|By Karen Mracek, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Sep. 10, 2004 - Rod Siler comes to the Tubac Golf Resort by way of San Antonio; Palm Springs, Calif.; Captiva, Fla.; and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
He brings 30 years of experience to the position of president, most recently at the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa.
Siler is overseeing a three- to five-year plan to renovate the 46-room resort property.
"Tucson is an emerging market in terms of the tourism market," he said. "This is an incredible opportunity to be part of the expansion and restoration of a resort."
By spring 2005, the resort will add 24 hotel rooms, a 2,700-square-foot meeting space and a retail center with seven shops.
"We want to do it in a style that feels like it's been here forever, even though it's brand-new," Siler said. "The intent is to enhance it, not ruin it." The second phase of development will add a destination spa, another 35 rooms and nine holes of golf to the 18 already existing. The work should be completed by the end of 2006.
"We really want to turn this into a four-star destination resort," he said.
But Siler recognizes that he can't do it alone. He has hired managers and supervisors from around the country to help the resort through the transition.
"Sometimes it is easier to build buildings than to build teams," he said. "My real focus is on the people here, transitioning the team to make sure that our service level continues to improve." Siler plans to add almost 100 employees during the next year. To keep up the service level, Siler goes the extra mile in training, including taking employees to other highly rated resorts to see how things are done there.
"My experience working with Rod has been a pleasure," said Ross Venditte, pro shop attendant at the resort. "What a great personality and outlook on life he has." Venditte has been with the resort only three weeks, but Siler has made him "feel very welcome," he said.
"If you take good care of people that are working here, it translates into them taking good care of the people staying here," Siler said.
Siler's plan is to be the employer of choice in Santa Cruz County, he said.
"It's not an easy process," he said. "But the secret is to treat them as generously as I can and make them feel good about coming to work."
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