Hospitality and tourism management instructor Howard Feiertag joined Virginia Tech in 1989. He had been recruited to his new job from Servico, a hotel management company in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he had been a senior vice president for operations.
It was only going to be for a few years, he thought, of his teaching job at Virginia Tech. That was more than 28 years ago.
“This year, Howard is 89 years young. He gets up every day, works out, and comes to work in his cashmere jackets and with his positive attitude,” says Nancy Gard McGehee, head of the highly ranked Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the Pamplin College of Business.
On Nov. 2, Feiertag will be honored for his lifetime contributions to hospitality education and practice, at a gala in metro Washington D.C., where 200 alumni, students, faculty, and hospitality industry leaders are expected to gather.
Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, will serve as emcee of the event at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, which will also recognize student scholarship award winners.
The department is ranked No. 2 in the nation and No. 6 worldwide. It recently relocated its master’s program to Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, where McGehee says it is experiencing considerable success. “It’s only our second year in D.C., and we have more than 30 students from nearly every continent in the world,” she says.
“In many ways, Howard is the embodiment of our program — a business focus, attitude of hospitality and service, and excellence in everything we do,” says McGehee. “He has had an impact on thousands of folks in the business and continues to influence and mentor students.”
Feiertag, who holds certifications as a meeting professional, hospitality marketing executive, and hotel administrator, teaches meetings and sales courses.
His numerous honors include Fellow of the Institute of Certified Travel Agents, Exhibit Industry Council Hall of Fame member, Lifetime Achievement Award of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, Virginia Society of Association Executive Career Services Award, Fellow of the American Hotel and Motel Association’s Educational Institute, and Virginia Tech’s Outreach Award.
Feiertag has been writing a monthly column for Hotel Management magazine for more than 30 years and is co-author of “Lessons from the Field — A Common Sense Approach to Effective Hotel Sales.”
Feiertag earned a bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University.