Teacher “Stuff” Spotlight: Cary Countryman

Written by: 
Alyssa Walhood~Multimedia Journalist

Dr. Cary Countryman returned to BYU-Hawaii this semester to teach in the Hospitality and Tourism Department. Along with his family of four, Countryman said coming back to the North Shore is “the closest to feeling like home because of the friends we have here, and being a part of the university.”

Countryman grew up in the small town of Snohomish, Wash. “My family owns and operates a bed and breakfast. That’s how I got into the hospitality and tourism industry. My father is a graphic artist so we have our own studio where we do logos, marketing, visitor’s guides. We have an art gallery and print shop that my mother runs. I kind of grew up with the whole entrepreneurship and business stuff because of all the businesses,” he said.

He earned his associate’s degree from Everett Community College in educational administration before attending Washington State University for his bachelor’s in public administration pre-law. Countryman intended on going to law school but decided to stay and teach at Washington State while earning his MBA. He taught at the College of Eastern Utah “to make sure [he] really wanted to be a professor” and then received his PhD from Purdue. Dr. Countryman is teaching Operations Management, Facilities Management, Human Resources Management and the capstone course for the HTM Department.

Wood Badge Certificate

“That is my Wood badge certificate. That’s the highest training in scouting. I’ve continued to serve in scouting and when I arrived back [in Hawaii] I was part of the staff for the Wood badge course in the Aloha Council and I serve currently as the council camping chair. I’m still pretty active in scouting. I’m an eagle scout with a silver palm and I’ve been active in scouting ever since cub scouting. As an adult, it’s about serving the youth and getting your training done.”

Family Photo

“I have two amazing children. Taylor is actually serving a mission right now in Japan in the Tokyo South Mission. He hopes to return here in June and wants to study computer science here. My daughter is the smart one in the family, a junior at Kahuku, but taking college classes. She’s taking Chem 105 here and she’s the top of her class as a junior in high school so she’s doing well. She plays the violin with the chamber orchestra. I have a beautiful and talented wife so I’ve been blessed in that regard. We were actually acquaintances in high school. She joined the Church in high school but we were just acquaintances. We went out separate ways. I went on a mission and she went to school. Then she went on a mission. She asked my mother to be her escort through the temple actually. We wrote each other on our missions and after our missions we got together. The rest is history! I do tell people she fell for a man in uniform because I was the program director of a Boy Scout camp and she would come visit me. On the weekends I would leave camp and we would have our dates. She fell for a Boy Scout uniform.

Disneyland Mickey Ears

“I have the standard set of ears and I have the 50th set. I went to Disneyland. Disney is the epitome of success in the hospitality and tourism field. It’s always a good example to bring up in class because they always seem to do everything really well. They’ve mastered the art of hospitality and tourism.”

Leather bound books

“That’s one of the wonderful gifts we get from the First Presidency since we as teachers indirectly work for the Church. At Christmas the First Presidency gives their employees gifts. We got the triple, the Bible, Jesus the Christ, and Hymns during my four years here. I’ve always kept them in the office and when I don’t get my scripture reading done at home I catch up here.”

Dessert Motel framed photo

“In regards to marketing and advertising, and even in regards to students to check their spelling, there’s an ad in the newspaper here my mother framed and gave to me because desert was spelled wrong. It’s always a good reminder to spellcheck my work. Maybe they meant to be the Dessert Hotel, but given the picture I think it was supposed to be Desert Hotel.”

Chinese embroidered hat

“At the University of Houston with the Conrad and Hilton College of Hotel management. We worked with a number of groups in China and I taught a number of the workshops and they gave me this hat as a gift along with a tapestry and a book.”

Best Paper/research awards

“My area of research for my dissertation was in atmospherics, so the design of hotel lobbies. I researched the influence on consumer behavior, how we can design hotel lobbies that are well-designed by the customer’s standpoint but also the employee’s standpoint. I researched the designing of lobbies that are laid out correctly with colors and furnishings so that it conveys the right message. The more proper term instead of atmospherics would be ‘service-scapes,’ how we create the settings in which service takes place. I’m one of the leading researchers in this field. There aren’t a lot of us because it really requires a lot of fields, architecture, consumer behavior, psychology, the influence of colors, even music and noise, uniforms, all those things that go together to create this service. That’s what my dissertation was on and I turned it into a paper that was presented at this conference. I basically developed a scale to evaluate hotel lobbies.

When I was a graduate student at Purdue, I did a paper on Japanese travelers and why they pick certain destinations. I won a couple awards for my research which I’m particularly proud of. These are both pretty significant groups and I was pretty surprised to win both of them.”