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Resort salutes employee’s dedication during March’s torrential rains

PO‘IPU n Aunty Stella Burgess of the Grand Hyatt Resort had the perfect way to introduce Megan Jones to the resort’s employee population.

Jones, a College Management Trainee, had the role of greeting the resort’s employees as they entered the Grand Ballroom for their Wednesday lunch.

Additionally, Jones handed each of the employees a traffic survey as well as a safety questionnaire, minor housekeeping duties that employees took care of while enjoying their meal.

Burgess, the coordinator for the quarterly Mahalo Day event that is part of the Hyatt corporate regime, said the mayor’s office asked if their employees could fill in the survey.

“They (employees) get to win prizes for doing this as well as the safety questionnaire,” Burgess said.

The theme, “Rainy, Sunny Days,” paid tribute to the many workers who spent countless hours working to keep smiles on Hyatt guests’ faces despite the dismal rainy conditions that plagued Kaua‘i in March, Burgess said.

However, the only sign of rains were from images of flooding that flashed across a large screen set up in the ballroom. Everything else was done to celebrate sunshine as employees were greeted by a beach scene complete with a lifeguard tower, inflatable toys, sand buckets and shovels.

This theme carried throughout the ballroom that was decorated by members of the executive staff, Burgess said.

“We have a lot to celebrate,” said Doug Sears, the resort’s General Manager to the lunchtime gathering as he invited employees to view some of the letters and notes written by guests. “We celebrate our smiling staff that worked hard to salvage our guests’ expensive vacations.”

“One night, it was raining so hard we could barely see to get back to the hotel,” wrote Richard and Diana Linden in one of the letters. “When we finally got back to the hotel, the staff was scrambling to help guests get their personal items out of the cars, and did it with smiles on their faces and pleasant greetings. I was amazed.”

The Lindens said in the letter, “faced with situations the resort employees had to deal with often makes employees stressed and grouchy, but the Hyatt staff was totally professional, gracious, and friendly.”

“We were ready for fun in the sun, but it rained every day of our visit,” Diana Linden wrote. “This could have been a very disappointing trip, but the employees of the Hyatt made up for all the gloomy days.”

In addition to the words of appreciation from Sears, employees were able to enjoy their meals in the Grand Ballroom at the event instead of the employee cafeteria. There were also lots of prizes.

Sears, following his presentation on corporate matters, had the task of pulling the lucky numbers that earned employees those prizes.

Jones, from North Carolina, recently graduated East Carolina with a major in hospitality.

She said she applied online for the CMT program, and that once accepted, was offered a variety of location options where to work.

“This is my first time in Hawai‘i, but my parents have been here before, and they said it’s a wonderful place,” Jones said.

Under the CMT program, Jones, who is with the Hyatt’s Food and Beverage department, said they work for six months before finding out if they have a permanent position.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) and dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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