Niagara Gazette

Opinion

January 19, 2013

GLYNN: Top hotelier launched 50-year career in the Falls

Niagara Gazette — Paul Verciglio has been looking after other peoples' needs and comforts for more than 50 years so, understandably, he relishes the thought of having some time for himself.

"My first job was as a teenaged bus boy at Hotel Niagara," Verciglio, 66, said as he approached his retirement next month as the general manager of the posh Park Hyatt Toronto, his current assignment in a 24-year career with the international hotel chain.

Today, the Niagara Falls native is one of the most respected executives in the hospitality industry in the U.S. and Canada. "It takes incredible business acumen, genuine mentoring, charisma and style to help a company like Hyatt to define its luxury hotel brand and Paul has done just that over the years with us," said Rakesh Sarna, chief operating office of the Hyatt Hotels Corp.

Any hotelier with decades of experience has a treasure-trove of memories.

"I can still remember taking room service to Robert Kennedy in the mid-1960s," Verciglio said, alluding to RFK's stay at Hotel Niagara during his successful cross-state campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Kenneth Keating, R-NY.

Over the years, especially with the high-profile hotel in Toronto, Verciglio would be host to foreign dignitaries, film festival stars and famous entertainers, plus countless government officials, convention delegates and sports celebrities. No matter their station in life, with Verciglio at the helm, they always received the same treatment: first class.

The expression "giving back" is often over-used by people who don't always adhere to that lofty pursuit. But Verciglio has been a staunch believer as evidenced by his years of assisting the tourism and hospitality programs at Niagara University, Niagara County Community College, and the George Brown College in Toronto. Through his efforts, Hyatt has hired a substantial number of NU graduates since the early 1980s.

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