Top Marriott managers share passion for service, camaraderie

Editor’s note: This is the second of two stories about the top employees of 2005 at the Kaua’i Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

KALAPAKI BEACH — Angelina Chua, used to the quick pace of what she calls a “city hotel,” sometimes gets impatient by the slower movement of things at the Kaua’i Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

Henry Morden likes the challenge of delivering meals to guests in 45 minutes or less through the room-service department.

Together, they enjoy the camaraderie of their co-workers, the ability in their positions to meet people from all over the world, and share a passion for their chosen professions.

Chua, director of restaurants, is the Luna Ho’ohana, or Manager of the Year, and Morden, captain in room service, is Po’okela, or Supervisor of the Year.

The awards were handed out at the Fourth Annual Na Hoku O Kaua’i (The Stars of Kaua’i) Marriott Associate Holiday Party. The theme was “Black and White,” and there was an air of elegance in the ballroom, those in attendance said.

Chua got the nod based on her creativity and desire to provide the best possible experience for guests. Nominators said she has brought some exciting new initiatives to life in the resort’s restaurants, with the introduction of new menus and displays.

She is a strong and decisive manager, and is committed to getting things done, according to her nominator.

At the resort for less than three years, she came from the Ritz Carlton in Qatar, and started out at the Kaua’i Marriott Resort & Beach Club as restaurant manager of Kukui’s.

As director of restaurants, she has around 60 employees under her, including two managers, one supervisor, and a management trainee. She reports to Tony Pedroni, director of operations.

Her kuleana includes Kukui’s, the Aupaka Terrace, Kalapaki Grill, and room service.

She answers quickly when asked what she likes most about her job. “I think working with people. I think that’s what I enjoy most,” said Chua, an ‘Oma’o resident who is single.

She also likes “the ability to get creative. You need to have a passion for the job,” and not be afraid of “getting down and dirty with the rest of the guys when you have a crowd.”

Chua enjoys the sense of camaraderie, and the fact that her job doesn’t leave her tied to a desk. She has a flexible schedule, usually getting Sunday and Monday off, except when those are holidays.

She said she would like to see Kukui’s developed more, and sometimes gets impatient when changes come slowly.

Chua also worked at the JW Marriott in Kuala Lumpur, another city hotel, so is used to a fast-paced environment.

What was her reaction when she was named Manager of the Year? “I guess happy, I guess embarrassed. I hate being on stage.”

She won $750 with the honor, but laughed, “Uncle Sam took a big chunk of it.”

Morden is described by supervisors as “the foundation of the room-service department. He is very self-directed, and directs his team effectively and efficiently. Henry is always pleasant, and is someone you can trust to get the job done right.”

Around 10 people work under Morden, and he is responsible for scheduling them, and making sure room-service orders are correct, and delivered to the right rooms, within 45 minutes of guests calling the At Your Service concierges to place their orders, he said.

“We try,” he smiled.

Gayleen Palama, a server at Kukui’s, nominated Morden, he said.

It was a shock to him when it was announced that he is Supervisor of the Year, he said. “I was surprised, because four were nominated. It’s an honor.

“Just to be nominated is hard. To be Employee of the Year is something,” said Morden, who has worked at the Kaua’i Marriott Resort & Beach Club for nearly 11 years, since the property was the Westin Kauai.

“The people I work with, and servicing the guests,” are what he likes most about his job. The fact that he gets to “meet people from all over the world” is a plus, too, he said.

“This place is great. Good benefits, family-oriented. If you need to take time off, they understand,” Morden continued.

“It’s always fun.” There’s “always jokes. We’re like brothers and sisters.”

Originally from the Philippines, Morden works mornings, usually taking Sunday and Monday off, but often-times works six days a week if the hotel is busy, he said.

Surrounded by some of the best chefs on the island, a big grin comes to his face when asked where his favorite place to eat is: “My wife’s kitchen.”

He and wife Carlina have been married 16 years. They live in Puhi with daughters Carrie, 16, and Geneelynne, 10.

He won $500 with his award.

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