Heather Redmond, Food & Beverage Manager, Exploria Resorts
As the Food & Beverage Manager for Summer Bay Orlando by Exploria Resorts, the brand’s flagship resort located in Orlando, Florida, Heather Redmond is responsible for leading the resort’s Food & Beverage program, which supports the sales operation, a breakfast line for hotel guests, and four full-service F&B resort venues. An additional element of her job involves coordinating events throughout the property.
Heather has been with Summer Bay Orlando for nearly 14 years, initially serving as Administrative Assistant to the Property Manager, then as Office Manager and to her current position. Originally from Long Island, New York, she went to photography school but moved to Florida when she was 22 to become involved in the hospitality industry. After she attended bartending-school, she began managing the Summer Bay Tiki Bar.
According to Mario Placentia, Director of Operations, “Heather is well respected by her team and is always available to solve any situation that arises in her department. Collaborating with the marketing team, she has been instrumental in developing and implementing our very successful 2-3 day events for existing owners throughout the year, loading them with fun, food and entertainment. With her support, each event resulted in approximately $80k in net sales and owner upgrades.”
Heather has also been instrumental in growing the guest experience at Summer Bay. She was responsible for implementing a service that provides food delivery from the resort’s main grill, the opening of a 20-seat eat-in Italian themed family-style restaurant, as well as the 2015 opening of the Shipwreck Café, a seafood-themed F&B outlet which supports an outdoor adventure park amenity. Equally impressive, Heather has been involved – from the ground up – in the planning and opening of all four F&B venues on the resort property, while at the same time supervising a staff of about 50 F&B professionals. Heather is married with two boys, ages one and ten.
Heather’s hot breakfast and lunch buffet in the sales center is one of only 13 food service establishments in the State of Florida to be recognized two times by the Governor for receiving zero safety or sanitation violations within a year’s time and is continuously applauded for her leadership in demonstrating a high level of attention to detail and commitment to excellence.
Through the implementation of new internal systems, increased staff training, and the addition of bar-side entertainment and seating areas with fire pits, she has doubled revenue within one year of the resort’s Bar & Grill opening. Added Placentia, “Heather’s suggestions for increasing the resort’s ‘fun’ factors have resulted in supremely positive guest experiences. As we expand our brand, Heather helps us to access the F&B venues of acquired resorts and prepares them as they merge into our Exploria Resorts system.”
With extremely high energy and a positive attitude for just about everything, Heather clearly has a passion for her work: “My goal is to please our customers and make their vacation experience the best it could possibly be. My work is even more enjoyable because in our industry we are fortunate to work side-by-side with lively, fun people every day.”
Keith Poore, Director of Software Development, VSA Resorts
Keith Poore joined Virginia Beach-based VSA Resorts in 1994, starting in the Activities Department. He was quickly promoted to Front Desk Agent and then to the Owner Services Department before being named Manager of Owner Services in 1999. During his tenure with the company, he taught himself computer programming, networking and computer hardware repair.
So it was no surprise when he was named Director of Software Development in 2003. Now, after 22 years with VSA Resorts, he is responsible for overseeing their entire IT infrastructure and serving as a multi-property on-site service technician. It is a job he thoroughly enjoys.
“Early in my VSA career,” reflects Keith, “I began developing a passion for technology, teaching myself while learning how technology can best be utilized to maximize company profits. This led to revamping our rental pool and rental inventory programs, resulting in an increase in rental revenue of more than $300,000 per year after their implementation.”
Throughout Keith’s two decades with the company, he has customized Sales and Reservation software, created a more efficient billing system for annual maintenance fees, and has overseen three website upgrades, all saving the company and associations thousands of dollars.
With new ideas constantly flowing from his creative mind, Keith also introduced an idea for a new sales product that was implemented in 2012, helping to dramatically increase sales and utilize off-season inventory. He has managed three major telephone upgrades and installations and the addition of a major bandwidth upgrade, increasing the company’s network speed by more than 13 times.
Several years ago, he worked with the firm’s software company in a Beta program testing curbside check-in, allowing owners to check in to the resorts without ever leaving their car. This experience has been one of the company’s most successful customer service initiatives, regularly praised on TripAdvisor reviews and comment cards.
When not creating new programs or huddled over his computer, you can find Keith and his family enjoying the beach scene, kayaking, wildlife preserves or other outdoor activities or visiting the nearby Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Keith admits what he most loves about his work is providing technical support for the staff. “After they come up with great ideas, it is most fulfilling to be able to breathe life into their ideas through the creation and implementation of new programs,” he says.
According to Mark Richard, Senior VP of Administration, “Keith’s loyalty and commitment to our company and the timeshare industry for 22 years as well as his work ethic and positive attitude are second to none. He has always been a team player and actively participates in all company-wide functions, contests and charitable events but his true motivation is to constantly ensure that our owners and guests have positive, memorable experiences.”
Founded in 1986, VSA Resorts has developed three Virginia Beach resorts: Ocean Key Resort, Ocean Sands Resort and The Atrium Resort. The 25-year old company has over 13,000 timeshare owners and is dedicated to building positive, memorable experiences for owners and guests.