Fifth-generation Smiley Family members and SUNY New Paltz alumni Tom Smiley ’09g (Business) and Eric Gullickson ’00 (Journalism) have been appointed to leadership roles at Mohonk Mountain House. This change in leadership was prompted by Bert Smiley’s retirement in June, after 28 years as president and CEO.
Gullickson has been appointed as president and Tom Smiley has been appointed as chief executive officer.
In their respective roles, Gullickson and Tom Smiley will share equal authority over management decisions. The two have a combined tenure in management at Mohonk of more than 25 years.
“My family has owned and operated the property since 1869,” said Tom Smiley. “Every few years, I’ve seen a slight or significant change in my responsibilities and I’ve been able to learn the business from the inside.”
Gullickson joined the Mohonk management team in 2010 as the director of hotel operations after a decade-long career in journalism and public relations, that included work at SUNY New Paltz as director of media relations. He was promoted to general manager in 2014 at Mohonk and appointed vice president in 2016.
For the last eight years, Smiley, who joined Mohonk’s management in 2003, has served as director of properties and he was appointed vice president in 2016.
Given Mohonk’s proximity to and relationship with the College, Smiley has kept close ties to SUNY New Paltz. He joined the Business Advisory Council in 2014, where he now serves as vice chair. He has been involved with the Business Plan Contest and has often returned to campus to meet with students and share his unique professional experience.
“I enrolled in the MBA program as a nontraditional student,” said Smiley. “I was married with a child, working full-time and had 10 years of management experience behind me. My prior knowledge helped inform my learning and those complementary experiences allowed me to quickly identify areas of personal growth and areas that would allow my staff to grow. I saw a direct shift in my abilities as a manager and as a leader.”
Smiley grew up in Montana but moved to the Hudson Valley 15 years ago to work at Mohonk Mountain House, a National Historic Landmark resort and Historic Hotel of America that provides year-round recreation.
“I love being at Mohonk because I’m always supported to do what’s right for Mohonk long-term and for our staff,” said Smiley. “We take a long-range view at everything we do to ensure that we are making the right decisions. It’s one of the things I appreciate most about working for my family.”