 1996 graduate of NMSU’s HRTM program, will oversee operations of the four-story, 126-unit Courtyard by Marriott on East University Avenue, west of the Las Cruces Convention Center, when it opens next year.
“I am beyond excited to be the new general manager for the Courtyard by Marriott in Las Cruces,” Miller said. “I have more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, most recently with 10 years of Marriott experience and 10 years’ experience as an area manager-certified trainer.”
Construction on the much-anticipated hotel project began in October 2017 after more than 14 years of discussions and planning. Once completed, the hotel will double as a hands-on learning environment for HTRM students and create an additional revenue stream for the university.
Miller, a native of Las Cruces, is part of the Albuquerque-based hotel-management company Total Management Systems, which entered into a partnership with NMSU to develop and manage the hotel and help teach the next generation of hospitality leaders.
“The Courtyard at NMSU is an important addition to the TMS portfolio, and I am thrilled to establish a strong relationship with HRTM faculty and students,” Miller said. “In addition to partnering our hotels as internship hotels, I am very eager to teach various HRTM classes alongside TMS executives and general managers. I am overjoyed at being part of the positive growth and impact that will result from our strong alliance.”
NMSU’s partnership with TMS began taking shape in the classroom this semester, HRTM Director Jean Hertzman said. In September, TMS executives began giving regularly scheduled lectures in HRTM hotel operations classes, a component of the partnership that’s bringing “the real world into classrooms,” Hertzman said.
In September, Dallas Bligh, vice president of operations at TMS, spoke to NMSU Professor Betsy Stringam’s hotel sales and revenue management class, giving students advice on how to become a successful manager. Other lecturers included TMS President Prakash Sundaram. The lectures and internship opportunities at the hotel, which will be ongoing for the duration of the NMSU-TMS partnership, are meant to prepare students for management careers in the hotel industry.
Miller said the hotel’s student interns will learn all aspects of managing a hotel.
“They’re going to get to experience every part of the hotel,” she said, “and they’re going to be able to see what goes on behind closed doors and how we take care of our guests.”
TMS also plans to recruit HRTM students for jobs and internships at its other hotel properties in New Mexico, Hertzman said.
Students interested in internships will be able to learn about the opportunities early next semester when HRTM hosts its Annual Hospitality Career Fair in February 2019, Hertzman said.
Meanwhile, Miller said construction on the hotel is on schedule and could be finished as early as March 2019. “This will be the nicest hotel in Las Cruces,” she said. “It’s a great location, right off the interstate, and our customers will get to experience a full-service venue in one of Marriott’s top brands.”