We interviewed Nick Woolen, who is the Director of Engineering at the Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Nashville. This hotel has been a part of the Nashville skyline for 31 years and will be a part of the anticipated Fifth and Broadway project.
DES: What does your role entail at the Renaissance, and how long have you been in this position?
Nick Woolen: As the director of Engineering, my role entails prolonging the asset life. This is not only the building but all the assets contained within its walls. In addition, I am responsible for all the facility maintenance, life safety systems and operating as efficiently as possible when it comes to utilities. I have been in my current role here at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel for a little over a year but have close to 20 years’ experience in this role. I love my job because I truly enjoy solving problems, whether they are equipment-, system- or process-related.
DES: I’m sure Nashville has changed a lot since you began your career in the hospitality industry. What have been the most notable changes to the culture of downtown?
Nick Woolen: I spent roughly eight years in the Nashville area from 1998 to 2006, and then I returned last year. The city has changed tremendously since I left and came back. Country music has always been the draw to downtown, but now Nashville has so much more to offer. Businesses are moving to Nashville and thriving. The number and quality of restaurants continue to amaze me. The number of attractions and venues has also grown leaps and bounds. Housing has exploded. To sum it all up, Nashville is where you can work, eat, sleep and play.
DES: And, how do you expect the city to change in the next 10 years?
Nick Woolen: I wish I knew the answer to that. Based on the number of cranes around the city, I think we will continue to see growth over the next several years.
DES: What sets the Renaissance apart compared to other hotel options in downtown Nashville?
Nick Woolen: Our people or, as we call ourselves, “Ambassadors.” All hotels are about putting heads in beds. The incredible service our staff provides our guests, as well as our décor and style, is unique. It is what differentiate us from other hotels. Renaissance Nashville employees live life to discover new things and then share our discoveries with our guests, so they can do the same.
DES: Is there anything upcoming at the hotel that we should know about?
Nick Woolen: We recently completed a renovation of our meeting space that used to be part of the Nashville Convention Center. In addition, our lobby, restaurant and meeting space in the hotel are currently under renovation and are expected to be completed in late January of 2019. Last, we have additional meeting space being built as part of the Fifth and Broadway project.
In addition to his work as director of engineering at the Renaissance, Nick Woolen represents and serves as a voice for Metro DES’ private business customers on our board. He has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and uses it to evaluate and look for opportunities to reduce the financial impact of operations, which in turn reduce the cost to customers.