ICHM was fortunate to have Paul Town on campus on 19th March, with the graduate’s presentation ranging from casino operations to startups.
Graduate Paul Town was a student of ICHM’s third intake in January 1994.
The New Zealander says he was very keen on hotels and hospitality, and his intensive research into schools in his home country and then Australia led him to ICHM, which to his mind offered the best curriculum, faculty - and futures.
‘By the time I left ICHM I felt prepared, and the college has been a fantastic association for me, right through to the present day.’
It seems Paul’s network, network, network! instinct instilled at ICHM is still very much in play. His partners in two startup ventures are ICHM graduates Sarah Morin (nee Chung) and Richard Lawson and past culinary lecturer Tom Milligan.
Paul’s last placement while at ICHM was at the Langham Hilton, London, where he stayed for two years, finishing up as Night Manager.
Back in Australia he joined Crown in Melbourne, where he spent three years as Rooms Division Manager at Crown Promenade. A move to Macau followed, where he stayed for eight years, firstly as General Manager for the pre-opening of Crown Macau and then into integrated resorts, working as Vice President Hotel Operations for Crown and Crown’s City of Dreams. He then joined Galaxy, the most successful gaming operation in the world.
On his return to Australia and Melbourne ‘as a lifestyle destination’, he decided to branch out in a completely different direction with two startups: XOXO, a handcrafted ice-cream concept, to be marketed throughout Asia; and Seco Sparkling, a low-sugar soft drink of four different flavours.
‘When I was a student of ICHM we didn’t talk about casino properties. But it’s now a very different world. The key upside is the larger scale, and therefore greater ability to budget and access resources. The downside that some perceive that the prestige of the GM role in casino world is not quite the same as for a hotel. With eight other VPs lined up next to you you’re a big fish, but not as big as in a stand-alone property’, he says.
Paul says the skills he learnt at ICHM continue to hold him in good stead in the startup world, including understanding brand value, Human Resources and Food & Beverage quality.
With an increased number of graduates becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own businesses, ICHM was fortunate to have such a successful role model on campus.