Reggie Woolridge: Military discipline translates to hospitality success

Started as: Night Auditor

Currently: General Manager, Marriott Dallas-Fort Worth Westlake

“If you can help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” Over the past 27 years in hospitality, and the eight years before that in the United States Marine Corps, this quote by Zig Ziglar has been Reggie Woolridge’s guiding light. 

“The military, like hospitality, is a mixed bag,” says Reggie. “You must understand all walks of life to get people in line for a common purpose.”

Reggie first considered joining the military while playing trumpet in his middle school band. Loving the team dynamic and the travel, he joined The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) when he got to high school. While serving his country was the main priority, Reggie says he chose the Marines for their toughness and their beautiful dress blues. 

“One of my brothers was in the Army and the other was in the Marines,” says Reggie. “I was infatuated with their travel stories and uniforms.” 

Serving both in the United States and abroad, Reggie spent his time in logistics, helping troops get what they needed when they needed it. After nearly a decade in the service, Reggie made a move to the hospitality industry.

“It was all about leadership, structure, discipline, and logistics,” says Reggie. “Those learnings allowed me to adapt to the hospitality business easily because hospitality is all about getting things done.” 

Thanks to his military background, Reggie quickly moved up from his initial position as a night auditor, holding positions in major cities across California, including San Diego, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Pasadena. 

“I like making people smile,” says Reggie. “Hospitality is an absolute joy as I meet individuals from all walks of life and industries.” 

Currently, the general manager of Marriott Dallas-Fort Worth Westlake, Reggie spends his days leading daily meetings, conducting hotel tours, and connecting with clients. He even manages to take 30 minutes in the morning and evening each day to personally greet guests in the lobby. 

From building teams to connecting with guests, those who have served in the military often have the skills it takes to find success in hospitality. With over 100,000 open positions, the hotel industry is eager to hire former service members. Engineering, IT, and hotel management are just a few of the open positions that are directly parallel to military jobs, making hospitality a seamless fit for veterans. 

“Join us,” says Reggie. “It’s an exciting and rewarding industry.”