Up Close & Personal:
Newly Elected Village Board Trustee: Spencer Murray
By Chad Neal
Ellicottville has changed a lot in the recent past and more change is foreseen in the future for this quaint little resort town. As new people come to be a part of this growing area, change and growth come along with them. A newcomer to Ellicottville, Spencer Murray has been living here for over a year and a half and falling more and more in love with it everyday. Recently Murray has been elected to Village Board as a Trustee. The Villager caught up with the young up and comer and got to know him a little more to share with our readers.
Murray told the Villager that he was raised in Williamsville and attended Williamsville South High School and went on to college in New Hampshire at Franklin Pierce University where he received his Bachelor of Science in American History, with and Advertising Minor. He was captain of his Division II lacrosse team his Junior and Senior years, and he was also the sports broadcaster for his school his last two years. His first job after college was at a Six Flags in Springfield, MA where he was an intern. He ran Johnny Rockets restaurant and managed the international students. After that summer, Murray returned to Williamsville and became the assistant restaurant manager at The Original Pancake House on Main St. “I started as dishwasher when I was 15 and worked my way up.” Murray told the Villager.
Murray’s next fated step was to meet “Mr. Nick Pitillo.” Murray said that through a best friend’s step dad, he was given Pitillo’s business card and promptly sent out an email. Pitillo got him a job at the Seneca Niagara Casino as the Buffet Shift Manager. “At one point I was the room manager at their Asian Fine Dining restaurant Koi. I also became a super user for a computer labor management and scheduling program for the entire casino.”, Murray stated.
After two years at Seneca Niagara Casino Murray moved to Rhode Island and worked at one of the largest casinos in the world, Foxwoods Casino as the Assistant Buffet Manager. He then went on to become General Manager of Restaurants at the Hyatt Regency in Newport, RI. “I managed three restaurants, two bars, a Starbucks and room service. After doing that job for a year, I became General Manager of an Oysters & Sushi Bar called TwoTen Oyster Bar and Grill. After three years in Rhode Island it was time to come home, and I knew Nick was my first call.”, Murray recalled.
Murray told the Villager that he and Nick Pitillo always stayed in touch and worked very well together. He knew Pitillo was in the process of starting the Villaggio in Ellicottville and Pitillo invited him to join. “We both have what we like to call the ‘Hospitality Gene’ and we just are on the same page, most of the time”, he said with a laugh. Murray mentioned and went on to say, “As soon as I moved to Ellciottville, I knew this place was for me. The people, vibe and beauty of Ellicottville took me by storm. Everyone and everything made me feel as if I had found my home.”
Murray has become a fixture to the local scene. As Villaggio gained popularity and has become a local hub for many events and get-togethers, Murray is making sure all are taken care of. He recently realized he could be more involved in the community because a position opened on the Village Board, so he decided to run for Trustee and he won a seat, elected by the voters. “I wanted to get involved in politics to continue to try and make a difference in a community. I live my life by the motto of people helping people and what better way to take on the task of public service. Be for the people, and make smart educated decisions to help everyone. I love being involved and helping in anything I can. Many people helped me with the election. There was a lot of support that I am grateful for and humbled by”, he explained.
Murray’s plans with his new position in the Ellicottville spectrum are to listen first then to brainstorm aloud with his colleagues on the board. “What I plan to do is be a sponge of knowledge, listen, learn and help in any way I can. I know there is plenty of learning to do and I accept the challenge. I hope to bring some good energy to the board and help be a part of progress and tradition all in the same,” Murray concluded.