Howard Feiertag, hospitality and tourism management icon, longstanding faculty member, and namesake of the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business, passed away March 3.
Feiertag’s esteemed career included over six decades of professional and academic experience in meetings and convention bureau management, hotel operations, food and beverage, and hotel marketing and sales.
“For over three decades, Howard Feiertag was instrumental in advancing Virginia Tech’s world-class hospitality and tourism management educational ecosystem,” said Roberta “Robin” Russell, interim dean of the Pamplin College of Business. “Howard was an extraordinary industry leader, educator, mentor, philanthropist, and champion for all hospitality professionals. His enduring impact will be felt by generations to come.”
Feiertag was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of 10 children. A World War II and Korean War veteran, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University. His hospitality career kicked off when he was recruited by the chamber of commerce in Charlotte as the city’s first convention bureau manager. He would go on to become the first city convention bureau manager in Orlando.
A short time later, Feiertag became director of sales for a real estate company with hotel holdings in Charlotte. He went on to become director of sales for Roanoke-based American Motor Inns, Inc., and serve in leadership roles, including senior vice president for operations, at Servico, a hotel management company in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Feiertag was recruited to join the Virginia Tech faculty in 1989, and he taught courses in hospitality sales and meeting management. In pursuit of academic excellence, he brought coursework to life by fostering connections among students, faculty, and industry professionals. He was committed to delivering student experiential learning opportunities and integrating hospitality and tourism experts into the classroom.
For nearly 30 years, Feiertag partnered with hotels throughout the commonwealth to provide students with direct experience in new business prospecting. Integrated within hotel operations for multiple days, students received coaching from hotel employees and used real-life leads to engage with potential clients.
Feiertag’s commitment to academic excellence will continue to be felt through his philanthropy. In recognition of a generous contribution by Feiertag, the hospitality and tourism management department was renamed the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2018.