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Keeping guests smiling has become a calling for Martin LeGay

MERRIMACK — In the demanding field of hospitality and hotel management, it takes a patient individual to keep customers and guests smiling. 

Martin LeGay, 39, of Merrimack, knows first hand the grueling obstacles that must be overcome to thrive in a fast-paced, tough industry. 

Starting out washing dishes in a Massachusetts restaurant, LeGay has worked his way up the hospitality chain and is now the director of operations for RGH Hospitality, an arm of Roedel Companies in Wilton. 

He currently has full accountability for the success and profitability of seven hotel properties housed in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Florida. 

LeGay's career jump-started when he was previously hired as the executive chef of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua, where he worked for about a decade before starting his position with Roedel Companies. 

During that time, LeGay was selected as the 2005 and 2011 Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation, Professional Chefs of New Hampshire. 

Food and cooking have influenced his life profoundly, according to LeGay. 

"Both have taught me that things change and you must be adaptable," he said. "They have made me creative with a 'think outside the box' approach."

His leadership qualities have helped LeGay flourish as a career professional whose energetic management style continues to exceed expectations, according to Glenn Hardman, president of RGH Hospitality. He described LeGay as a man with a warm smile and an engaging personality.

"Martin exemplifies team culture and serves as a role model to all his peers and his managers. Martin's ambition and drive is not only a benefit to our company but spills over to his dedication to and support of local communities," said Hardman. 

LeGay is an active volunteer in southern New Hampshire as a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Nashua, a member of the Nashua Community College Culinary Arts Advisory Board and an advisory member of the Nashua High School Culinary and Hospitality Board. 

According to LeGay, the biggest professional challenge for him is finding enough time in the day to complete all of his necessary tasks. 

As he begins each day or each new challenge, LeGay said he tries to focus on making a difference and adding value to not only his life, but especially the lives of others. That, said LeGay, is how he stays motivated and successful.

LeGay is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University and lives in Merrimack with his wife and daughter. In 2010, he was named the corporate citizen of the year by the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter.

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