Close this search box.

PYSK: Mike Kelly, Director of Operations, The Tiger Hotel

Job description:
I’m responsible for operations of The Tiger Hotel, Glenn’s Café, The Vault, The Velvet Cupcake, The Industry and May Contain Nuts.

Years lived in Columbia/mid-Missouri:
40-plus years

Original hometown:
I was born in Waco, Texas, but I call Fulton home — from birth to third grade, I was an Air Force brat, as my dad was a B-52 aircraft commander, so we traveled around the U.S.

Why I’m passionate about my job:
Each day brings new challenges and opportunities. I enjoy working with the staff to meet all our daily requirements and then to ensure we are taking care of our guests, conference planners and conference attendees. You need to have a deep passion in this business, and it’s rewarding to help our guests with any request.

What people should know about this profession:
Be nice to the front desk staff. They can solve most problems or issues you may have and exceed your expectations. They can’t help you if you don’t say anything until you check out.

A favorite recent project:
Accepting a new opportunity to help build the various business operations at The Tiger Hotel.


Professional background:
I’ve been in the service industry for over 45 years, since I was a 14-year-old janitor at St. Peters Catholic School in Fulton. Then I went on to fast food jobs before joining the U.S. Navy. After the Navy, I was in copier repair service and private cable operations management, then I went to hotel administration — from New Orleans to Key West and finally back to Columbia.

If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would:
I would get bored laying on a beach somewhere after about a week. I imagine I would still be working in a service industry business. I find that it’s fun, it’s challenging, and I enjoy working one-on-one with people to meet their needs.

Community involvement:
City of Columbia, Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board member; City of Columbia, TIF Commission; Columbia Hospitality Association board member and vice president; Missouri Hotel & Lodging Association board member and vice president; Missouri Restaurant Association allied member; American Hotel & Lodging Association member; Missouri Chamber of Commerce member; Columbia Chamber of Commerce member; Missouri Travel Council member; Mid-Missouri Tourism Council member.

Favorite place in Columbia:
I enjoy the downtown environment, and I love our parks and recreation areas throughout the city, especially the trails.

MBA, University of Phoenix; Navy Supply Officer School, Athens, Georgia; Bachelor of Science, Columbia College; Fulton High School; Columbia hospitality administrator, highest level under AHLA; Columbia tourism ambassador.

Janet, my wife of more than 20 years, and three children: one located in Joplin; one in the Navy, currently stationed in Japan; and one in Nashville. Also two grandchildren and two dogs. I come from a family of eight kids.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of:
Being a U.S. Navy commander and an Eagle Scout.


Most people don’t know that I:
Learned to fly an airplane at 16. I soloed after six hours of instruction and then did a small solo VFR cross-country trip, to the Lake of the Ozarks and back, successfully.

What I do for fun:
Hobby farming. My wife and I have some acreage with an orchard area, blackberries, elderberries and more than 50 chickens.

A Columbia businessperson I admire and why:
I divide this up into two categories. The first is government, and the first person is Mike Matthes — what a challenge to come into this town and work with a variety of groups to build a stronger city. I admire his ability to work between the different interests. I have worked with him over the years and we haven’t always agreed on issues, but I respect him and look forward to continuing that relationship. Second is Dan Atwill — I’ve known Dan since early 1990s and admire his ability to work through all the various groups and interests and grow Boone County into a successful business environment. The second category is in business, and both of these individuals helped vitalize downtown Columbia, which helps all businesses: Glyn Laverick, for working with the city to bring back a historic hotel and for bringing Glenn’s Café back with the original sign; Dave Parmley, again for working with the city to build a new hotel downtown, which helps to vitalize the entire city.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Don’t miss the most interesting places to go, events to attend, restaurants to try, and ideas for living the best COMO lifestyle.

Popular Stories