Hospitality rep shares advice, opportunities

Former Coug says Pullman taught him cooperation, broadened his worldview



President and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association and WSU alumni, Anthony Anton, talks about the importance of the hospitality industry and what it means to be a Coug on Tuesday in Murrow Hall.


“‘What the heck does the hospitality association do?’ is what most of my old friends ask when they run into me,” said Anthony Anton, the CEO and president of the Washington Hospitality Association and WSU alumnus.

Anton met with students on campus from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday to speak about the WHA and opportunities for students after graduation.

He said the WHA helps small businesses to survive and grow in the Washington economy.

“We do for restaurants and hotels, what AAA does for drivers,” Anton said. “We basically help them survive and do good business and be great community partners.”

Anton spoke about how the organization helps to disseminate information and educate business owners about new laws and restrictions passed by Washington legislators.

“A lot of our members don’t have HR directors or training directors, so they turn to us to help them out,” Anton said.

He said the WHA provides various programs and training to help employees do their jobs better and in a safe manner.

The WHA runs an advisory network for small business owners to speak with an industry expert who can assist them with questions regarding legal issues, HR problems and real estate problems.

“Call me old-fashioned but I still believe in the American Dream and working in hospitality does it every day,” Anton said.

Anton said his days as a WSU student shaped his life and career.

“Pullman taught me how to get along with so many different people and how to get outside my own world,” he said.

People need a degree to be employed, Anton said, but the ability to learn and to work with everyone is way more important in the workplace. 

“Take advantage of the fact that this is a really friendly community and the fact that you’re all going through the same struggles,” he said. “Try and get along with as many logical people as you can and that will be as valuable as your degree.”

Anton said communication is important not only in the business industry but to build and grow relationships with people around you.

“Most of the problems we have is lack of communication, the fact that we don’t talk to each other we naturally assume the other person isn’t agreeing with the same thing,” he said.

Anton’s main advice to students is to practice building and working with a team. He said that will be more important in the future than the GPA a student achieves.