Though we are known for our stunning architecture, convenient central location and our commitment to sustainability, it is our outstanding service that makes the Salem Convention Center stand out among the rest. When it comes to serving our guests and community, we take a full-service approach that includes an experienced service staff here to accommodate.
We are proud of all of our employees here at The Salem Convention Center, so we want to introduce them to you by spotlighting some of the key members of our team. In this post we feature Robert Maple, Banquet Manager at the Salem Convention Center who has been with us since we opened our doors in 2005.
Robert studied Finance/Accounting as well as Hospitality Management at The University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV) before taking a position with the Doubletree Hotels hospitality team in central California where he spent the next twelve years of his career working his way from Server to Captain to Asst. Banquet Manager to Banquet Manager.
In 2003, Robert decided he wanted to move to Oregon and began to explore his transfer options. While researching catering facilities on the Web, he came across an announcement “Opening March – 2005 – The Salem Conference Center” and quickly acted on the opportunity and set up an interview. Robert says everything fell into place very quickly, and we have been privileged to have him on our team ever since!
We asked Robert to respond to some general questions and here is what he has to say.
What do you appreciate most about your job?
The one aspect of hospitality that I have always appreciated is the constant change of details, atmosphere, people, and ideas. Although many things we do are routine, a variety of special sets and interesting programs make every day unique.
What is a typical day at SCC like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical day here. We can go from your basic meetings and conferences to elaborate social events and multi-day conventions. I really enjoy getting an inside look at what is happening in other businesses and organizations. We might have a judges or teachers conference one day and a conference for jugglers or magicians the next day.
As a manager, what do you expect from your staff?
As the Banquet Manager, I expect every employee to provide the most accommodating service possible. No guest request should fall on deaf ears. If we cannot reasonably accommodate such request, a viable alternative is always possible. My motto has always been “Strive for perfection – settle for excellence”.
Tell us what you (and/or your staff) do to contribute to SCC’s green initiatives?
My staff is so very important to the success of our green initiatives. They are the ones in the trenches sorting, recycling, composting and conserving. Without total team support, our program would not be as successful.
If you remember your first day on the job, tell us about it.
My first week on the job at SCC was a hectic one. Truck after truck of equipment was showing up without a finished loading dock to receive it or finished storerooms to house it. We again made lemonade out of those lemons and unloaded them on the street piece by piece, storing items wherever we could fit them. I had always worked at large facilities, but until it shows up one day on several trucks, it’s hard to grasp how much equipment goes into starting a huge operation like SCC.
How has the Salem Convention Center changed since you began?
Most of the changes at SCC over the years have been subtle as we work to fine-tune our skills and culture. We started with a great blueprint due to experienced professionals who are almost all still here today. Our dedication to teamwork and hospitality continue to separate us from the competition.
What are your hobbies?
I’ve developed an interest in many pastimes and hobbies over the years but my absolute passion lies with some of my favorite outdoor activities – fishing, camping, hiking, biking, boating, and of course GOLF – the most challenging pastime of all.
After playing 12 years of organized baseball my craving for competitive sports also burns hot to this day. I enjoy softball, basketball, football, bowling, billiards, darts, swimming, horseshoes, and any other challenging competition.
I have also started my own rockhounding and lapidary business with 8 years this season at the Salem Saturday Market. I’ve been collecting and polishing gemstones as well as fossil hunting for the last 30 years. Though my endeavors are great, I will always make time to coach and support my two wonderful sons on their journey through life discovering their passions and interests. Stay Tuned.
What else would you like for us to know about you and/or your staff?
I’d like to invite everyone to come on down and check us out! See what all the excitement is about!