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RTP hotel manager teaches legacy of hard work

Posted February 4, 2011
Updated February 11, 2011

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— 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."

RTP hotel manager teaches legacy of hard work RTP hotel manager teaches legacy of hard work

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.

8 Comments

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  • Scare Crow Feb 4, 4:02 p.m.

    What a great story....gotta print this one!!

  • Pseudonym Feb 4, 3:57 p.m.

    Good for Mr. Hunter, and he should be rewarded. It's too bad, however, that architecturally the RTP Radisson is one of the ugliest buildings on the East Coast.

  • 2323 Feb 4, 3:32 p.m.

    Good for Mr. Hunter, so nice to read GOOD news for a change. Sounds like a well-deserved award, congrats.

  • gmuny33 Feb 4, 3:16 p.m.

    awheywego2, you are such the krej, I know and read exactly what you mean. The other 11 months of the year, we have to deal with those like you, no, 12 months a year, we have to deal with those like you. You take the purest of compassion and honesty out of story and twist it for your narrow minded thoughts, but in his article, he said he has dealt with racism,and looking at your slick words, he and others like him, are still dealing with those like you.

  • gmuny33 Feb 4, 3:12 p.m.

    I am a former employee of Mr. Hunter. He gave me a chance of working the hours I needed in college, while making sure I concentrated on my studies. Many of my coworkers I worked with back then, 1992-1994 are still friends and speak highly of him to this day. He was tough on us, but it instilled so much more than just work ethic, but resilience in society was what I kept with me the most. I knew immediately, that the person would be Ron Hunter, just from the title alone. This is one of the original RTP hotels, long before the days of the major campuses that are here now, and he is still going strong. His loyalty to staff, patrons, and community is what he stood for.Thank you Mr. Hunter, and what you received was well overdue, but always on time.

  • rklitespeed Feb 4, 2:51 p.m.

    He is an inspiration just reading his story gives me inspiration.
    Sounds like a wonderful man.

  • tarheeldude Feb 4, 2:45 p.m.

    A tremendous gentleman with unparalleled compassion for others---he instills such pride in his employees and treats every guest as if you were the most special person his hotel had ever served---congratulations to you, Ron Hunter! You are the best----and you are living the legacy!

  • john283594 Feb 4, 1:56 p.m.

    Job well done sir!