Remembering Bert Bennett

MY FATHER, BERT BENNETT – by Graham Bennett

As with most children, your image of your father is of a father, not in his accomplishments in business and community.  As I am reminded reading again his obituary, he started early as a leader in high school, throughout his distinguished career at UNC as President of the Student Body and Chair of the Honor Council, and during his Navy career as Captain of an LST ship landing at Normandy.  Returning home to start a long and successful career at Quality Oil Company while establishing himself in statewide politics, mentoring such leaders as Governor Terry Sanford and Governor Jim Hunt.  Even as an adult who witnesses these accomplishments, it is still overwhelming to know my father leaves such a legacy.

The measure of a man is indeed the legacy he leaves behind for his children and his friends that he influenced over the many years.

His friends have reminded me of his “measure” – as we reflected on his good life.  So here are some of the values he leaves behind that we will cherish:

Humble man – he never saw his accomplishments with ego or conceit, only as good work for a good cause.

Charismatic leader– people loved being around him.  He motivated people to do their best and to enjoy the process.  He was the type of man you met for the first time and never forgot.

Empathetic – he had the ability to genuinely connect to all walks of life and was never judgmental.  He understood and sympathized with the less fortunate and believed in their worth.  He had the innate ability to feel and connect with people.

Genuine – no bull, he said what he thought without prejudice, ego, or anger.  He was comfortable in his own skin and spoke with great effectiveness with very few words.

Future man – never dwelled on the past but was always looking ahead and embraced mistakes as a learning lesson.

Work ethic – you were put on this earth to do good.  He believed in “Doing what you say.”  Nothing wins more than hard work.

Humor – never too serious not to see the lighter side.

Adventurous – explore life – He always encouraged us to try anything; the only way to find out what you enjoy.  A lover of the outdoors, his philosophy was to just do it.  Not sure he knew what a helicopter parent was.

Honest dealings – his signature all his life with family, friends, business, and politics –in every situation.

Disciplined – certainly in the practical sense, but more importantly in integrity and character.

Loyalty – his friends and family can testify of his deep abiding loyalty through good and bad times.

Lastly, Generosity – a pure generous giver.  Always giving without fanfare.  Through compassion versus recognition.  So often did I hear, “He helped me when I needed it the most.”

His 97 years of honest, caring, and charismatic living will be our guidepost for generations to come. What a legacy to leave behind.

Indeed the “Measure” of a great man, but an even greater father.  A father to 8 children, 17 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.

Pillar Kitchen Gets a Throwback Speakeasy Theme

From Moonshine Stills to Al Capone, Pillar Kitchen now has a nostalgic feel.

Pillar Kitchen, located inside our Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Asheville, NC, received  Prohibition Era style decor.  The wall that now divides a private dining room from the main eating area has a large mural featuring photos reminiscent of the 1920’s and 30’s, including Al Capone himself.  Prohibition was a time when there was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages.  This lead to the illegal manufacturing and sale of liquor (known as bootlegging), along with the operation of “speakeasies” (stores or nightclubs selling alcohol), and the independent production of liquor in private homes (known as moonshine).  This decor gives our customers a fun throwback feeling.  But don’t worry, it’s a lot easier to get a table for some delicious food or a great cocktail than it was at a speakeasy back in the day.  No secret doors or passwords needed for entry here!

Hampton Inn Christiansburg’s GM Named Brand Ambassador

Kayla Orr – General Manager of Hampton Inn Christiansburg/Blacksburg

Hamptonality is contagious! Congratulations to Kayla Orr on becoming a certified Ambassador in March.  For Kayla “Hamponality is… making memories. We do not sell rooms, we make memories.”  She invites others to unleash their strengths.  She says, “The more you know about yourself the more you can lean on your own strengths.  It’s an amazing honor to be chosen from over 2,000 potential candidates.  Not only must the Hotel be in the top 25% of its brand, but each GM must be personally invited to apply.  There have been only 60 Ambassadors added since 2014.  All Hampton Inn Brand Ambassadors are required to attend Ambassador U.  Ambassador U is an exciting program that lets our most vibrant personalities spread their Hampton know-how, dedication, and spirit.  It’s a custom learning experience designed to build passionate Brand Ambassadors equipped with the tools, training, and structure needed to “pay it forward” and inspire personalities to shine.  The Ambassador U program is not a one-time experience,  it’s an ongoing commitment to leadership development and inspiring others.  As long as our Ambassador U alumni are with the brand, they continue to serve as leaders and coaches for their peers.  Once an Ambassador, always an Ambassador.  Kayla will unleash her Hamptonality with her staff and deliver memorable guest experiences.

Since 1929, We Are Quality

Quality Oil takes one of our core values, “To be better today than yesterday,” to a whole new level with the renovation of our corporate office. While we continuously update our Quality Marts, Quality Plus, GOGAS, and hotels to meet the needs and desires of our customers, the update of our corporate headquarters had not taken place since the 1960’s. The office remodel came as a major project, but with good reasoning and a community driven purpose. Our overall sense of community, as a company, lies in each department and each individual team member. The renovation of this space allows for a renewed sense of pride and dedication to making our company the best at what we do, throughout each division and service we offer.

Construction took about 5 months to complete, before members of our office staff could be relocated to their new work spaces. A modern spin on the furniture and design of the space allow for an open floor plan, increasing the team oriented atmosphere. Graphics enhance the space behind the front desk and the main conference room, which showcase the legacy and history of Quality Oil’s rich heritage. Finishing touches are still be adding, including artwork and greenery, however, the life and energy of the space is ultimately brought by each employee and the commitment they express!