Life’s a Beach for Kyle Highberg
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
When the beach beckons, it’s pretty tough not to answer.
In May of 2016, Kyle Highberg accepted a position as General Manager at the Courtyard Marriot in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, just a few months prior to earning his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Bellevue University.
Highberg, who graduated from Papillion-LaVista High School just down the road from the University, had a long career in the Omaha hotel industry before pulling up stakes for some beachfront property.
“When it came down to it… I wanted to be warm and near a beach!” Highberg said. “I grew up in Omaha. I operated a strong hotel in downtown (Residence Inn in Omaha) and it was such a great experience for me. The decision to leave came with some very bittersweet feelings, and I will always have a place in my heart for Omaha.”
Highberg, who completed his degree in August 2016, manages the hotel that features 144 rooms and direct access to the beach and boardwalk. As General Manager, he holds a number of responsibilities.
“My job entails a very proactive and consistent approach to managing and leading the efforts behind (1) Revenue Generation, (2) Guest Satisfaction, (3) Profit Delivery to Owners, (4) Brand Accountability – or how effective the hotel operates as a Marriott, and (5) Ensuring Associate Engagement shows strong performance and growth,” he said. “The thing I enjoy the most is running a successful business – especially training our team members as well as being financially savvy to deliver great results.”
“Everything I do has been relatable to the classes I’ve taken. Human Resources, Legal Environments of Business, DOL standards, Marketing, Forecasting, Writing Reports, Communicating with Higher Level VPs, they’ve all been very useful,” Highberg said. “Thing is, I have become much better at my field of work due to the degree earned, that I’ve been able to be promoted and given further tasks that lead toward further success. I think, at the end of the day, I’ve gone from a good manager to a great leader due to this learning.”
A military brat, Highberg bounced around a bit in his youth, but spent much of his formative years in the Omaha area and was familiar with Bellevue University when he decided it was time to earn his bachelor’s degree.
“Knowing I could complete many of my classes online was a huge determining factor in choosing Bellevue. After my first two classes, I was hooked on the learning,” he said. “The professors in the program are very sharp teachers and made it easy for me to relate my field of work into the business models they were teaching.”
Highberg gave special mention to Professor Emeritus Dr. Judd Patton.
“I got hooked on the program in Dr. Patton’s economics classes, but they were all fantastic,” he said. “The classes were all very interesting. While some were ‘drier’ than others, they all served a great purpose for me.”
Highberg’s family provided motivation and inspiration during his studies and his career.
“I think there were many times I felt like giving up. Real learning for real life still takes commitment!” he said. “But I wanted to make sure my kids knew the value of a good education. And my wife knew it would lead to enrichment for us both financially and even culturally.
“Bellevue University definitely enhanced my life in ways I didn’t think possible when I first began. I went into it very combative, having had 10 or so years in the workforce. It was really a ‘what can they possibly teach me’ mentality. As I continued classes, I was definitely challenged to expand out of my comfort zones and do some real learning. There are many out there that would be on the fence about going back to school or starting a degree. I would tell them it has led to success for me. And I do attribute much of that success to my education. In that regard…do it!”