SEATTLE – Burl Battersby got sidetracked into success.
He wanted to be a teacher. One day when he was working at an Arizona hotel, the food and beverage director came over. Instead of studying to become a teacher, the director said, why don’t you take hotel management courses? If you do, the hotel will pay for your classes.
That was nearly 20 years ago. Battersby stayed in the hotel business. He moved around, got promoted.
He eventually became director of banquets at the Westin St. Francis in Seattle and is now director of Six Sigma (a quality management strategy) at the Sheraton Seattle.
He also enrolled in Washington State University’s online degree program.
“Having a degree from a renowned institution like WSU carries more gravitas than a degree from a lesser-known university,” he said. “The instruction has been world-class, and my interactions with fellow students have been phenomenal.”
But Battersby isn’t studying hotel management. Or even business. He’s finishing a humanities degree with a minor in Asian history.
Battersby will graduate from WSU Online this spring and plans to join the online EMBA program.
The EMBA will help him in his profession. Not coincidentally, it’s also the next step toward a Ph.D. And he’ll need that Ph.D. when he finally becomes a college professor.
Battersby already is warming up for his new life as an educator. He earned his Teaching English as a Second Language certification and is leading twice-weekly English courses for associates in the Sheraton Seattle cafeteria.
“We have a lot of associates from China and the Philippines and many wanted to email relatives,” he said. “Now we do Facebook, or QQ in China. So they’re learning both English and basic computer skills.
“It’s a lot of fun to see the joy on their faces when they receive their first email or find a family member they haven’t seen in years.”