Category Archives: The Insider

congrats banner

Congratulations!

Benjamin Bartz | Giants Ridge Manager | Top Ten Leaders Under 30

Ben was selected by Ski Area Management magazine as one of the top ten leaders under 30! Approximately 117,000 people are working at 472 ski resorts across the United States, and Benjamin has been recognized by his peers and industry leaders for his dedication, enthusiasm, and ability to make a difference in the ski industry. This is truly a great honor for a young industry professional, and we are more than excited to have him as part of the Guest Services and Giants Ridge team! Congratulations again, Benjamin! Read more

The Lodge at Breckenridge | One Breckenridge’s prestigious “2018 One Breckenridge Annual Service Champion Business of the Year.”

The award is presented to the business that has contributed the most to the One Breckenridge program, which includes participation in the training opportunities for team members, support of the Breckenridge Tourism Office, excellence in hospitality and the highest team retention rate. Congratulations again to the whole Lodge at Breckenridge team!

health and wellness

Safe Grilling

Whether you’re a weekend-only griller or an every-day-grill gourmet, beef up your food safety with these helpful, hot-off-the-grill tips:

  1. Give your grill a good seasonal cleaning
  2. Use separate plates for cooked and uncooked foods
  3. Marinate mindfully; never reuse marinade from raw meat
  4. At the grill, use separate brushes to brush raw meat and cooked meat
  5. Leave dishtowels in the kitchen; use disposable paper towel outside
vegan tacos

Plant-Based Friendly Tastes

In the day of the health-conscious consumer, it is important for any food provider to stay updated with what is necessary to meet the consumer needs. Veganism continues to gain popularity as consumers begin to understand some of its amazing benefits, such as nutrient-rich eating, reduced waste, weight loss, lower risk of diseases, and so many more!

We spoke to Guest Services executive chefs, Jeff Trefry, and Roland Markart, to see how they are pushing to meet the standard in our GSI units, and offering inclusive options for all of our vegan friends!

“All units and chefs are very flexible because these types of diets are becoming more popular, and we are very open-minded in providing food that tastes great and includes those with restrictive diets.” Roland Markart expressed his willingness and eagerness to jump right on board with the trend in saying,

Take a look at our list of units that proudly offer vegan selections!

Air and Space Museum– National Mall Kiosks

The Air and Space Museum kiosk is full of vegan-friendly items to enjoy today! Some options at the kiosk include Morning Star Farms Black bean burger, house salads, and a veggie sandwich with fries.

Big Sur Lodge

At Big Sur Lodge, you can look forward to vegan options that will satisfy cravings! “The Local” is a vegan dish with miso-glazed grilled tofu, grilled peppers, avocado, grilled eggplants, Portobello mushroom, grilled radicchio, Vidalia onions, and balsamic vinaigrette. The lodge has a vegan Mediterranean masa, and many vegetarian options to choose from, easily adjusted to fit any need you may have.

Bear Mountain Inn

As a beautiful wedding destination, the Inn strives to cater to all tastes and preferences by offering several vegan-friendly options for their wedding menu. It also includes an ENTIRELY vegan menu by wedding request.

The vegan menu created by Bear Mountain Inn’s own catering chef, Armondo Aviles, includes hors d’oeuvres, a cold station, and an interactive station including vegan sliders and a fa-waffle station.  Yum!

Staples for creating a vegan-friendly alternative at the Bear Mountain Inn consist of fruits, vegetable, and nut substitutes – like their delicious cashew “cheese” quesadillas! Some of the delectable dishes include: vegan ceviche, empanadas, pulled “pork,” dips and salsas, sliders, and so much more.

Mount Rainier

Vegan options at the Paradise Inn Restaurant and the National Park Inn Restaurant do not come in short supply! The options include a Cauliflower Pie Fold, Volcanic Vegan Mac n’ Cheese, Falafel Sandwich, Field of Wildflowers Salad, Tacoma Tofu Scramble, and more! Mount Rainier also has a variety of vegetarian options. Substitutions can be made to accommodate a vegan or vegetarian diet.

The Lodge at Breckenridge

The Lodge offers a beautifully colored Vegetable Terrine, full of in-season produce such as tomatoes, basil, squash, and more! This summer staple will have you coming back for more every time.

The National Emergency Training Center

Some menu items at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) that can regularly be seen include falafel, grilled tofu with rice noodles and Chili Garlic Sauce; cauliflower options, potato-based options, and Pea Curry. The NETC also offers Three Grain Sliders and Marinated Grilled Portobello Mushrooms as burger/sandwich meat substitutes.

Russ Fetting, the Executive Chef at NETC in Emmetsburg, Maryland, describes the unique way that they provide inclusive options to their students.

“We offer a vegan choice on our menu daily. We also work with special diets on a case-by-case basis. When the students arrive on campus, part of the “Welcome” packet is a form asking about any special diet or allergen concerns they may have. We then meet with them one on one and come up with a plan that will accommodate their needs while they are here, ” Chef Fetting said.

The Sculpture Garden – Pavilion Café

The Pavilion Café at the Sculpture Garden proudly offers a wide variety of options for vegan and vegetarian tourists and locals alike. Some vegetarian options include Mediterranean Salad, Mexican Corn Flatbread, and Eggplant Caprese.  Executive Chef Edward Verber states, “We also accommodate to our vegan guests with the other vegetarian options and can easily omit the cheese in the Eggplant Caprese and the Mediterranean to further give options to our guests.”

A Vegan Veggie Wrap consists of Balsamic-roasted eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash. Another chef’s favorite is bruschetta tomatoes, fresh basil, baby arugula, and a garlic white bean puree wrapped in a locally produced spinach tortilla. Another vegan option is the delicious Citrus Quinoa salad with pineapple, oranges, grapes, watermelon, and sweet and spicy glazed almonds.

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We encourage you to try out any of these menu items! Even if you’re new to veganism, give it a go! You won’t be disappointed with all the variety.

“It is not just our responsibility to provide a variety of accommodating foods, but it is also the guests’ responsibility to tell us how we can improve their experience with us. Don’t be afraid to mention your food restrictions to our staff,” says Roland Markart, Corporate Chef of the Hospitality Division.

When vegan options cannot be found, there are vegetarian options at every Guest Services’ unit, both on the menu and upon request. Ask your chef what they can do to make your meals more accommodating and satisfying to your needs.

For allergens or other intolerances, Guest Services is here to help. “With those with very strict dietary restrictions, such as a peanut allergy, we accommodate by having certain foods prepared in a different environment to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen,” says Roland Markart

 

shawn rose

Shawn Rose Joins as Vice President of Guest Services Senior Living

“Fantastic experience, collaboration, and, overall, an incredible global portfolio,” are just a few words Shawn Rose uses to describe his first interaction with the Guest Services and Guest Services Senior Living teams.

As Vice President of Guest Services Senior Living, Shawn Rose joins the Company with more than 18 years of experience in the senior care industry. Throughout his initial introductions to the company and the team, he shares a few noticeable differences in how Guest Services Senior Living operates.

“The people in this division bring more than just enthusiasm to the table; they bring a breath of fresh air,” says Shawn. “They understand that to be successful and long-lasting in this industry, it is best to grow at a slow pace in the right direction.”

As a highly successful multi-site operator, Rose has maintained oversight of up to 2,000 units throughout the mid-Atlantic and southeastern states while promoting revenue growth and improving operational and clinical management. His experience also includes work with Capital Senior Living, Emeritus Senior Living, and Brandywine Senior Living. He is a licensed NJ Certified Assisted Living Administrator (CALA) and a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP). Shawn plans to bring his knowledge and experience to advance Guest Services Senior Living into the industry’s leading company.

“We are growing into a beacon of light for the industry as a whole. Guest Services Senior Living amplifies the importance of being an advocate for seniors and staying up-to-date on legislation that helps with that cause. Providing the best care, medication management, and understanding and improving our residents’ mind, body, and spirit will lead Guest Services Senior Living to be the pioneer in the direction this industry needs to go.”

Prior to joining the company, he served as Regional Director of Operations for Senior Lifestyle Corporation where his efforts led to significant revenue growth, increased census and strengthening of key controls region-wide. As Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Raydian Properties, Rose created, implemented, and headed all companywide sales initiatives and processes for 21 properties within five states. Shawn Rose holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.

Welcome to the Guest Services Senior Living team, Shawn!

health and wellness

Up Your Vitamin C

June is loaded with produce high in vitamin C. Take advantage of the ripe red tomatoes, bright green peppers, and luscious strawberries that flood the produce departments of your local grocers. Make a cauliflower pizza and top it with fresh, homemade tomato sauce and diced green peppers. Add strawberries to smoothies or dip them in dark chocolate for a sweet, healthy treat. Make a green juice with kale, spinach, and pineapple and pair it with a handful of almonds, pistachios, or walnuts for a filling snack.

columbia island marina, island time bar and grill

Food and Drinks “Simply Done Well” at the Island Time Bar and Grill at the Columbia Island Marina

Located on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, in the Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove on the Pentagon Lagoon, lies the Columbia Island Marina. The Marina docks boats year-round in their over 300 slips, but what consistently drives in new customers is the Island Time Bar and Grill.

Island Time Bar and Grill is the only on-water Tiki Bar in all of Washington D.C. This outdoor bar and grill is designed to transport you out of D.C. to somewhere tropical, even if it is only for a couple of hours.

“With the outdoor pergola deck, the theme of the food and drink, the palm trees, and the décor together, it accomplishes the task of making you think you are in Florida,” says Blake Pendleton, Columbia Island Food Manager. “It’s a great place for power players from D.C. to relax for a moment.”

The restaurant brings in many customers, locals and tourists alike, but it is the restaurant’s service motto, “simply doing things well” that keeps them coming back. To employees, this means simple recipes, attention to detail, limited ingredients, and service done well. The best part? All menu items are made with high-quality ingredients from local vendors.

“Some popular items are the three-ingredient, juiced to order Orange Crush with freshly-squeezed juice, orange vodka, and sprite. Others include our six-ingredient crab cake, decadent lobster roll, and fish tacos,” says Blake.

The Island Time Bar and Grill, which can be seen from the Pentagon, is the perfect location for events, group outings, work outings, tourist stops, and much more. Saturdays at the restaurant mean live music for all to enjoy.

“We even have parking for people to use if they feel like driving in as well as space for D.C. tour group buses to stop and allow kids to stretch their legs,” says Blake. “We are also starting to have more people from Georgetown actually boat to us. They dock for a bit for good food and drinks, and then get back on the boat to go home.”

The restaurant sees its highest visiting rate on the weekends with one particular weekend standing out. District Manager of Recreation Joseph Cangianelli says, “When Rolling Thunder comes to visit, we have over 3,000 people come to enjoy the food and atmosphere.”

Island Time has come a long way in its last five years, starting as just a small “circus” tent and forming into an island getaway full of live music and delicious ‘clean-eating’ food. The Island Time Bar and Grill expects to continue to grow and prosper as Washington D.C.’s best waterside bar and grill, and even has plans for creating a warm space on the deck to be used for the winter. For catering inquiries and questions, email CimFood@guestservices.com

Thank you to everyone at Columbia Island Marina and the Island Time Bar and Grill for creating the perfect summer place for everyone!

summer safety and security

PSA: Summer Safety and Security for GSI Employees

As summer takes off, we speak to Director of Safety and Security Bill Briggs to understand how to manage and uphold the safety and security expectations of all GSI employees and why it is so important.

To be sure the protocol is being met, Bill shares five tips and offers his insight on what is essential to ensuring a safe and secure working environment.

  1. Always check your work area for trip hazards

Having a clean space keeps you safe as well as a great looking environment for our guests. Trip hazards are anything lying on the floor that could potentially cause you or anyone else to trip over and fall, such as cords, objects, and damaged floor surfaces. If an instance occurs where you cannot remove the hazard safely alone, notify management to have all issues corrected immediately.

Bill suggests that heavy items be kept at “waist level and below,” for easy transportation and less chance of injury or accident. “Especially for heavier items that may contain liquid since the weight shifts easily and makes transportation more difficult,” Bill explains.

  1. Wear the proper footwear

Though it may be the perfect weather for sandals and flip-flops, your safety is the priority. Open-toed footwear is prohibited for all employees on our Operations Team. Shoes should be slip resistant and comfortable enough to wear all day in employees’ respective positions. Certain positions may require protective toe shoes (such as steel-toed), which may be purchased through the GSI Shoe Program.

The GSI Shoe Program offers protective shoes for employees at a discounted rate. “Each employee is offered a 15% discount on a pair of approved safety shoes. They can apply this discount at any time, and it makes the required safety standards much more affordable,” says Bill.

For a direct link of where to purchase shoes with the program, visit the Guest Services’ Intranet and visit the “Safety and Security” tab on the left side of the screen.

  1. Stay hydrated

Throughout the day, it can be easy to forget to keep yourself hydrated. Even employees working indoors may become dehydrated due to excessive heat. Temperatures in units, such as our food kiosks and kitchens, often reach 85-90 degrees as a result of the heat generated from cooking appliances. Those who work outside in the sun should stay constantly hydrated before, during, and even after work. Proactive hydrating should begin days in advance.

If you ever feel light-headed or start to have any symptoms of heat-related illness, please notify management immediately.

  1. Determine if Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required for all tasks you perform

Some jobs or tasks require certain clothing coverage or protective gear. Be aware of which ones you may need! For example, if handling cleaning solutions, check with your manager or consult your Safety Data Sheet to see if gloves and eye protection are needed. Obtain the required PPE and wear it when interacting with the solution and similar products. Other PPE may include protective toe shoes, which can be provided by the GSI Shoe Program, sunglasses, hats, gloves, etc.

For those operating cash registers, never share a cash register drawer with another employee. Cashiers should never give or accept any cash from any manager, cash manager, etc. without counting the funds together and ensuring numbers are completely accurate.

  1. Do not hesitate to ask another employee for help.

Yes, we know we all love our jobs, but sometimes being too independent during our jobs may lead to injury or worse. In instances such as moving heaving or awkward objects, be sure to use an aid such as a dolly or wheelbarrow. For tasks that you are unlikely to be able to complete alone, always ask another employee for assistance to ensure the safety of yourself and others. “Your fellow employees and yourself are a TEAM; don’t be afraid to ask them for help.” Bill encouraged heavily.

Following these five tips are vital to ensuring a safe and secure work environment for you and your fellow employees. Do not take them lightly, and remember the importance of due diligence to guarantee a safe work experience.

For any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact Bill at briggsb@guestservices.com.

great outdoor month

June is Great Outdoors Month, so #EscapetheIndoors

The weather is warming up, and that means summer vacation is right around the corner. This past month was Great Outdoors Month®, but the aspects of the campaign should be at the forefront of our minds all year long. It is a great way to experience healthy, active outdoor family fun in the great outdoors! Last month, we wanted you to bring your outdoor fun into the workplace by wearing your life jacket at work; this summer, we want you to #EscapetheIndoors and experience some of these activities.

map of all units

Boating

Throughout the nation, Guest Services has outdoor recreational properties that offer a variety of boating options – kayaking canoeing, paddle boating, pedal boats, swan boats, houseboats, and more. Here’s a quick rundown of a few:

Lake Roosevelt Adventures:

  • Triple decker houseboats
  • Accommodate up to 14 people
  • Includes staterooms, bathrooms, central air conditioning, hot tubs, laundry dryer, waterslide, gas BBQ, and other amenities

Boating in Boston and Boating in DC:

  • Get life jackets, paddles, cushions, and some basic safety lessons
  • Options include swan boats, sailboats, kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, row boating, pedal boats, windsurfing, etc.
  • Camps and classes also provided

Flamingo Adventures:

  • 42-foot houseboat
  • Accommodates a maximum of four adults and two children
  • Includes two bedrooms, living area, bathroom, kitchen with gas oven/range, refrigerator/freezer, A/C at the dock, screened windows, and more

Cottonwood Cove:

  • Six houseboat models ranging from 50’-70’ long
  • Accommodates six to twelve people
  • Includes living room, dinette seating, fully-equipped kitchen, private bedrooms, queen sofa sleeper, full bath
  • Personal watercraft, fishing boat, deck boat, and pontoon boat rentals available

Black Canyon River Adventures:

  • Three-hour raft tours of Black Canyon
  • Box lunch provided with wrap, chips, apple, cookie, and water

Rainbow Springs:

  • Tubing on Rainbow River
  • Canoeing or kayaking
    • Launch privately-owned canoes/kayaks
    • Rentals also available

Weeki Wachee:

  • Self-guided kayak tour adventures
    • Single and tandem kayak as well as paddleboard rentals available
    • First launch at 8 am and last pick up at Rogers Park at 5 pm
  • Private launch
    • Reservations also required

Hiking/Biking

Hiking and biking in nature bring a different perspective on life. You may have a certain route planned, but sometimes, the best views are off the beaten path. Whether you want to be guided on your hiking trip or plan your own adventure on a mountain bike, the following properties provide the best experience for all:

Giants Ridge:

  • Two unique purpose-built gravity mountain bike trails
    • Mountain bike trails considered intermediate to advance
  • Six hiking trails available
    • Include ones that enter woods, tops of mountains, passes golf courses, and water
    • Ranges from .81 mile loop to almost 4 miles
  • Mesabi Trail offers “Lodge to Lodge” shuttles for your return trip back to your lodging when your bike trip is finished.

Big Sur Lodge:

  • Multiple easily-accessible trails from lodging
  • Surrounded by beautiful redwoods
  • Paths include Nature Trail, River Trail, Valley View, and Redwood Deck
    • Varying strolling difficulties from easy to moderate
  • Great for those who want to interact with nature without strenuous hiking hills.

Bear Mountain Inn:

  • Tuesday – Thursday weekly 4.5-hour fairly-moderate hikes
    • Guided by an NYS-licensed hiking guide
  • Explores Doodletown, its reservoir, and historic Bear Mountain
  • Hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes strongly recommended
  • Suitable for children ages 10 and older

Mount Rainier:

  • Trails range in distance
    • 5 to 100 miles round trip
    • See Nisqually Glacier, Carbon Glacier, and Emmons Glacier on trails
  • Self-guided nature walks
    • Range from .3 to 1.5 miles
    • Pass mountains, rivers, streams, and foliage

Camping/Lodging

Life’s better when you add fresh air, a warm campfire, bright stars, and s’ mores. No matter what type of lodging you choose – camping, glamping, Rv-ing, cabins – you are sure to find your perfect fit with one of the following:

Echo Bluff State Park:

  • Timbuktu Campground
    • 60 full-service sites
    • 12 walk-in sites
  • Water, electric, pump-out services provided
  • Restrooms strategically placed throughout
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Willow Beach Marina:

  • 45 minutes from Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Campground and RV sites available
    • 28 full-service RV sites
    • Nine tent camping sites
  • Includes 24-hour shower facility and laundry, restaurant, gift shop, and convenience store
  • Pets welcomed (two maximum)
  • Wi-Fi

Lodge at Breckenridge:

  • Rustic, yet modern accommodations
  • Views of the mountains from an elevation of 10,000 feet
  • Complimentary sunrise breakfast
  • Canine-friendly and ADA-accessible

DoubleTree Naples:

  • Delicious warm chocolate-chip cookies straight from the oven upon arrival
  • Riverfront pool, modern suites, and private balconies
  • Two miles away from Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
  • Dolphin-spotting destination
  • High-end shopping and golf courses

According to Great Outdoors Month®, a generation ago, kids spent more than four hours a day outside — now, it’s less than 40 minutes per week. Be sure to get outside this summer with the kids because the closer we feel to nature, the greater our concern for it becomes.

Don’t forget to use your 50% employee discount on all Guest Services’ properties!

Health & Wellness: Go Local

Every weekend from now through November, you can find farmers’ markets nearby – get to know your local farmers! Their less commercial approach often yields fresher, tastier, and more nutritious food then what’s found in your regular grocery store. You will also find vendors that sell homemade, preservative- and additive-free products like kombucha, jerky, and baked goods. Go local; go green!

image of chef handing out food to a customer

Property Spotlight: NIH-Fisher’s Lane Café 5601

Located in Rockville, Maryland, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of the many sectors of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While the NIH-NIAID strives to learn more ways of enhancing our lives, the NIH-Fisher’s Lane Café 5601 team members work hard to ensure they have the best meal or snacks throughout their workday or conferences.

NIH-Fisher’s Lane Café 5601 serves breakfast and lunch to over 1,000 people daily as well as hosts conferences for many international NIH clients from Japan, Europe, China, and more. Joel Cabezas, General Manager of the Café 5601, and his team offer full-service catering.

Daily customers to the NIH-Fisher’s Lane Café 5601 consist of employees within the NIH-NIAID building as well as from the other sectors within the National Institutes of Health including the National Cancer Institute, Human and Health Services (HHS), Food and Drug Administrate (FDA). Joel says there is great participation in the café from the “outside.”

“We have a website, cafe5601.com, in addition to our Facebook and Twitter accounts so everyone can see the menu for the upcoming week,” says Joel. “We have weekly and monthly promotions; our guests know when their favorites are being served each day.”

In the past, NIH-Fisher’s Lane Café 5601 had special promotions like “Bring Your Child to Work Day,” American barbeques, and summer picnics. Each season welcomes a new menu with corresponding dish options for the weather, holidays, and guest favorites.

“As part of our culinary career, we always want to give our guests the foods they crave,” says Joel, “including fresh salads for the summer or delicious warm soups during the winter.”

Even with a constantly-evolving menu, guests still gravitate towards their favorite meals and food types such as Latin, Italian, and more. Guests’ number one desired meal is a Peruvian-Style Lomo Saltado – stir fry dish with marinated sirloin strips, red onion, and tomatoes, served with French fries and rice.

“We have it twice a month and, at least, 120 orders come in for it each time; it is a great finance push,” says Joel. “It is a way of satisfying our guests as well as meeting our goals.”

Another favorite at the NIH-Fisher’s Lane Café 5601 is Tex-Mex Chicken Chilaquiles, which comes in various forms each time it is served every other Friday. Having a set food schedule is greatly appreciated by in-house customer and visitors, but the 13 GSI team members thoroughly enjoy getting recommendations for future dishes.

“If a customer wants to give the staff suggestions of what should be showcased in the café next, the on-site comment cards and social media pages allow for that,” says Joel. “In my eyes, these comments are new opportunities for business. If someone makes a suggestion for a delicious and affordable meal, and we create it, they are going to invite their friends to try out their suggestion at the café.”

Joel says that when people come to visit, they always have the same message that each team member’s smiles are so sincere when they are serving their guests.

“The first thing I look for in my team members is their natural smile,” comments Joel. “If they have an inviting, friendly smile, I can train them on the logistical side of being a part of a successful café. Customers appreciate natural smiles.”

Joel and his team even know the “regulars” by name when they come to visit the NIH-Fisher’s Lane Café 5601. If you are interested in seeing the friendly faces at Café 5601 at the NIH-NIAID or trying any of their fan-favorite meals, please contact Joel at nihfishergm@guestservices.com, and he will add you to the guest list at the Visitor’s Center. Breakfast: 7-10:30 am; donuts and pastries: 10:30-11:30 am; lunch: 11:30 am -2 pm; light snacks: 2-3 pm. The Coffee Bar is open from 7 am – 4 pm.

Thank you to Joel and the rest of the GSI team members for serving amazing food and upholding the Guest Services’ legendary hospitality standard.