Todd Felsen is the new vice president and general manager of Cheyenne Mountain Resort, a 316-room hotel and conference center that includes an 18-hole Pete Dye Golf Course and 40,000 square feet of meeting space.

He takes the reins from former manager Laura Neumann, who recently retired.

Felsen took some time recently to talk with the CSBJ.

How did you come to work in the hospitality industry?

I began my career in the hospitality industry when I was a teenager working as a bellman after school. I enjoyed the fact that I got to meet people and my work and good customer service was recognized by guests.

Why did you want the job at Cheyenne Mountain Resort?

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My family and I have visited Colorado Springs every summer for the past seven years and we have been captivated by its natural beauty and the friendliness of people here. During my visit, I had the opportunity to visit the resort for brunch and a round of golf. I observed that the staff was extremely friendly and the resort had a very welcoming ambiance that was inviting and not pretentious.

When the opportunity presented itself, I felt that it was a fantastic fit and opportunity given the vast range of services and activities the property already offers and given my background. We could only grow together and take the resort to the next level.

What experience do you bring to the position?

I have been extremely fortunate to have managed world-class golf resorts in the U.S. mainland, in Hawaii and in the Caribbean, properties such as the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Ritz Carlton Hotels and the Claremont Resort and Spa, to name a few. I bring a diverse, solid and thorough background in management, service and more importantly, a passion for empowering and motivating my team. I believe that my associates are my best asset and that it takes an entire team to run an efficient property. I therefore believe and enjoy getting to know my team members, learning about their families and thereby creating a genuine bond which allows us to work very closely. A family that in turn creates a first-class experience at all levels for our guests and members from the moment they walk into the resort.

What is your vision for the resort? Any changes on the horizon?

My vision is simple, I want Cheyenne Mountain to be a place where all local residents can relax, have great food and beverage in a relaxing atmosphere. I want our members to have great experiences every day they visit the Resort, whether it would be a hole in one, a tennis win, or a great wine dinner hosted by Dan Duckhorn, of Duckhorn Vineyards. There will be something for everyone.

As far as change, you can look for more options for our members, more events at the resort for the local community and further upgrades to the resort.

What opportunities does the Colorado Springs hospitality market offer? What challenges?

The state has 300 days of sunshine, so we should be noted as a year-round destination, Colorado Springs is a great place to train for amateur sports such cycling and running and all the other great sports we have here.

Our destination attractions such as Pike Peak, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Olympic training center, as well as the Garden of the Gods, set us apart from the rest of the U.S. not to mention our beautiful hiking trails, white water rafting and sweeping vistas.

We will continually work with our partners such as the convention and visitors bureau, the Economic Development Corp. and the chamber of commerce to continually promote our destination and to bring business and tourists to our beautiful city.