First Year in Office: A Look Back as Sea Shells General Manager

Sea Shells Beach Club staff in front of the resort in Daytona Beach, FloridaThe following article was written by Sea Shells Beach Club General Manager Nancy Russ.

April 18 marked my one-year anniversary as GM of Sea Shells Beach Club, and my, oh my, what a year it has been.  First off, I want to send a HUGE shout out to the SSBC staff that were here when I first came on board. Without each and every one of them I think I would have drowned (figuratively speaking).

I truly believe that SSBC has the best staff, and it shows in the great reviews and comments I receive from past, current, and returning guests and members. So, thank you: Stephanie Brown, Attilio Salza, Jamus Eccleston, Lisa Orlando, Monica White, Kathleen Dearback, Shay Burk, Stephanie Wilson, Jerry Griest, Keonnie Warren and Kelly Hergert.

Throughout the year, Nancy always makes sure her staff is well fed.

Secondly, thank you Christopher Cullum, for taking and answering my pestering calls and questions and showing me how to use and navigate the reservations system that I had to learn, and am still learning new things with, almost daily. I also can’t forget those in the Accounting Department, Human Resources and Creative. Last but not least, I want to thank Dave Dawson, Cathy Wunder, and Emily Ceruzzi, all of whom have helped guide me and give me insight in to property management, and also Soraya Z. Shah-Mirany who has awakened my inner designer  and look for attention to detail. Ok, so enough with the formalities (I’m hearing the music playing to get me off stage).

I have to admit that the past year went by in a blur. However, there are definitely two events that truly stick out. Hurricane Matthew, and the first- and second-floor rooms getting new granite and cabinet refacing.

The Storm

Living in Florida, hurricane preparedness is always on my mind from June 1-November 1, but it’s on a whole other level when it comes to getting a home prepared versus an entire resort…that’s another level of intense planning, preparing and cleanup, nothing of which I’d experienced before.

For 72 hours leading up to Hurricane Matthew, it was purchasing supplies, filling sandbags, storing away anything that wasn’t bolted down, moving furniture and mattresses to higher ground, disconnecting anything with wires and electric cords, and taking pictures of everything in order to have as a reference for after the hurricane to help with ascertaining damage, all while still attending to the guests who finally had to be asked to leave, the day before the hurricane hit, as Daytona Beach was under a mandatory evacuation.

The resort had some hurricane damage, but was back on its feet in no time.

Sea Shells was prepared for the worst, and hoping for the best. The day after Hurricane Matthew, I was able to make it to Sea Shells and was surprised at how well we fared in comparison to other resorts around us (some of which are still not up and operating).

We had a couple lost roof a/c units, some water damage, all the windbreak plexi-panels had been blown out, all of the landscaping was ruined, some broken and lost signage, and other minor damages. That day, it was all hands on deck for the next week in order to help with all the cleanup.

There was sand everywhere!

Thank you Tom Lyons and Aaron Wunder for flying in and helping with the cleanup process as well.  Sea Shells was up and running (for the most part), within 5 days to greet the bikers that were rolling in to town for Biketoberfest. Now, 7 months after Hurricane Matthew, Sea Shells is better than ever!

The Remodel

The second significant event was the remodel of the first- and second-floor efficiency and studio suites. Beginning in December and ending in February, all of the first and second floor rooms had gorgeous new granite kitchen countertops, wall-to-wall granite vanity, and granite breakfast nooks installed.

New granite and open cabinets give the studio and efficiency suites a bright new look.

Along with that, all of the kitchen cabinet doors were removed, peeled, painted, and kitchens were updated with an open-faced look. The new upgrade has certainly paid off, as numerous repeat guests have noticed the improvements and love the upscale new look.

Snazzy new tables

The key to success on this transformation was, by far, timing. Making sure that rooms were scheduled to be down properly along with coordinating with the installer certainly made time management a priority so that everything was ready by the time the Daytona 500 guests arrived.

Finally, and I think most importantly, looking back over the past year, interacting and getting to know our guests has been the most rewarding part of being Sea Shells GM.

Hot dog socials for Sea Shells guests were very well-received.

Making them feel that at the end of their stay that they are more like friends and family rather than just a guest that stayed with us.

All of us at Global Connections congratulate Nancy on an impressive first year and wish her many more!

%d bloggers like this: