Randy Stevens, GM, Economy Hotel Minot / Grafton
Prior to his stint with Stablegold Hospitality, which only started last year, Stevens had plenty of experience running motels in Jamestown N.D for four years. He also owned his own bar and grill, and managed a few country clubs. Interesting to note that much of his management experience came after retirement!
Stevens tried out the retired life with his wife in the year 2000, and soon realized it wasn't for him, especially after having worked on his family farm for so many years. Hard work was now ingrained in his psyche. His family owned farmland in N.D. since the 1800's, however his father decided his family would no longer work on the land in 1989, after the government started regulations that he couldn't reconcile with.
Stevens has fond memories of working 16 hour shifts as early as 7 years old, mowing the fields and then joining his dad in the shop. During the off seasons, he enjoyed his snowmobiles, motorcycles, and fishing trips by their cabin near Red Willow Lake.
Area Manager Lisa Hollomon can see how all of Steven's work experience transfers compliments his new role in a major way.
"He goes and grabs the business, he doesn't wait for it to come to him. In Grafton, for example, he speaks to every business owner every single day," said Hollomon. "He even goes to work sites to find new customers and pull them in. I wish we had more Randy's in this world!"
Steven's loves the family atmosphere at the hotel, which is comforting after having lost his wife to cancer in 2005. Yet he doesn't let that get in the way of using sound judgement when operating the hotel. "We need to be nice, yet firm," explains Stevens in reference to the challenges he sometimes faces with clientele. "But I understand they're just having a tough time in life, and that's why they're there. There's good in all of them."
Nakeisha Palmer, GM, Economy Hotel Macon
And thus, January's spotlight is on Nakeisha Palmer, recently promoted to General Manager at Economy Hotel Macon! Palmer started working with Stablegold Hospitality (SGH) in June at Economy Hotel Marietta as Area General Manager, and was then transferred over to our Macon location in September.
Palmer's past work experience compliments the role perfectly. She worked for the marine core for four years straight out of high school, and then as a drug rehabilitation counsellor before making her way into the hospitality industry. She started working at various franchise hotels, making her way up to supervisory level.
Her advice to our newbies on Front Desk is to listen to our customers. "When they come to us with problems, sometimes it just takes two seconds to try and hear what our guests want to say, and most times they end up solving their own problems while they're talking to us," said Palmer.
When problem solving is in the hands of our staff, however, she believes patience and persistence are key, especially for those looking to make a vertical move in their career path. "Make every effort to solve the problem. Be patient, put in the work, and you can definitely get promoted," said Palmer.
SGH CEO Ali Jamal agrees that when it comes to getting promoted, Palmer brings all the right stuff to the table. "Her willingness to share how the property (and its staff) can execute improvements has been tremendous, " said Jamal. "Her dedication and customer service skills has put Macon on track to hit its revenue goals and ensure customer satisfaction at the same time."
In her off time, as a stress reliever, Nakeisha loves to ride her motorcycles. She used to own a Kawasaki, which she rode all up and down the 95 - through Marilyn, Atlanta, Alabama, New York, and Tennessee, to name a few. Her new bike will be a Harley Davidson, which she also plans to put a lot of miles on.
Jennifer Chambliss, AGM, Economy Hotel Candler
Please join me in giving a virtual round of applause for our next Employee of the Month, who also won AGM of the Quarter, Jennifer Chambliss!
Having travelled to eight overseas countries and 12 states, we're excited to have Chambliss' perspective as a traveling guest applied to her everyday role.
Area Manager Queen Booth believes Chambliss' travels have given her the motivation to "accept any and all challenges." Chambliss relocation from Economy Hotel Glenwood to Economy Hotel Candler, situated in a much more challenging area, would be a testament to her predisposition for new experiences.
Readers can check out some of Chambliss favorite pictures from her travel diary below!
England: Left - Norwich Cathedral in Norwich City is a 900 yr old cathedral that was built by hand out of flint and mortar. The cathedral close has more people living in it than any other close. You may remember spotting in two famous films - Jack the Giant Slayer & The Stalls of Barchester. Right - The famous London Eye! Also known as the Millennial Wheel, this fun ride sits on the South Bank of the Thames River, attracting over 3 million tourists every year.
Puerto Rico: Left - San Juan City Hall nicely lit up. Right - Bartender mixing up the final touches on Bacardis being made at the Bacardi Factory in San Juan. This distillery is the largest rum factory in the world, and is embellished with colonial architecture of Old San Juan.
Bahamas: Every year, famous carnival bands along with scores of Bahamain arts and culture take to the streets of Nassau to light up the city with excitement. Chambliss has some amazing pictures of street performers with outfits that will blow your mind with their vibrant colors and beautiful Bahamain design.
Stephanie Hodo, Housekeeper, Economy Hotel Glenwood
Our next Employee of the Month was recently one of our Housekeeping Bonus Recipients, Stephanie Hodo at Economy Hotel Glenwood. Not bad for a newbie who started in September!
Hodo brings aboard a perfect skillset, which includes cleanliness and timeliness from her previous role at Chop Salad doing packaging. So far she seems to be enjoying the new gig. "I love it. It's easy, convenient, and I love my co-workers," said Hodo. Her favorite part of the job is putting a smile on customers' faces.
A few more fave's of our star Housekeeper, below:
- Favorite Food - Salad, keeps her strong and lean
- Favorite Movie - The Color Purple, Hodo likes the old classics with lots of meaning
- Favorite Actor - Whoopi Goldberg because she's real and always tells the truth
- Favorite Animal - All of them! Hodo has literally owned all of them - including an iguana, bird, snake, ten dogs, and five cats!
- Favorite Vacation - Jamaica, an obvious choice with it's beautiful people and paradise feel.
- Favorite Hobby - Jigsaw puzzles, and no fewer than 1000 pieces, please.
- Favorite Color - Blue, which reminds her of the sky & Purple which reminds her of royalty
- Favorite Song - Back to Sleep by Chris Brown
- Favorite Holiday - Easter, right around the corner to her birthday - double treat!
- Favorite Book - Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. Just like a puzzle, it keeps you guessing.
If you happen to be on site at Economy Hotel Glenwood or Economy Hotel Candler where Hodo resides, remember to drop by and say hello to one of our newest team members!
Taiwan Miller, General Manager, Economy Hotel Airport
Our next Employee Spotlight is on Taiwan Miller, General Manager (GM) at Economy Hotel Airport. After Miller started with the company as Assistant General Manager in July 2019, it didn't take long for him to get noticed.
"Since he was hired as GM, there's been a very noticeable and welcomed change at Airport. The property is much more calm, and stays clean," said Area Manager Lisa Hollomon. "He also has a great relationship with his team," she added. "He has less turnover, staff wise, than any other EH property."
Miller apportions part of his accomplishments to the skills he has acquired on the job, such as time management and delegating tasks to a "dedicated and forthcoming team."
While his compatriots have been great to work with, Miller admits it hasn't always been easy interacting with some of the clientele. "I learned it takes patience," said Miller. "You get to meet lots of people from different walks of life who are transitioning from where they are now and want to move forward."
The other part can be explained by a very healthy outlook. Our GM (by day) has a secret side hustle as a Certified Nutrition Specialist. His solid background in nutrition recently led him to publish a new book currently sold on Amazon, called Pocket Smoothies.
He can even recommend the perfect morning menu for his fellow staff who need to be fully energized for dealing with all the hustle and bustle that is a part of our experience at Economy Hotel.
- A simple glass of fresh lemon water, at room temperature, to help energize one's liver, followed by:
- Papaya, high in antioxidants, added to one's favourite smoothy, alongside:
- Your heaviest meal for the day to be eaten as breakfast, which provides the best potential for a thorough calorie burn.
In a few years, Miller wants to expand his nutritional consulting practice to include life coaching.
Lisa Hollomon, Area Manager, South Atlanta and North Dakota
Lisa Hollomon first started her journey with Economy Hotel in 2014, coming in by referral through a former employee. She was a perfect fit for the role with her experience in property management, having worked at similar properties ever since she was a teenager. In fact, her first job was General Manager at the Efficiency Lodge in Carlton, Georgia, at only 19 years old, where her mom also worked prior.
Very much like her mom, Holloman had mounds of experience working with socio-economically challenged clientele. "We have pretty thick skin. Neither one of us has a fear of anything," admits Hollomon.
While working a range of different roles for Economy Hotel, perhaps one of her biggest successes was implementing the Property Performance Rating system (PPR). "Every two weeks, our teams are held accountable for the daily tasks they're responsible for," explains Hollomon. CEO Ali Jamal agrees Holloman has been "instrumental" in establishing "core processes that have propelled the company forward."
In her current role as the Area Manager for South Atlanta and North Dakota, she aims to be a good resource for new staff and management. "In order to succeed in this climate, it's important to be receptive to change," said Holloman. "It's a different business model, unlike many other hotel chains, but it's so much more fulfilling. You just got to share the vision."
In her spare time, Hollomon loves spending time with her two daughters, both of whom recently graduated from high school.
CJ Rose, General Manager, Economy Hotel Macon
This month's spotlight is on an employee who is celebrating his one year anniversary with Economy Hotel Macon, as General Manager. Incidentally, this year also brought Rose a number of life changing events that he graciously agreed to share with our readers.
"Working at Economy Hotel Macon has grown me in a lot of areas - mentally and emotionally. Our guests inspire me; a lot of them are just grateful to have a bed to sleep in. It teaches me to not to take life for granted."
Everything that I've done to better my life are due to my 12-yr career with hospitality and the joy I gain from meeting people from different cultures/backgrounds. The stories I heard from our own guests have triggered me to start up a mentoring agency called A Helping Hand in Macon. It will offer counselling, tutoring, employment assistance, help with college applications - all with the goal of keeping youth off the streets and changing their mentality.
I've also started a Facebook podcast called 'I Survived to Tell the Story' where, each month, a new guest shares their personal story.
I was born and raised in North Carolina but I moved to Atlanta to be closer to my mother. I also have three boys, two whom I adopted in April. My boys keep me busy and young!
I grew up without my biological father. It was a struggle, always seeking that love, help and mentorship. As I got older, my heart grew towards helping other children without that guidance. To be able to be a father, it has a different meaning for me. In April, an opportunity presented itself that allowed me to adopt two children, where their biological mom wouldn't entrust anyone other than me with their care. She, and my two new boys, came through at the right time.
To hear more invigorating stories like CJ's, check out his Facebook podcast. Simply search for the page entitled I Survived to Tell the Story, subscribe, sit back, listen, and be inspired!
Ron Davis, EOS Integrator, Economy Hotel
Rebecca Minnifield, General Manager, Economy Hotel Minot
Kerry Dungey, Maintenance, Economy Hotel Candler
"His work receives little to no complaints by his clients," said James Smith, GM for the Candler Event Hall. "He's a leader amongst the team, always willing to learn and making himself available to teach others."
Here's a sneak peak on some our new guy's faves:
Favourite Artists: Tupac & Billy Joel
Favourite TV Series: History Channel
Favourite Hobby: Fishing
Favourite Food: Everything!
Favourite Animal: Wolverine
Favourite Super Power: Super Strength
Likely Side Hustle: "Opening up a new restaurant"
Dontarius Jackson, Maintenance, Economy Hotel Candler
April's spotlight is on Dontarius Jackson, originally hired for Maintenance at Economy Hotel Candler in 2018, and ended up being the Jack-Of-All-Trades. Today, Jackson knows all about front desk operations house keeping, you name it!
He was nominated for Employee of the Month by Area Manager Ron Davis. "You can tell a lot about a person by their willingness to be a true team player," said Davis. "He's dedicated to helping out in any area and has no reservations pitching in."
What Jackson likes most about working at Economy Hotel is something we hear a lot of from staff and customers: "it's like family." said Jackson. "We're always looking out for each other, helping each other."
It really is all about family for Jackson, father to five kids with the youngest being one-years-old. When asked how he is coping with the Covid-19 crisis as one of our heroes on the front lines, Jackson explains "at the end of the day, I have a family to feed."
Jackson has grand plans for when the crisis is over, which includes taking a Caribbean cruise and plunging back into his hobby of interior painting.
Below, check out some of the AMAZING indoor wallscapes Jackson completed for previous clients.
Joel Ramirez, Maintenance, Economy Hotel Marietta
Our spotlight this month is on one of our favourite fixer uppers who has been with Stablegold Hospitality for 10 years! Joel Ramirez is the one receiving our distress calls any time something needs to be repaired or renovated.
"We really admire his craftsmanship." said Economy Hotel Marietta General Manager Tantina Dawson. "He really takes pride in everything he does, including the day to day operations."
1. Why be part of the SGH family?
I like working with my hands and taking pride in my finished work
2. What is Maintenance doing to help keep the hotel stable amidst the Covid-19 crisis?
Taking the necessary precautions by washing hands frequently and wearing gloves
3. Tell us about your family?
I have 1 daughter her name is Jacqueline and she goes to school in Mexico
4. Future goals?
Professionally, I would like to accomplish "Everything". Personally, I would like to move back to Mexico one day and be with my family.
5. How are you coping with the Covid-19 crisis.
Personally, I feel healthy, but I hope people are staying safe
6. What improvements has he seen in SGH over the years?
7. What's his favourite part of the job?
Keeping my hands busy by improving the rooms with flooring, painting, and other renovations.
Synthia Render, Front Desk, Economy Hotel Airport
She's relieved to see the changes that management has implemented over the years with respect to security. "A long time ago it was real loud and crazy," said Render.
Check out Synthia's bio learn some more about what our woman of the hour appreciates about life in general:
Favourite Movie: Set It Off
Favourite Artist: Keisha Cole
Favourite TV Series: House of Payne
Favourite Hobby: Working Out
Favourite Food: Pasta Salad
Favourite Colour: Purple
Favourite Restaurant: American Deli
Favourite Part of Working at SGH: "Working with everyone. We're like family!"
Geraldine Neal, Housekeeper, Economy Hotel Atlanta
While reminiscing over the past 3 decades, Neal shared her enthusiasm on how far the property has come along while undergoing four changes in management. Her current boss, SGH CEO Ali Jamal, has won her over.
"I love Ali," said Neal. "He shows love to his property. There's less crazy stuff like crime going on. The crime rate has gone tremendously down," said Neal. "He's more like a boss and a son to me."
Seven years ago, Neal introduced herself to Jamal by explaining she "comes with the property" and so there's "no way" he'll be letting her go. Jamal agreed and never looked back! "Mrs GG represents SGH core values through and through," said Jamal. "Her work ethic, integrity and loyalty is what makes her an amazing employee."
Mrs GG looks forward to helping out SGH guests each and every day. "I treat them like I want to be treated, with respect and courtesy," said Neal. "I take the time to listen to their problems and their needs. They look at me like a mother figure."
When she's not working, Neal spends time with her seven grandchildren and enjoying her favorite hobbies, like crocheting and reading.
Tantina Dawson, General Manager, Economy Hotel Marietta
James Smith, General Manager, Candler Event Hall
In honour of Veteran's month, Novembers' spotlight is on Candler Event Hall General Manager James Smith, who previously joined the US Army in 2005.
Two of his deployments were to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in 2006-2007 and 2009-2010. Smith served in the army for a total of eight years and received an honourable discharge after receiving the rank of Sergeant!
Batman n' Robin, Economy Hotel Atlanta
Who saves Gotham City? Batman and Robin! Who saves Economy Hotel Atlanta? Again, Batman and Robin!
This month's Employee(s) Spotlight presents our tag team General Manager Courtney Dukes and Assistant General Manager Andrew Moore, better known as Batman and Robin of the Stablegold Hospitality (SGH) community.
This dynamic duo was crowned with their notorious nickname after managing a crime sweep at Economy Hotel Atlanta in May. "They will not take this property from us, they will not win," Dukes recollects herself saying at the time. With the help of Moore, they unveiled and vacated almost fifty unwanted guests.
First, they executed a number of tactics to find out who the bad apples were. In addition to completing random inspections throughout the day, they figured out how to blend into the scene, acting as guests, and managed to compile a list of suspicious individuals.
As always, success came with a price. In this case, it was a $38K deficit on the books for Economy Hotel Atlanta. "The deficit happened after kicking out almost fifty guests involved with prostitution, drugs, or weapons. Many were unregistered," said Area Manager Roger Sawant. "It takes time to get out of that situation."
Sawant is stoked about having Moore at the property to backup Dukes. "When Andrew is there, I feel safe. He has a military background," explained Sawant.
One advantage that both Moore and Dukes share is their management experience at similar properties. Dukes, for example, has worked in nine states and 11 cities running hotels. "I've learned how to stand taller, stronger, and I know I won't be easily defeated!" said Dukes.
October's scorecards for Economy Hotel Atlanta prove her point with a nearly obliterated deficit. Holy Hi Fi, Batman!
Chris Barton, Maintenance Supervisor, Economy Hotel Macon
Last year, Barton was living in Milledgeville with his wife and three kids, when a series of tragic events brought him back to his born and bred city of Macon. After his mother passed away from cancer in 2017, their beautiful house in Milledgeville burnt to ashes from an electrical fire hazard.
It was all too easy for Barton slip into a depressed state of mind, however being a husband and father of three kids, who were now homeless, didn't allow him to stay there for very long.
"I knew I needed to save up as much money as possible," said Barton, who quickly got his resume on Indeed.com, and received a phone call from Stablegold Hospitality (SGH) soon after.
"They helped me get back on my feet, so I can take care of my family." said Barton. According to Operations Manager Lisa Hollomon, his recruitment has been a win-win for both Barton and SGH. "Chris is an asset, always willing to jump in and do whatever is needed. He's a great role model for our team members."
Since setting afoot at Economy Hotel Macon, Barton has managed to turn over 30 rooms in the last seven months.
Kevin Williams, Maintenance Manager, Economy Hotel, Glenwood
By day, he's the hard working, highly skilled maintenance man whom we all know; by night, he lights the LaGrange drag strip on fire!
Not only does he race these tight whips, he also builds their motors - from scratch. "I just love to make cars go fast," said Williams. "Our competitors know if you beat us, you're on the map. We've got good cars."
On his days off, you could find him in any state, riding with the Ellingwood Race Team. In August, his team rides out to Auburn Georgia, where he's expecting to compete with thousands of race car drivers from across the country, which will also be filmed for the hit reality TV series 'Street Outlaws.'
When Williams isn't tearing up the race track, he's working away on Maintenance at Economy Hotel Glenwood, and has been with the company since 2013. The
dedicated Falcons fan brings his talent for fine finishing into his home with
greenery and flowers that beautify his living space.
Will Taylor, Maintenance, Economy Hotel, Airport
This month's Employee Spotlight is on maintenance guru Will Taylor, who was recently recognized for doing a splendid job of turning over SIX rooms at Economy Hotel, Airport, in only one month. Six is Sick!
Taylor attributes the speedy turnaround time to years of experience on the property.
General Manager Sylvia Williams believes his dedication to self-improvement has benefited the entire team. "His continuous hands-on self-training helps the other groundskeepers learn all types of trades under his leadership," said Williams.
"He's committed. If anything happens at 1 AM or 2 AM in the morning, he goes and handles the situation without even clocking in," said CEO Ali Jamal. "That's really appreciated."
Taylor has been living on the property, currently known as Economy Hotel, Airport, since 2007 with his fiancé and 7-yr old son. He's impressed with the change he has seen to the property over the years.
"With the change in ownership, we've weeded out a lot of crime," said Taylor. "It's become more of a positive place. Working families are struggling, together, trying to get on their feet," said Taylor.
In addition to family, Taylor's muse is the unlikely combination of sports and horticulture. The dedicated Falcons fan brings his talent for fine finishing into his home with greenery and flowers that beautify his living space.
Queen booth, General Manager, Economy Hotel, Candler
This month’s Employee spotlight is on General Manager (GM) Queen Booth who divined her role in management to create a personal transformation.
Booth’s first role with Stablegold Hospitality (SGH) was as a Courtesy Officer at Economy Hotel, Candler, in 2015. The job was a great fit for her at the time as, prior to joining SGH she successfully completed other security gigs in Atlanta. It also suited her image.
“Ever since I was in school people said I didn’t look approachable, or like I didn’t want to be bothered,” said Booth. It was exactly that black/white, no if/ands/buts approach that Economy Hotel, Candler, required when it came to security.
Booth also proved to be effective in operations management, and after SGH outsourced security to a third party in 2016, she was offered the Assistant General Manager (AGM) position.
Personally, however, she didn’t feel ready. “There are higher expectations of a manager. You have to be a problem solver, keep all employees happy, and make sure everything is under control. Everything ends with me,” said Booth, who believed staff would not be happy with her rigid, black/white approach.
It took a little bit of convincing on the part of our GMs, and they succeeded. Booth worked well with her team to boost revenue and establish new processes. So well, in fact, that she was offered a GM role the following year. Booth admits that, soon after taking on the roll, it wasn't always smooth sailing.
“A lot of times I did fail. There’s a learning curve, but I’ve made a lot of progress with it,” said Booth. There were times she wanted to retreat. “Sometimes I wanted to go back to my old self and just shut down. I couldn’t do that as the manager, people need my help,” realized Booth.
She had to learn how to mentally battle the inner pandemonium quickly. A little coaching from CEO Ali Jamal supported her along the way.
“It helped me realize you have to talk to people more, take the time to understand what they’re saying. Now I understand why it’s important to really listen when people tell you their problems,” said Booth.
A mental shift was taking place with Booth, who started noticing changes in her daily interactions with staff. Even guests took notice of her new affability. “People were confiding in me the way they never would have before,” explained Booth.
Jamal can easily attest to her progress. "As soon as she harnessed her strength to have effective one-to-one conversations with her team, she was building solid relationships. I could see the results of a cohesive team running more efficient operations at the hotel."
This tale had an even happier ending when Booth met her current partner in 2017. “There’s no way I would have met her if I didn’t learn how to open up!” said Booth.
Monique Jones, General Manager, Economy Hotel, Atlanta
Jones is a Philadelphian-born American who moved to Atlanta at the meagre age of 16 years old, along with her adoptive mother, Pastor Sharon Dantzler.
As regular churchgoers, Jones' mom always got her involved in volunteering for community services such as food drives, vocational counselling, and assisting the ill.
"I learned how to relate to those who are struggling, especially with their health," said Jones. "There's so much more you can do besides preach or lecture to them."
In solidarity with SG's core values, as well as her own, Jones consistently looks for ways to put those teachings into practice.
"When I see one of our patrons struggling, I might give them advice or make calls on their behalf to assist with a job search, or even help out with paper work," said Jones.
SG Revenue Manager Roger Sawant vehemently attests to Jones' as one of SG's brightest community champions.
"Anyone needs any help, she jumps and goes out of her way to help them," said Sawant. "Anything you ask her, she does with a smile."
Michelle Eddiness, General Manager, Economy Hotel, Glenwood
Starting with Stablegold as a Housekeeper in 2013, Michelle was quickly promoted to Housekeeping Supervisor the following year, Front Desk Agent in 2015, General Assistant in 2016, and finally General Manager of Economy Hotel, Glenwood, in 2017. What’s remarkable about her swift career growth are the challenges she faced in the meanwhile, being a single mother of two adorable children since 2015.
“It’s really hard, especially here in Georgia where I have no family,” said Eddiness.
Fortunately, her two kids have been a heaven-sent. Daughter, Brooklyn, 10-years-old, already already knows how to cook healthy meals for the family, with rice and vegetables as her specialty. She also likes to cook breakfast eggs for her 8-year-old brother, Kevon.
Eddiness has a few other tools that help her manage the 9-5 grind, like meditation and drawing cartoons. “This way I don’t go ballistic with my kids!” said Eddiness.
As we can see from her career growth, it also helps her at work. “Time and again, Glenwood consistently passes its health inspections and Property Performance Reviews,” said Operations Manager Lisa Holloman.
“Raising two kids on her own, it really impresses me that she always makes it to work, and on time,” she adds.