A recent study by a statistical analysis organization, Statistic Brain, revealed that over 50% of U.S. businesses fail after just five years and over 70% close their doors after ten years. Some studies suggest that in the hospitality industry, the failure rate is as high as 80% after ten years. In light of these statistics, Guest Services’ century in operation is an astounding and exceptionally rare feat.
As we enter our 101st year, we look forward to maintaining our presence in an ever-shrinking group of organizations operating past the centennial mark. Guest Services attributes its long-term success to three keys: “dedication to employees and clients, commitment to our underlying hospitality formula and ensuring employees have appropriate training and leadership. We know that in order to thrive we must invest in our people,” says Jeff Marquis, president and chief operating officer.
Guest Services has always fostered an environment that nurtures development and has rewarded progress with opportunity. Our employees have facilitated our growth; it is our duty to ensure they are given the same opportunity. We also invest time in selecting candidates to make certain the position is the right fit for both parties. In our Centennial year, we’ve seen inspirational examples of our investments, including on our executive team. An E-Award winner scaled our ranks to become vice president of HR, and our Senior Living Division welcomed a highly experienced president with a versatile new skill set.
We’re proud of our successful training and selection process, which is largely facilitated by our HR Department. It makes sense, then, that the new vice president of HR is a product of this formula. Danielle Verderosa will be the first to tell you how important the organization and her predecessor, Rich Hirsch, have been to her development. “Rich was supportive, wise, had amazing instincts and taught me so many invaluable lessons that significantly enhanced my development. He was a wonderful mentor and truly the best boss I’ve ever had.”
Rich became vice president of HR in 2005 and under his leadership several initiatives were conceptualized and executed, including the Green Light Orientation, Wellness Initiatives, and the Workplace Giving Program. “This organization is so awesome,” said Rich, just days before his official retirement, “I’ve heard Guest Services, Inc. referred to as the ‘best kept secret in Washington D.C.’ and it’s for good reason. We carry a paternal attitude toward our employees and we look at them as priority number 1.” During his 14-year tenure, Rich had a heavy impact on our organization and community. He has earned his retirement and will be missed!
In Rich’s wake, Danielle was promoted to vice president of HR on October 1, 2017 in acknowledgment of her significant contributions not only to her department, but also to Guest Services, Inc. She is ecstatic about what’s to come.
“There are so many exciting things ahead! Next spring we will be instituting a new HR technology that will let us recruit, hire and onboard applicants electronically instead of manually. In addition, this technology will allow us to get relevant online training courses out to all our employees, fortifying their professional development. This upgrade will be critical during a time of such rapid organizational growth,” shares Danielle. “We’ve added, and continue to add, so many exceptional new locations and employees nationwide, which means it’s always go-time for our Talent Acquisition team; the hiring never stops! This is a really great problem to have and the amazing people in HR and Training are excited to step up to the challenge.”
Danielle is right. We’ve been making major moves, including a robust expansion into an industry with a massive amount of potential. Senior Living is perhaps our most rapidly expanding division and is becoming a vital part of Guest Services’ management portfolio.
“Senior living is an industry that focuses on the things we do especially well: lodging, hospitality, recreation and dining services,” says Jeff Marquis. Though our current repertoire caters well to retirement communities, there are many industry-specific areas that require a more specialized expertise for this division to continue blossoming.
With over thirty years of experience in virtually every position in the business, John Gonzales brings to Guest Services a robust understanding of the senior living Industry. His knowledge and skills extend to start-up construction, acquisitions, and a special expertise in turn-around projects. Early in his career, John developed an appreciation for the important role and value of front-line employees. He is thankful he had supervisors who gave him new challenges and opportunities to grow, all of which align his principles with those of Guest Services. It is our honor to welcome John as the new president of senior living, a great new addition with unique experience who will help steward this expanding division.
Congratulations to Rich Hirsch on his retirement, to Danielle Verderosa on her promotion and to John Gonzales on his new position. Our executive team looks forward with excitement and anticipation to continuing our success into the New Year.