the corporate reigns
making a name
for self at Galt House
daughter passes test
in guiding the multi-million renovation of hotel
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 2005) Mary Moseley sits in
a plush, purple lounge chair above Fourth Street, peering out the window
of the 21/2-story glass-roof Conservatory that connects the Galt House
Hotel & Suites twin towers in downtown Louisville. It is here where
she often sneaks away from her 18th floor office to indulge her sweet
tooth by nibbling on a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie and soaking
up the almost tropical atmosphere.
by Don Ward
Moseley has directed
the $60 million renovation
of the Galt House Hotel & Suites in Louisville. She
poses with her new
Gallop to Glory
tribute to jockeys.
The Conservatory is really the centerpiece and the
part of the renovation that we get the most comments about, said
Moseley, 55. Isnt it wonderful in here?
Employees and customers warmly greet her as they pass by. Some even
stop to express their congratulations and compliments on the newly renovated
Galt House, a $60 million project that is still under way.
Moseley takes it all in, fondly reminiscing about the hotels history
and the place where she has spent much of her life toiling as a teenager
and adult for her father, the late Al J. Schneider, who built the place
in the early 1970s.
Schneider, who also built the Executive Inn and Executive West hotels
near the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center, is credited with the
foresight of locating a hotel on the Ohio River. At that time, the area
was surrounded by industry and a train track running along the riverfront.
There were no restaurants, museums or theaters lining the neighboring
boulevards; no interstate highway or trolleys carrying shoppers to nearby
stores and art galleries.
Today, the Galt House sits in the heart of downtown Louisvilles
revived cultural and entertainment center. And the twin towers of the
Galt House remain as the only downtown hotel on the river. Whats
more, the Galt House sits at the north end of Fourth Street, which itself
has become an active thoroughfare for tourists and residents alike who
migrate there to dine and shop at the newly opened Fourth Street Live!
and along nearby streets.
Just prior to his death in May 2001 at age 86, Schneider began preparing
Moseley to carry on the day-to-day management of the family business,
Al J. Schneider Co., as its president. The third of six children, she
has inherited the day-to day operation of the 1,300-room hotel, which
still ranks as Louisvilles largest. The Galt House also boasts
150,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, with the citys
largest ballroom seating 2,000 people, and dozens of business offices
located in an adjacent tower facing Main Street.
by Don Ward
Moseley poses beside the aviary inside
the Conservatory, a glass-roof pedway
connecting the towers.
About 18 months before he died, he called us all
together and said, Mary is going to take the lead, Moseley
recalled. He told me the names of several people who would help
me along the way.
Three of her four 50-something sisters plus two nephews sit on a board
and they meet weekly to discuss the renovation and operations (one sister
is deceased and her brother is not involved because of his health).
If wasnt until after Dad died that we could ever go forward
with a renovation like this because Dad thought everything looked just
fine the way it was, Moseley said. Even after he became
ill, we didnt want to go forward out of respect for him. He was
very conservative and very practical. But we felt that it was outdated,
and we knew we had to do something. Today, people like a little more
And with several new hotels opening nearby plus renovations of existing
ones in progress, the sisters knew they had to either sell out or renovate
to keep up with the changing tastes of todays tourists and business
travelers. This meant larger suites, more amenities and a brighter,
cheerier, more contemporary atmosphere.
They chose to renovate and retain ownership of their fathers signature
hotel. It was nearly a year after Schneiders death before the
project officially got started.
And at forefront is Moseley, a former schoolteacher and admitted homebody
who loves gardening but now has suddenly found herself thrust into the
limelight of the corporate business world. According to business associates,
she has had no trouble adjusting to her new role. And she would make
her father proud, said Linda Hubbuch, whose husband, Glenn, was a close
associate of Al Schneider. Glenn Hubbuchs father, the late Cornelius
Hubbuch, had been a close friend of Schneiders. Together, the
two had decorated the original Galt House Hotel.
As a result, Hubbuch & Co. was hired as the interior
designers for the renovation project. Glenn conceived and designed the
signature Conservatory, which straddles Fourth Street between the twin
hotel towers and features a deli named after Al Schneiders late
wife, Thelma, who died in 1995, and bar affectionately named Al
Js. The bar itself is a novelty, with its tropical fish
tank running the length of the bar and its expansive, open-air glass
ceiling high above the passageway. The Conservatory also features a
Just working with her was delightful, said Linda Hubbuch,
who did the interior design for the suites. Shes such a
nice person and did a wonderful job, considering all the pressure and
tight budgets she had to meet. She had a good business sense of what
had to be done, and she saw it through.
Since taking over, Moseley has joined two important boards that
of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Louisville
Main Street Association. She has impressed both groups with her insight
and business savvy, officials said.
Jim Wood, executive director of the Louisville CVB, said, As representative
for the Galt House ownership group, Mary has really stepped up to the
plate, and it has shown in the renovation, the increased occupancy rate
and the financial commitment they have put into it. Its a great
example of putting your money where your mouth is. It just shows the
familys firm commitment to making Louisvilles downtown a
Main Streets director, Carol Hensley, added, Were
all very proud that shes a board member; shes a wonderful
person and obviously very intelligent and successful. And the Galt House
renovation has been such a great addition to Main Street.
Moseley, meanwhile, would be the first to admit that she had plenty
Though the Schneider sisters Christe Coe, Dawn Hitron, Nancy
OHearn and Moseley comprise the Galt Houses
management group, Moseley has leaned on many of her fathers associates
and confidants to guide the hotels reincarnation as a first-class
One is Russell McClure, a former business associate of
her fathers who still handles the companys insurance as
president of The Cauttrell Agency Inc. He says he is impressed with
Moseleys handling of what would be a challenging mission for any
Al Schneider was the type of guy who never wrote anything down;
he just had a natural feel for doing things. He was a hands-on administrator
with only an eighth-grade education who did not delegate anything until
he had established trust with the person. He was a bit rough around
the edges, but I came to know him as a sort of father figure,
Mary, on the other hand, has the kind of people skills that make
people like her. She is bold and intelligent and highly educated, and
Im very proud of her. She has taken the Galt House in a new direction.
With the East Tower renovation completed last spring and 600 rooms still
to be renovated in the West Tower, Moseley is far from through with
the renovation. She also plans to add a rooftop garden that will connect
the office tower to the Club 360 Fitness Center, which recently opened
atop the East Tower.
Its a great feeling of accomplishment to see the results
of our work come to pass, Moseley said. Its still
very challenging, but Ive had a lot of moral support from my friends
Perhaps her most prized addition is the recently added permanent display
outside the East Tower called Gallop to Glory, a tribute
to Kentucky Derby jockeys featuring their handprints etched in cement.
She already has 15 handprints of the 30 living jockeys in stone, including
that of Ron Turcotte, who rode famed Secretariat to glory.
Inside the Galt House East, she has renovated The Tavern on the mezzanine
level and turned it into another tribute to jockeys, calling it the
Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar, and moving the 118-brand bourbon collection
there from its former location in the D Marie Lounge atop the
West Tower. It is decorated with horse racing memorabilia.
I wanted to do something for the jockeys and create something
that would tie the Galt House to Churchill Downs and the Derby,
Moseley has more ideas but is moving cautiously and slowly toward the
projects completion. She has even left some of the dark red colors
in some areas of the renovated halls as a lasting memory of her father.
Dad loved red; he was a carpenter by trade, and he loved the dark,
red woods. So we tried to honor that.
Moseley is often asked what she thinks her father would say if he could
see his Galt House today. She radiates a smile but doesnt immediately
From the look on her face, she already knows.
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