Research Triangle Park, N.C. — A man who has worked his way up in the ranks of Triangle hotel workers says he views the hospitality industry as a way to help others better their lives.
Ron Hunter, general manager of the Radisson Hotel in Research Triangle Park, said he guides his life by a quotation from slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?"
Hunter sweats the small stuff at the Radisson, where he has been involved in every aspect of the operation over his 38-year career.
"The small stuff is what makes big things. It takes pennies to make a dollar," he said. "One of the adages my brother always told my kids was, 'Practice doesn't make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect.'"
Hunter started at the hotel as a waiter, and although his path to general manager wasn't always easy, he always found people who mentored him.
"I have experienced discrimination, but I also experienced people who felt like you could do (anything) and encouraged you to go on," he said. "There's been a balance there, and that allowed me to keep an eye on a beacon."
Hunter says he also sees a light in the people he hires to work at the hotel. Seventeen countries are represented on his staff.
Many employees call him their mentor. He tries to teach them his motto: Never give up on yourself.
"Anything I feel I have accomplished, I only hope encourages someone that they can overcome obstacles and still do what they dream," he said. "What I try to instill in young people is that even you don't get what you want, you're doing better today than you did yesterday. That's what you want to shoot for."
Hunter is known for shooting for the top and hitting the mark himself. Recently, Radisson Hotels and Resorts presented him with its top honor, the President's Award for Excellence.
"In this game, every day is a challenge," he said. "The only way you're the best is you have to be the best every day."
WRAL-TV celebrates Black History Month with Living the Legacy. This monthlong series spotlights the accomplishments of local individuals who are living the legacy of their ancestry and great African-American leaders.