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Busick is a ‘natural born leader’ inspiring the best from The Elms staff

January 5, 2017 – Excelsior Springs native Eric Busick may no longer be at The Elms every day as acting general manager, but there is little doubt that his influence will remain long after his departure.

Busick isn’t leaving the Widewaters Hotels family, of which The Elms is part; he accepted a promotion to regional vice president within the company. His tenure as general manager of The Elms has been widely successful, as the hotel has gone from 80 employees to over 180, to meet the demands of a thriving hotel and spa.  

For those 185 employees at The Elms, Busick’s promotion is bittersweet. 

“We’re proud of him, but we hate to see him go,” said John Mormino.

Mormino replaced Busick as general manager at the beginning of the year. The two have worked together since 1998, when Busick began as a bartender, and Mormino as a bellhop. But Busick’s history with the hotel began long before he poured his first drink as an employee, Mormino explained. 

When Busick was young, the hotel had outdoor hot tubs, and neither he or his friends were aware that those hot tubs were visible from an area downstairs, from what was once a bar but is now part of the spa.  Because they thought they would be undetected from the hotel, Eric and his friends would sneak in to use those hot tubs. 

“They didn’t think anyone could see them, and they didn’t want to get their clothes wet, so they would get down to their underwear and just get in. It’s funny to think that he went from a kid, sneaking into the hot tubs in his underwear, to general manager, to regional vice president,” Mormino said.

Busick also has deeper ties to The Elms than just childhood hijinks. He met his wife, Chasity Galloway Busick, at The Elms, where she also worked. They later got married there, as well. The couple has three children, and recently built what Busick described as their “forever home” at her parents’ farm.

But even deeper than the roots Busick has at The Elms are the seeds he planted with his employees.

“We were taught to do what’s right for those we serve,” Mormino explained. “And so, who do we serve? Obviously, the guests. And we serve each other, as coworkers. There’s our ownership group, which invested over $20 million, and expect a return on that investment, so we serve them. But it was so important to Eric that we understand there was a fourth part to that, and that’s the community. We serve the community. He views The Elms as an extremely important part of Excelsior Springs, and so when he talked right about doing right by those we serve, he was talking about the community.”

As seriously as Busick takes serving others, he is, as Ryan Sprunhan, director of food and beverage, called him, “a natural-born leader.” Sprunhan began as a chef, but was promoted under Busick, who has a way of seeing the potential in his employees. 

“If it wasn’t for him, I would have never made the leap,” Sprunhan said. “He’s always able to get the most and the best out of everyone.”

Human Resources Manager Greg Haught has a similar story. 

“Eric took a leap of faith with me,” Haught said, referring to his current position. 

Haught started at The Elms in a part-time capacity, and although he had management experience, he had never worked in human resources before. Yet Busick saw something in him, as he did in so many other employees at The Elms. Busick has shaped the way Haught does his job, as well. 

“Eric is always determined to look at each case, at each person, based on merits and challenges, each one as an individual. He always does what’s best for the person. Through all of it, Eric has never lost his compassion for the human being, and that’s what I will always carry with me. Doing what’s best for the person.”

Lacee Mawby, catering sales manager, has worked with Busick since she was 15. 

“He raised a lot of us around here,” Mawby said. 

Like many others under Busick’s management, Mawby will take valuable lessons with her. 

“Eric taught me to approach everything with a servant’s heart,” Mawby said. “No matter what I’m doing. And to always do the right thing, even if it’s not what the rest of the world says is right. You have to push through, and do everything with integrity.”

They are lessons that Busick himself seems to live by.

The Elms won’t lack for strong leadership, however, as Mormino steps in to assume the role of general manager. 

“The transition is hard because we will miss Eric, but it would be even harder if not for John,” Haught said. 

Like Busick, Mormino is determined that The Elms will continue to serve its guests, its employees, its parent company, and, above all else, its community.

By Samantha Kilgore • kimeberely@leaderpress.com

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2 Responses to Busick is a ‘natural born leader’ inspiring the best from The Elms staff

  1. Connie Phelps Reply

    January 5, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    I am going to miss his smiles. I’ve known Eric for years and wish him all the best

  2. Cathryn Thomas Reply

    January 6, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Eric wishing you only the Best in Success and Happiness!!

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