5 questions with Ripton Melhado

05/23/2013 7:07 AM

08/08/2014 10:17 AM

Some people stay with one employer their entire career.

Ripton Melhado can do one better than that.

He started with Hyatt as an intern in college and has never left the company.

“It’s a great company,” said Melhado, the new general manager of the Hyatt Regency Wichita.

The Jamaica native moved to Atlanta for college and got a degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism administration and a minor in business.

“I really had been enamored with the company from a freshman on campus,” Melhado said. He said he was struck with Hyatt representatives who visited campus.

“They just had an edge … that I felt was above and beyond any other company.”

Next month, he’ll celebrate 24 years with the company.

Most recently, Melhado was senior director of rooms for the Hyatt Regency Dallas.

Former Hyatt Regency Wichita general manager Stephen Stewart now is general manager at the Hyatt in Columbus, Ohio.

“Stephen has done a phenomenal job at the (Wichita) property and in representing our company throughout the community,” Melhado said. “I see myself continuing the work that he started and his predecessor before him.”

Wichita is the sixth city Melhado has moved to for Hyatt and this is the 10th hotel in the chain that he’s worked for. He and his wife, Trisha, have two children.

Q. 1 Do you miss Jamaica?

A. You know, living on an island is a little bit different than vacationing on an island. … Most Jamaicans don’t live on the beach. But, yeah, I miss it because it’s home. But for us home is wherever we make it.

Q. 2 What’s your impression of Wichita?

A. I really like the pace of the community. I like the fact that people are so friendly, especially in the business community. Everybody has really gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable and welcomed.

We’re looking forward to the four seasons. … One good thing about Wichita, too, is the location and the proximity to Colorado because I’m an avid alpine skier. (Melhado takes a long pause.) Waited for a bobsled joke.

Q. 3 Nope, not going to go there.

A. OK, good, everybody’s over that.

Q. 4 Hyatt seems to move its employees around a lot. Isn’t that difficult?

A. I like new challenges. … I still continue to enjoy moving and new experiences. For me, it doesn’t bother me, and I think perhaps if it had I wouldn’t be here now.

Q. 5 What’s one thing few people know about you?

A. In high school, I was a military cadet for my entire high school experience, and so as a result, I always have very shined, clean shoes. … Most people always mention how shined my shoes are, and that’s just from having to spit shine so many.

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