Local Profile | Brian Olsen: Manager of The Lighthouse Inn at Aransas Bay, Family Man, Community Volunteer

Brian Shows Off His Show Jumping Skills at Castlewood
Horse Show in East Texas. He won the class!! 1973

Where and how did you grow up?

I was born on Long Island. The youngest of 3 children and the only boy. I grew up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey in a “white collar” suburban neighborhood. We lived 1 hour away from New York City where most of our relatives lived. On many Sundays after going to Church we would make the drive into “the city” to the Bronx to spend the afternoon at my Grandparents apartment to spend time with the family, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends. Visiting with family was very important to us all but we were the only ones living outside of New York. We spent summer vacations in upstate New York in the Adirondacks and at the Jersey shore. In high school with friends I would go up into the Watchung Mountains, in the next town, and watch the World Trade Center being built.

How did your upbringing affect what you do for a living?

I was brought up with a very strong school and work ethic. If I was sick as a child and had to stay home from school: 1- I had better be sick, 2- there was no TV, playtime and no going outside when your friends got home from school. It was the same for work with one difference, you simply didn’t miss work! I started working at a private Golf Country Club after school, weekend and summers (6 days a week) when I was 12. I started as a “bag boy” bringing out the member’s clubs. When they were finished playing, I would clean each club and bag and return them back to the bag room. I worked at that country club until just after I graduated from High School then followed my parents to Houston. They had moved in January of my senior year so I stayed with another family until my graduation. I started my hotel career as a front desk clerk in Houston in 1976. It must have been meant to be as I met the love of my life and my best friend MJ at that same hotel when she came to work there a few years later. We will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary this December.

What brought you to Rockport-Fulton (how does it differ from where you have lived previously)?

Brian with his son Charles & wife MJ

MJ being a native Texan and growing up in Brownsville received an invite, in 2002, for her upcoming High School reunion. It would be my first trip to “the Valley” and was excited to see the places and the beach where MJ grew up. We spent a few days on South Padre Island before the reunion weekend in Brownsville. Just after that trip we decided to try to move to the Texas Gulf Coast.

I was fortunate to become the Manager of The Lighthouse Inn at Aransas Bay in July 2004. We had moved back to Texas (Austin) in 2001 from Utah, where we had lived for 14 years. I had worked at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort for 7 years before being hired at a Hilton in Downtown Salt Lake City. My first Christmas back in Texas I was wearing a short sleeve shirt, shorts and flip flops while my friends in Utah were experiencing a blizzard. Prior to living in Utah I spent 12 years working for Sheraton Hotels. As I have said earlier I started my hotel career in Houston before moving to Jacksonville, FL., Steamboat Springs, CO., Palm Springs, CA. back to Steamboat Springs, CO. Denver then on to Sandy, UT. We really needed to be near the beach!

What are your passions?

While our son was growing up HE was my passion. He was very active in sports; baseball, basketball and the Snow Ski racing. I became a Ski Race Official so I could be up on the Ski Race hills to be closer to the action, our son and his team mates. As MJ says... he is our favorite son!

After moving to Rockport-Fulton I realized how important our community is. I also understand how important our Chamber is to the community, especially in my business. The first event I went to was the annual Chamber banquet. I joined the Bay Blazers, later becoming President for 2 years, joined the Chamber Board of Directors, later becoming Chairman of that board. For several years during that time MJ and I oversaw the activities in the community tent at Seafair. Rockport-Fulton has so much to offer to our tourist but more importantly our locals.

Thanks so much for sharing, Brian! What an impressive equestrian shot!

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