Twenty-Five Year Dinner Turns Thirty!

11 Facts You May Not Know About the Twenty-Five Year Club

September 21, 2018, was an evening with the stars as Guest Services celebrated its 30th annual Twenty-Five Year Dinner.

Out of our 4,000 employees, over 100 members are a part of this exclusive club. But, what is the Twenty-Five Year Club? Here are 11 facts you may not know about the club everyone wants to be a part of:

1. This year’s celebration was the 30th annual dinner.
Since 1988, Guest Services has honored those employees with 25 or more years of service with the company. Each dinner usually has a theme with this year’s being an “Evening with the Stars” to recognize and honor this special group of employees who truly are the stars of our company.

“I’ve been very fortunate to serve Guest Services for over 40 years,” says Gerry Gabrys, chief executive officer. “I recognize the need to continually honor those who make special accommodations for our customers and employees every single day. This dinner celebration is our way of thanking those who impact our company greatly and have served the longest.”

2. It is always on a Friday night.
“From the very beginning, we knew it was important to hold this amazing event on a Friday night. The reason was to ensure our attendees could enjoy the evening without having to worry about getting up early the next day for work.”

3. Out-of-the-area employees receive overnight accommodations from Guest Services.
“We have people come from all over – Williamsburg, North Carolina, even Miami,” says Mr. Gabrys. “It’s very important that every aspect is taken care of for our attendees so they can focus solely on enjoying the evening and their achievement.”

4. The first dinner had humble beginnings.
The Twenty-Five Year Dinner has been held at three different locations over its time. Believe it or not, the first location of this exclusive dinner was in the Department of Interior.

“We celebrated together in a conference room off of the Department of Interior’s lower level cafeteria. There were about 25 people at that time, including the officers of the company.”

When the club outgrew the space at the Department of Interior, the dinner moved to the ballroom in the Washington Times building. Soon after that, the Twenty-Five Year Dinner relocated to Indigo Landing, now known as Triple Craft. It is currently held in the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.

“We would love to have this dinner held at one of our owned or managed properties, but our number one priority is the convenience for our honorees. Many live in the Mid-Atlantic, and for those traveling, it is very convenient to our local airports, so it is beneficial to have it in that area.”

5. Food, Dress, Atmosphere: Everything is incredible.
This event has an array of amazing food that is just as exceptional as its guests. This year’s dinner menu consisted of fire-roasted chicken breast au jus, filet mignon with demi-glace onion marmalade, pan-seared black sea bass, and vegetarian roasted quinoa stuffed zucchini barquette.

“A sit-down dinner is preferred because everyone seems to love the atmosphere. Everyone dresses elegantly, socializes during the cocktail hour, and, overall, enjoys everyone’s company and comradery.”

6. Each person receives a memento and cash reward.
Newly-inducted members receive a signature memento to mark this milestone achievement; but, that is not all. Inductees also receive a cash bonus as an extra token of appreciation.

7. Testimonials at this event are sure to make you appreciate Guest Services.
While it is nice to receive tangible rewards for being a long time, valued Guest Services team member, many attendees say the most memorable aspect of each dinner is the testimonials shared by each other at the end of the event.

“The testimonials at the dinner are so passionate that some can almost bring you to tears. We pass the microphone around to give attendees the opportunity to talk about their experiences, and they share just how important Guest Services is to their lives. There are certain speeches in my memory that remind me how important it is to take care of your fellow employees and continue the great legacy of our company.”

8. You are invited back each year after your induction.
When you reach the 25-year mark in your career, you receive an invitation to attend this exclusive dinner and get inducted into the club. But don’t think your attendance at this dinner is just a one-and-done deal. Every year afterward, while you still work at Guest Services, you are invited to attend the Twenty-Five Year Dinner.

“At the dinner, we also recognize the milestones – 30, 35, 40 years. Not only do we like to honor those milestones, we like to congratulate the longest and second longest working employees as well. Our most tenured employee, Zack Quarles, recently retired with 61 years with the company. Linda Davis is our most tenured active employee with 44 years.”

9. You can even come back after you retire.
You deserve a happy and long retirement after working hard at Guest Services. When you do retire, we want to celebrate your retirement by inviting you to attend the Twenty-Five Year Dinner one final time.

10. People stay because of the culture.
“The top two aspects of this company are doing everything with integrity and taking care of our employees. They are the main focus, and everything else is secondary. Time and time again, we see our employees looking after each other and always willing to lend a helping hand. We are good people, and that permeates the entire organization.”

11. It is Guest Services’ way of honoring you as our family!
“A lot of places overuse the word ‘family’ to describe their company atmosphere. However, at Guest Services, I really think it’s true. People develop close-knit relationships with those they work alongside daily, just like they do with their own family. Guest Services looks for good people who want to work together with teammates and follow the team’s philosophy. Once we find those good people, we mentor them and help them grow. With our wide variety of job types and locations, people can join our company as one position and end up in an entirely different field later on.”

Mr. Gabrys concludes his appreciation of Guest Services’ employees by saying, “This dinner is all about recognizing your good, loyal employees. The more we can properly recognize and thank them, the better off we are.”

We want to thank every employee who is a part of the Twenty-Five Year Club, and we look forward to adding many more loyal employees in the future.

The newest members of the Twenty-Five Year Club are Brenda Wimbush, Roger B. Chappell, Minja Chung, Marlon Kerin Amaya, Jose O. Caballero, Fernando Rodriguez, Raymond Palmer, and Steve Jacobs.

They are joining the employees already a part of this exclusive club: Barbara Adkins, Pauline Akinbowale, Azeb Alemayehu, Marina Alfaro, Ronnie Anderson, Warren Anderson, Willie Banton Jr., Yvonne Bartlett-Brown, Mussie Berhe, Carolyn Blake, Criag Blanchard, Petrena Bloodworth, Janis Bloom, Ellen Boone, Joyce Boulware, Tom Bracich, Jefferson Broughton, Annette Brown, Shelia Brown, Donald Bucklew, Lonnie Bunch, Willie Carter, Showkatual Chowdhurry, Carlos Conley, Wayne Copeland, Joel Crump, Wayne Culley, Willis Danchise, Amy Davis, Linda Davis, Cassandra Deadwiley, Anthony Demarzo, Nick Diapoulis, Deborah Dixson, Tommie Dorsey, Shirley Eyler, Vernon Fenwick, Cindy Fincham, Gerry Gabrys, John Gates, David Gates, Mardine Graham, Sarah Greene, Ulius Greenhow, David Hall, Merele Hampton, Ronnie Harrell, Debra Harvey, Barbara Hocker, Mark Holland, Tracie Edwards Hundley, Corey Hunter, Thu Huynh, Binta Jalloh, Delia Roscinia Johnson, George Johnson, Sandra Johnson, Rose Keeratisakdawong, Paulette Lassiter, Stephon Lawerence, Juana Maria Leonzo, Christine Lopscomb, Reginald Lipscomb, Walter Long, Kenneth Lopez, William Lum, Julie Maillet, Ranae Mulcahy, Pamela Newlun, Gail Olakunle, Margaret Owusu, Earnest Parker, David Perry, Kimberly Pipkin, Susan Pourian, Gary Price, Frederic Razafindrainibe, Loretta Reed, Charles Reid Jr., Patricia Rickard, Grindl Rivers, Chauncey Roana, Cynthia Roane, Dana Eileen Robinson, Beth Rogers, Elsa Rojas, Lisa Russell, Edwin Spears, Diane Stambaugh, Irving Tabb Jr., Melaku Tekle, Tri Thai, Sissie Wallace, Constantine Whidbee, Robert White, Mary Lou Whitfield, Joyce Williams, Brenda Wimbush, Gary Winslow, Addisalem Worku, and Scott Zelnosky.

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