The ownership group and management team at The Grand Summit Hotel in prestigious Summit take great pride in the loyalty employees have shown to the grand ole hotel for many years.
At a time in business when people change companies every two or three years, many of the hotels managers and employees exceed a decade years of service. This loyalty alone -- for any company -- would be impressive, but in a business renowned for its employee turnover, the average length of employment at the property is nothing short of incredible.
While many hotel chains look for employees that will pick up at the drop of a hat to take on a new role in a new locale, in one-store independent hotels like The Grand Summit, ownership looks for employees that will be the face of the property.
“I am often stopped by our returning guests to tell me how much they like a member of our team,” says General Manager Mark Giangiulio adding, “and nothing makes me happier than to hear what wonderful employees we have.”
So much goes into recruiting, training, and retaining good staff and, unless you own and run a small business, the challenge that comes with maintaining a solid team is not something you are familiar with.
Employees are the backbone of any good business, and in no industry is that more important than in hospitality. Nobody embodies this more than The Grand Summit Hotel’s very own Gillian Talbot an employee of the hotel for more than 35 years.
moved to the town of Summit in 1977 from her home in Grenada where she taught kindergarten. Gillian joined the hotel staff in 1981 and has been a fixture in the restaurant on the hotel’s lower level ever since.
Gillian can be heard singing in the HAT Tavern on any given morning between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Her beautiful voice and command of classic American songs is appreciated by staff and customers alike. Gillian is the proud mom of Pearce, a Summit High School graduate and football alum, who currently resides in Boston.
Long- term employees have been at the forefront of the hotel’s success since its inception. Prior to the current ownership taking over the hotel over 40 years ago, the previous owner lived in the hotel’s wing currently known as the Presidential Suite, and was attended to by long time employee Tony Torpey.whom Mr. Taylor insisted be the only person who entered the “residence”.
Other current long time employees include:
- Executive Chef Charles Burke (19 years)
- Director of Catering Jimmy Thornton (18 years)
- Director of Housekeeping Manny McCaskill (18 years)
- HAT Tavern General Manager Walter Curtis (16 years)
- Chief Engineer George Kimmel (24 years)
- Director of Security Ronald Moore (18 years)
- HAT Tavern Chef Madike Sene (19 years)
- Set Up Manager Cleveland Legette (24 years)
- Purchasing Manager Brenda Hartman (18 years)
- Assistant Director of Catering Teresa Garcia-Rosado (16 years)
The continuity of service from these very loyal employees allows us not only familiarity with each other, but a common goal of ensuring that the guest is first and foremost and the center of everything we do.
The employee is what makes or breaks a business regardless of what industry you choose. In a business as customer focused as the hospitality and food service business is, this becomes even more important due to the amount of human interaction that plays out on a daily basis. “When we consider how many interactions we are going to have on any given day, the opportunity for something to go wrong, or something someone says to be misinterpreted increases dramatically. It has always been our philosophy to hire good hospitable people who enjoy serving others” offers Marino Marino, Assistant General Manager.
“We want people that have a connection to the area, and take pride in their interactions with others. When we hire these type of people, they understand how to react in the best interests of the customers when things don't go as planned which, in any business, they invariably do. We are very much a people driven organization” adds Marino. “I want each of my employees to have the confidence and latitude to do whatever is necessary to ensure our guest’s comfort."
At The Grand Summit Hotel, long-term employee retention has ensured the classic hotel maintains its charm.