Oliver Pimley graduated in 2019 with an MS in Hospitality Industry Studies from the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality. He is currently the Front of House Manager for 111 W 57th St., an ultra-luxury condominium managed by Douglas Elliman.
What has your journey been like after graduating from NYU?
My journey after NYU and during the Covid pandemic has taken some interesting and fulfilling twists. Upon graduating, my part-time work at the 600-room Wellington Hotel became a full-time Assistant Manager position. From there I moved to the Empire Hotel by Lincoln Center, which closed a month later due to Covid. During the pandemic, I started my own company that provided online English language training to Chinese students, and moderated finance seminars for bankers around the world. In June of 2020, I became the front of house manager for 111 W. 57th St., an ultra-luxury property managed by Douglas Elliman, and the skinniest residential condominium in the world.
Can you talk about your current role at 111 W. 57th St.?
As front of house manager and lead concierge for 111 W 57th St., I train and manage a staff of 14 employees who manage the building’s physical plant, data systems, and security so that the building, residents, and their guests are safe and well looked after. Many people and many pieces of property cross the threshold each day, and we ensure that they all get to the right place and have what they need.
Training the staff is a combination of technical skills combined with situational awareness and social tact (understanding what to say and what not to say and what to have ready). Everyone must be prepared to properly assess and handle the many different situations that arise each day, and to provide the “back of the house” (engineers, onsite property managers, etc.) with the information that they need to do their jobs.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
My day runs from 7:00am-3:00pm, and occasionally later if there is a new trainee or staff shortage. The beginning of the day consists of debriefing the overnight team (condition of the building systems; delivery issues, resident issues, etc.) and creating a schedule of events for the day. By 10am, I brief the management team on front of house issues, and then the day is a combination of directing movement of property and service personnel, interacting with residents, communicating with various security teams, vendors, FDNY, NYPD, and others that may enter the building.
What are you passionate about in the work that you do?
I’m passionate about working hard, taking care of people and providing a great customer service experience, which is why hospitality is the industry for me. Also, as a former high school English teacher, I pride myself on clearly and methodically teaching efficient skills and modeling good behavior. I’m fortunate to be able to combine these two passions of teaching and customer service in my current position.
In what ways has your NYU experience had an impact on your career and shaped who you are today?
The Master’s program at NYU gave me a credential that stands out in any job search, and which kept me employed even during the pandemic. At NYU I learned a solid set of skills which allowed me to pivot successfully to different opportunities, and NYU provided me with a network of industry professionals and experts that I will use throughout my career.
What career advice would you give NYU students?
Get experience, get credentials, and network, network, network!! Students should get as much practical experience as possible. Whether it is an internship or a part-time job, this experience will help them to more fully understand the theories that they are learning and will prepare them to search and find permanent jobs after graduation. They should get credentialed whenever there is an opportunity (especially when an employer will pay for it). This can be the FDNY S-95 certificate, becoming a notary, being certified as an ESL instructor, CPR, etc. Lifelong learning and skills are important. Finally, keep in touch with co-workers, fellow alums, professors, presenters, recruiters, etc. You never know where the next opportunity will arise, and staying in touch ensures that you will get the call.