Joe Hession, Founder of SNOW Operating, 2011 SAMMY Winner
Where you were in your career when you won a SAMMY, and big moments since?
I was the GM at Mountain Creek, N.J. One of the biggest moments of my career was deciding to leave the resort I called home for 16 years to found SNOW Operating. It's crazy to think that SNOW Operating is about to turn five years old with 38 resort partners. It's been a fun ride, but it's far shadowed by marrying our industry darling, Halley O'Brien. ;)
Best Day/Worst Day/Most Memorable in the business?
The best day is working with the resorts' teams and getting inspired by their innovation and creativity to drive results.
The worst days are when weather doesn't cooperate and we don't have enough snow to get the job done. Luckily, it looks like we won't have to deal with that issue this season—TBL is fully built at every resort partner.
Who was/is a memorable mentor?
I have been so lucky to work with so many amazing people. Charles Blier, Brian Fairbank, and Michael Berry, to name a few. But if I have to pick one, it would be Frank DeBerry. Frank taught me a lot about the business and life. But most importantly, he taught me that great leadership can change lives and that this business is really about the people—those we work with and the guests we serve.
Did you ever almost leave the industry, and why? Why did you stay?
I did. I almost left to sell lighting and toilets online. Frank talked me out of it. Thank you again, Frank!
If you could work in another industry doing something completely different, what would it be?
Software development. Ever since we started SnowCloud™, I have been amazed about the opportunities and potential out there. Luckily, I still get to do this in the snow business.
When was the last time you actually purchased a lift ticket?
I bought an Epic Pass a few years back at SIA. Seriously, it's an amazing deal. The way it breaks down over time, I still don't feel like I've purchased a lift ticket.
How many days do you go without washing your ski / snowboard socks?
I try to stay with only one day, but it's hard when I'm on the road traveling.
What's the last thing you searched in Google?
Road conditions on I-70. They're shot, in case you are wondering.
Starwood Hotels. (And the points. I love the points.)
Where do you keep your SAMMY Award?
On my desk.
Thoughts on the future?
I think we have a lot to do to shift our thinking about how we market, sell, and fulfill our product of skiing and snowboarding. We have some exciting years on the horizon and I'm looking forward to being a part of it all.