2018 Back of House - Hospitality Finalist
Routes Bicycle Tours & Rentals, Inc.
What was your first job in the hospitality/tourism industry?
Working as a busboy & server at Savory Fare restaurant in Albuquerque, NM (14-18).
Who has helped/mentored you throughout your career?
Many people ranging from my parents to my wife (we continue to grow together). However, in a professional sense, my employer at Savory Fare (my first job), Sharon DiVasto, inspired me & helped me to hone my customer service skills. Most importantly, she taught me the life-changing differences we can make for our guests in the hospitality field through creating excellent experiences -- BOTH in the back & the front of the house.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Opening Routes Bicycle Tours & Rentals, Inc. with my wife in 2011, and growing our business into what it is today. Beyond this however, the highlight of my career is simply how *happy* we make our guests through bicycles, bicycling, and the experiences we create every day. From a back-of-house perspective, this includes creating new tours & watching them grow; fine-tuning our bicycle fleet (and guest bicycles) to perform flawlessly; and growing/managing our team to match.
Red or Green?
What is one suggestion or piece of advice you would share with young people entering the hospitality/tourism business?
To understand the diversity & power of our field -- we truly have the ability to create life-changing experiences for people, no matter which sector of the hospitality or tourism industry we're in. This field is so rewarding & encompasses so many other disciplines -- and ultimately, it's about people. Never stop learning or opening yourself to new possibilities, and always reach for the stars (sometimes literally, i.e. on tours here in NM).
What is your favorite New Mexico travel experience?
Two-fold. (1) Walking across the Taos Gorge Bridge with my wife, Heather, in the middle of winter when we were first dating, and enjoying the spectacular views / and then having a snowball fight on the other side of the bridge.
(2) Riding my bike from Santa Fe to Chimayo with our team late last fall (test ride for our new Sacred Sights Tour) and bonding with them across these beautiful landscapes & on our first adventure tour.
What is your favorite quote or piece of inspiration?
"Learning to live life is like learning to ride a bicycle. You are bound to fall down the bicycle in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean you are unfit to ride." --Stephen Hawking
What does being a finalist for the Top HAT Awards mean to you?
I see being a finalist for this award as a huge honor and as recognition of the experiences I help facilitate & create, ultimately from "behind the scenes" of Routes -- the tours I write, the FOH team members I train to interact with our guests day-to-day, and the bicycles I maintain. It means I'm continuing to grow, learn, and that I'm headed in the right direction. Thank you!
Stay tuned for more Finalist Spotlights as we get closer to the 2018 New Mexico True Top HAT Awards Gala on November 8th!