Tying In With TAJ–10 Minutes with TAJ Hospitality Management COO Greg Tankersley
We caught up with Greg Tankersley this week to learn a little more about TAJ’s Chief Operating Officer and his first two months on the job. After 25 years in hotel operations and sales, Greg is just as in love with the business today as he was when he started. Greg describes himself as a die-hard Christian here by the grace of God, and a country boy at heart. We think you’ll enjoy his interview and will discover a dynamic, passionate and unique leader.
TAJ: Greg, tell us about your hometown—where did you grow up?
Greg: [My hometown is] Cincinnati, Ohio and I last visited 10 years ago. I was the middle child of five kids with a single mother. My mom was an incredible woman. She was 22 years old and I was 2 years old when my dad left, and she raised and supported us all.
TAJ: What was the first job you ever had?
Greg: When I was 13 years old I got a job as the DJ at the skating rink. I DJ’d for the Saturday morning Kiddie Skate. My older brothers worked there, so that helped get me the job. I was too young to be a floor guard, so I got the DJ booth. From there, I continued DJing through college for parties, radio shows, nightclubs, riverboat cruises. I even held the record for one of the largest audiences at a waterpark where we had 5,000 kids show up. My DJ name was Greg Masters—that’s my alter ego and my wife hasn’t seen him DJ! [Greg laughs]. We still have my DJ equipment, including about 10,000 CDs. My wife won’t let me get rid of it. Love music.
TAJ: What’s something on your bucket list? Do you have a bucket list?!
Greg: Oh wow. [Pausing]. I have been blessed and done so many crazy things. Drove through Zion National Park. Have crossed the country three or four times in a convertible. Boated, bungee jumped, jumped out of planes. Would love to skydive again with Jackson [Greg’s son]. When I jumped out of a plane the first time, I am pretty sure the people on the ground could hear me scream. It’d be great to go with Jackson and do that again.
TAJ: Tell us what gets you up each morning.
Greg: This business—each day is never the same, so I look forward to it. If I get right up within five minutes, the energy kicks straight in.
TAJ: What’s the best advice you ever got?
Greg: I have been given some great advice over the years. Probably the best is, if it doesn’t contribute to your health, wealth, or happiness, cut it out. Cut it loose.
TAJ: If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Greg: Don’t do what Greg does! Ha. I have made every mistake you can make and can tell you what not to do!
TAJ: How do you view your role in your current job?
Greg: I am doing what I love. Head cheerleader. Head coach. It’s all about taking the team and pointing them in a direction. Providing the expectation, tools and training to get there.
TAJ: What has been your favorite experience so far with TAJ Hospitality Management?
Greg: Seeing where [TAJ’s founder] Henry [Patel] was 40 years ago, where it all started. And now seeing the team go into place, and the vision that comes out of this. Seeing what can be done in such a short amount time [the past couple years] for Prem and TAJ. Seeing [employees’] eyes light up when they see that there is a higher purpose to all this.
TAJ: Why TAJ Hospitality Management? What got you to come out here to Lubbock?
Greg: Henry—the vision, the foundation [for TAJ]. TAJ has both vision and foundation, whereas a lot of companies have only one or the other. When we [Greg and his wife Heather] were looking at job options and joining TAJ, Henry sat down with my family and really felt strongly about making sure any decision we collectively made took into account the best interests of my baby girls. I knew right then what my decision was going to be, and I hadn’t even talked with Heather yet. I believe Henry wants to have that connection with all of us [employees]…There’s also a good balance within the company—unique perspectives, speeds at which we work, skills. All of us need the team.