Pam Cordell, Regional Director of Operations Defender Resorts
Pam Cordell is a Regional Director of Operations for Defender Resorts, responsible for the operational integrity of the nine resorts and 12 associations within her region, which includes South Carolina, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
This high-energy lady supervises and directs the resort General Managers to assure the highest level of service to the Associations, their Board of Directors and members. She also ensures that Defender Resorts standards are constantly adhered to and promotes an efficient, safe, clean and professional high level of standards for both owners and guests, as well all regionally based resort employees.
Shares Pam, “There is never a dull moment in the world of property management/resort operations, every day is different! My job requires me to be on the road about 40% of the year, traveling to resorts to perform periodic property inspections as well as attend Board of Directors and Annual Homeowners meetings. It can be challenging at times – especially during hurricane season. But with today’s advanced technology work can be completed while on the road by utilizing airport layover time, Wi-Fi on planes, and Wi-Fi in hotel rooms after hours. Additionally, when I’m not physically on-site at a resort, staff can communicate urgent needs/situations by using Facetime or Skype.”
She began her career with Defender Resorts in the timeshare industry in 2002 and has held multiple positions ranging from guest service representative to GM for two resorts. Her supreme organizational skills were helpful in her position as regional director of operations for three years. Pam worked in Washington, D.C. with the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) from 2012 until 2016, serving as Coordinator and then Director of Member Services until returning to Defender Resorts in 2016. While in her position at ARDA, she also served as the liaison for the HOA Outreach Committee, Resort Management Council and Resort Operations Council.
Pam believes that her prior property operations/timeshare resort management experience lent itself greatly to her position at ARDA because she had a true understanding of some of the issues and challenges that members face, both from an operational perspective as well as conducting business with each other. She adds, “Having worked in the industry for 10 years prior to joining ARDA was extremely helpful in being able to “hit the ground running” and not having to learn the timeshare industry.”
She continues, “I never envisioned myself working in this industry, but I quickly came to love it. The people that make up the companies are some of the best. While our industry is large, it also intimate; going to industry events and conferences is always enjoyable because you are able to see and spend some time with folks who have become great friends and colleagues.”
Pam plays an integral leadership role in managing resort physical, financial and strategic operations. She brings extraordinary leadership skills in operations, customer service and board relations and holds a Community Association Manager’s (CAM) License from the State of Florida and is a Registered Resort Professional through ARDA.
For more than 35 years, Defender Resorts has specialized in quality timeshare resort management services with corporate office in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The company currently manages 28 resorts and 30 associations with offices located in five US states, Sint Maarten and Grand Cayman Island.
Stephen Prial, General Manager Christmas Mountain Village Bluegreen Resorts
Consider the professional challenges of managing 387 vacation villas at a 1,200-acre four-season resort with 27 holes of championship golf, 15 ski trails and five miles of internal roads. Now add food and beverage outlets, an RV campground, Wilderness campground, three subdivisions, six operating budgets, four HOAs and Boards of Directors. Staffing is an even greater obstacle because the resort operates in a region with a limited personnel pool, strong seasonal occupancy and a workforce that must balloon by almost 50% during ski season.
What kind of person can handle these supreme challenges? Clearly the executives at Bluegreen Vacations were visionaries when they selected Stephen Prial to become General Manager of Christmas Mountain Village in the Wisconsin Dells in 2014.
After 33 years as a hospitality professional and 26 years in hotel and resort management, Stephen’s leadership skills and management style have been instrumental in creating a fun and engaging work environment for his staff of 15 hospitality professionals and 150 Bluegreen resort operations team members.
By focusing on hiring the right person and teaching the necessary skills for many positions, the resort has seen its team become more supportive of each other and better equipped to deliver a truly memorable guest experience. He thoroughly believes in engaging his entire team in all aspects of the resort’s operation.
Stephen loves working in the timeshare industry because he says it is more focused on its owners than many traditional hospitality organizations are focused on guests. “I love the satisfaction of seeing success measured through the eyes of owners and guests vacationing and celebrating special events. One of my missions is to ensure that young professionals understand the unique and rewarding opportunities that our industry affords them.”
During his tenure, Stephen has led improvements in food and beverage offerings by opening satellite outlets throughout the resort to provide convenience to owners and guests. Amazingly, he decreased operational expenses for the combined HOAs vs. budget by over $200,000 by implementing more effective operational processes.
Stephen has promoted more active engagement events with owners and guests on busy arrival dates. (It is not unusual to have 300 arrivals on a Friday afternoon.) His leadership teams of Guest Services, Activities and F&B have partnered to offer different events in the Registration Building to ease the tension of waiting to register and begin the engagement process with owners and guests on their first day. Events include face painting, cookie decorating, balloon art, and sampling different foods offered by the F&B outlets. The result is a 94.49% guest satisfaction level with their check-in experience last year.
Compounding these accomplishments, he has been certified to teach the company’s Service Culture program to newly on-boarded team members so both the new associates and the existing team understand that service commitment is everyone’s commitment. He also achieved Greening Certification “Platinum” Level (the highest level in the company) and served as a mentor for Bluegreen’s Resort Emerging Leaders Program. He currently guides the Advance Manager Training Program.
Last year, he completed an $18 million dollar interior room renovation that required the careful management of resources and expectations from owners and guests, resulting in significant owner experience improvement.
For his efforts, in 2016 Stephen was named an ARDA Finalist as Resort Manager of the Year and Bluegreen Vacations Rock Star, for the resort leader most committed to personal and team member learning and development. He is a Current member of the 2016-17 ARDA Leaps Program and pursuing his RRP designation in March 2017. Stephen adds, “ I relish the opportunity to use my ARDA Leaps experience to introduce the important and relevant work that ARDA and the Timeshare Industry provides to resort team members.”
This graduate of William & Mary admits that he is a diehard Philadelphia Eagles football fan, an avid kayaker, hiker and patron of performing arts. He is married to Mary Lou, “my beautiful soul-mate and wife of 18 years,” The couple has three adult sons, two granddaughters and two loyal Chihuahuas.