The Employee Of The Quarter Award is earned by the Garrisons Lake Golf Club team member who, via one remarkable example of extraordinary service, a consistent pattern of delivering exceptional guest service, or both, “embodies a genuine and tireless ‘spirit of hospitality’ in the way that he or she engages with our guests. An Employee of the Quarter will distinguish himself or herself with courtesy, empathy, enthusiasm, hard work, and determination. He or she will, by word and deed, make a lasting positive impression on both guests as well as fellow team members each of whom will be inspired to emulate the effort and attitude of the Employee of the Quarter.” Winners of the Employee of the Quarter Award will also exemplify the Forewinds Hospitality credo of, “Satisfaction is never enough. Guests must be astounded – every visit – every experience – every day.”
Employee of the Quarter Award Winners
To say that Mike has had a dramatic impact on the golf experience and management team at Garrisons Lake would be a gigantic understatement. Since joining the Garrisons Lake team back in March of 2021, Mike has elevated the team, the golf course conditions, and the overall experience that passholders and public golfers enjoy when visiting Garrisons Lake. Despite managers generally not being recognized for this quarterly award, the deserved nature and overwhelming support for this honor was too strong to pass up.
When Mike joined Garrisons Lake as Superintendent, the golf course was just emerging from some significant challenges. He dove in head first, making the golf course healthy and crafting an overall plan that invigorated the entire property. His knowledge and fantastic work ethic have permeated his staff, and all have adopted his get-the-job-done approach.
The initiative and creativity he’s demonstrated in just two years has been incredible. The projects he’s led are just too numerous to list here. However, just some of his efforts have included removing many trees for air flow, turf health and safety, pond renovations, sand trap improvements, driving range enhancements, and the Bermudagrass conversions on several holes. Further, Mike built more than ten new tee boxes providing better playing conditions for those using the more forward tees, adding flowers and landscaping to entrances and tee box areas, removing old tree stumps, and working with our partners at Delaware State Parks to prepare for new construction of a cart barn and clubhouse. He has modified the agronomic plans in such a way that fairways, green complexes and tee boxes enjoy better turf health than we’ve enjoyed in years – despite having the busiest three golf seasons on record from 2020 to 2022. He gets an amazing amount of production out of a limited crew on an increasingly busy golf course.
We were thrilled to have Mike considered and selected for this deserved honor. Here is just some of what was shared regarding Mike’s qualifications for this award. “Mike has been my best hire in twenty-five years in this business. Mike came into the property with tons of enthusiasm and the desire to work hard and prove himself. We are constantly having conversations that focus on making this golf course better and utilizing our resources wisely,” said Steve Farrell, PGA. “It’s been my absolute pleasure to work with him, and I look forward to many more years of working together.” A Forewinds Hospitality supervisor noted, “Mike is simply exceptional. He possesses qualities that often don’t co-exist within one team member. He is an incredibly hard worker, he’s a good manager of people, and has a very high level of knowledge. He’s quick to ask for help when he needs it and takes direction well. On top of all that, he’s great with communication to colleagues, managers, guests, passholders and Delaware State Park partners. He has proven over two years to move mountains – we couldn’t be happier to work beside him.”
Ken joined the Garrisons Lake Golf Club team in April of this year, and in a very short time became a significant part of our Pro Shop team. Ken works in the Pro Shop, checking in golfers and helping execute the daily golf operation. This position often works as a solo team member, or often with one other person, so multi-tasking and being flexible in a dynamic work environment is a must. Ken has a great rapport with customers, is patient when it’s required, and makes sure that everyone gets on the course safely and with a warm welcome.
Any number of curve balls – weather, an on-course issue, golfers either early or late for a scheduled time – these are all regular fare for Ken and he handles them smoothly and with courtesy. Ken has a good eye for detail, is a fast learner, and has proven to be reliable, trustworthy, dependable and highly skilled in all areas required. He is always willing to help another team member in need, and has been tasked with guiding some of the younger/newer team members on how Garrisons Lake does things. He’s approachable to all, but firm and clear when necessary.
All the managers at Garrisons Lake and within Forewinds Hospitality were thrilled to have Ken’s name be submitted and voted unanimously on his selection. General Manager Steve Farrell, PGA was among the most enthusiastic, knowing the value that Ken has brought to the Garrisons Lake team this season. Ken’s nomination reads in part, “Ken immediately impressed us with his hard work and friendly attitude. He is always willing to step in, and has given great guidance to the other staff members. He has done a great job of learning the customers’ names and some of their preferences,” said Farrell. “And on top of all that, he is hands down the nicest person I’ve ever met!”
Another manager was quoted as saying, “Ken is a wonderful addition to our team at Garrisons Lake. The Pro Shop attendant needs to carefully balance the inside and outside responsibilities. This isn’t easy, but Ken makes it look easy. Further, he’s a great first impression for our guests. Despite all the technology and online resources at our disposal, there’s no replacing a warm welcome and a friendly face. Ken brings those elements to our team and to our guests. We’re lucky to have him, and the club is better because of his many contributions.”
It’s not often that a team member is recognized within his or her very first quarter with us for this honor, but such is the case for Heidi. Heidi joined the Garrisons Lake team in the Summer of 2022, and after just several weeks, the positive comments from guests, team members, and managers began to roll in. Steve and I were in a meeting with representatives from Delaware State Parks when two frequent guests went out of their way to inform us how pleased they were with Heidi’s customer service, and what a great addition she was to the team. We agree!
The Pro Shop Attendant is a very important role at Garrisons Lake. That warm greeting and that positive first impression are key elements to getting a visit to the golf course started on the right foot. Heidi makes conversation easily, greets all guests with a smile, and seems to always be in a great mood. That approach to guest service is infectious, and it motivates all team members to want to approach the next guest with that enthusiastic spirit of hospitality that Heidi continuously employs.
Especially in the summer of 2022, when there was key information that needed to be relayed to the guests about the Bermudagrass conversion, her attention to detail and manner of connecting with the golfers with important directives was essential. Heidi is comfortable working in a dynamic environment, where things can change quickly. She’s reliable, trustworthy, hard-working, and diligent. She’s quick to show a newer team member how to do things right and is the first to volunteer for something that needs to be done.
All the managers at Garrisons Lake and within Forewinds Hospitality unanimously agreed on Heidi’s nomination for this recognition. General Manager Steve Farrell, PGA was thrilled to provide Heidi’s nomination for this honor. Her nomination reads in part, “Heidi proved quickly that she’s great with the customers, and a constant source of positive energy, friendly conversation, and warmth,” said Farrell. “Her work is accurate, and she is a key contributor toward having each day, no matter how busy, go smoothly. We couldn’t be happier to have Heidi on our team at Garrisons Lake.”
Another manager was quoted as saying, “What a breath of fresh air, Heidi is. Any of the Forewinds Hospitality clubs would be fortunate to have a Pro Shop presence like Heidi Walt. We’re thrilled to have her as a key part of our success.”
Marc joined the Garrisons Lake Golf Club maintenance crew in November of 2021. In a very short time, Marc has grown to become one of the most trusted hands on the team. The work at Garrisons Lake is challenging. Being on the crew means that you are committed to very early mornings, weekend work, and all the elements that Mother Nature can bring. Marc has proven to be a diligent worker, a true team player, and someone upon whom everyone else on the team can truly rely. There virtually isn’t a job at Garrisons Lake that Marc cannot do or contribute toward. The great conditions and constant improvement of the guest’s experience is largely due to the hard work of Marc and the rest of his teammates.
The needs of the golf course can change, and they can change quickly. whether it’s weather related or equipment related, Marc is great at adapting to evolving circumstances. When the occasion occurs, Marc is happy to chat with golfers and guests as they play, or before/after their rounds. Everyone on the crew has quickly learned that Marc is someone that can be trusted to do the right thing, and to take good care of not only the equipment but the other staff members he works with.
Marc’s nomination for Employee of the Quarter was agreed upon enthusiastically by all the managers at Garrisons Lake and within Forewinds Hospitality. General Manager Steve Farrell, PGA was thrilled to endorse Marc’s nomination for this honor. Marc’s nomination reads in part, “Marc has become a very important part of our team in a very short amount of time,” said Farrell. “The work that he does is always quality, and Marc is great at communicating things about the golf course or the equipment that (Golf Course Superintendent) Mike Biederman or I need to know. I know I can trust Marc to do a great job and to leave the course better than he found it each day.”
Another manager was quoted as saying, “Every grounds crew would be fortunate to have a Marc Tallmadge on the team. He’s always happy to help support or train the new person, is a trusted pair of hands on any project, and has exceptional work ethic and follow-through. I couldn’t be happier to have Marc on our team.”
Dave Smith has been a key contributor at Garrisons Lake Golf Club for many years. Dave’s role is in the Pro Shop, checking in golfers and assisting guests with needs throughout their visit. Dave has become one who knows many of the frequent guests and Annual Golf Passholders very well, as he secures tee times and supports the merchandise and food/beverage sales at Garrisons Lake.
In addition, Dave is a key contributor toward leagues and golf outings. Dave is keenly aware of the important processes of printing cart signs, scorecards, and doing all of the other league or tournament prep that is required to make the day go smoothly. In any one day, Dave can work the counter, pick all the range balls off the range, clean and restage the golf carts, and help run the Pro Shop. Dave is quick to assist some of the newer team members with the processes of running the point-of-sale system, taking tee times, and responding to player requests.
Dave is also one to assist with instruction, help coordinate the various passholder events that are planned throughout the year, and work with high school golfers as they improve both in golf and in life. Dave’s guidance and experience has helped many younger team members become acclimated to Garrisons Lake, and to the game of golf.
In his many years of service, Dave has always been one to see the property through personnel transitions. Any time Garrisons Lake was a bit shorthanded, or during an interim period of management shifts, Dave has always done whatever was asked of him to the very best of his ability. His determination and commitment to Garrisons Lake has been remarkable over many seasons. Garrisons Lake is able to serve guests and accommodate happy golfers due in part to Dave’s persistent and reliable dedication.
Dave’s nomination for Employee of the Quarter was agreed upon unanimously by the other managers at Garrisons Lake and within Forewinds Hospitality. General Manager Steve Farrell, PGA was very quick to support Dave’s nomination and further recommend him for this honor. “Dave has really improved his skills, and worked hard to be the contributor to the golf operation that he’s become,” said Farrell. “This property has become much busier and faster moving over the past several seasons, with notable growth in many areas. Dave has grown right along with the club, and I am very appreciative to have him on our team.”
Another manager was quoted as saying, “Dave has been a go-to person for help in countless areas and situations for many, many years. Any time there’s been a challenge or a transition, Dave has quietly and faithfully done what he could to see us through for the betterment of the property and the guest experience. I am very pleased to see Dave earn this recognition, and to thank him for his many years of loyal service.”
Julia joined us at Garrisons Lake in the Spring of 2021. She immersed herself quickly into her Golf Shop position and quickly learned all what the position requires. With her work ethic, pleasant attitude, and cheerful smile, she has become a favorite to our passholders and recurring guests alike.
Julia has become effective at all of the key duties and responsibilities of our Golf Shop team members. In addition to making tee times and assisting guests as they arrive, Julia has proven to be a reliable presence for anything that might be required during the day on the golf course. Trustworthy, dependable and reliable, Julia’s steady hand and talent for courteous guest service have proven to be a key element in the day to day operations of Garrisons Lake Golf Club.
Julia’s nomination by a fellow team member met no hesitation by any of the other managers at Garrisons Lake or within Forewinds Hospitality and was unanimously endorsed. General Manager Steve Farrell, PGA was very quick to support Julia’s nomination and further recommend her for this honor. “Julia has been a great addition to our staff,” said Farrell. “This property, due to the dynamics of being a Delaware State Parks facility and what is required on a daily basis, demands a creative and tireless customer service leader. Julia, day in and day out, has become a trusted employee that consistently delivers excellent customer service while doing a great job with the club.”
Another manager was quoted as saying, “Julia’s enthusiasm and energy are easily noticed and much appreciated by guests, passholders, and fellow staff members alike. Garrisons Lake is a better operation and a friendlier place to be due to her hospitable presence and warm approach to customer service.”
Dominic joined the team at Garrisons Lake towards the end of the 2020 golf season, just over one year ago. As a Pro Shop attendant, Dominic has made an immediate positive impact on not only the team dynamic, but the passholders and guests themselves.
Dominic is a graduate of Smyrna High School in Smyrna, and currently is a college student studying Automotive Technology at Delaware Technical Community College. Dominic balances all his academic responsibilities with his work commitments remarkably well. His enthusiasm and optimism is notable, and even toward the end of a long shift, Dominic is always one to have a warm word or a friendly comment for any guest with whom he may interact.
Especially throughout 2021, Dominic’s leadership qualities have grown. There are many times when he is the primary resource for questions and guest service at Garrisons Lake. Dominic is thorough, showing poise and confidence when things get busy and he’s the only one in the Pro Shop. Dominic has clearly become one of the “go-to” people on the team for whatever a guest or fellow team member might require.
Dominic’s qualifications for this award were quickly agreed upon unanimously at a recent meeting of managers and Forewinds Hospitality staff. Everyone agreed he was a most deserving candidate for this honor. Leading this sentiment was Steve Farrell, PGA, who is the General Manager at Garrisons Lake. “Dominic’s take-charge work ethic, pleasant attitude and willingness to learn new tasks make him the ideal person to be recognized with this award,” said Farrell. “Our property is one that operates with a relatively limited staff, so having someone that you know you can count on is imperative. He has stepped up in taking on extra work shifts, working independently on busy days, and supporting other team members. I couldn’t be happier to have Dominic on the team.”
Kyle joined our team very recently, just earlier this year, making his nomination and recognition even more extraordinary. Kyle is the Assistant Superintendent at Garrisons Lake Golf Club, and works with Superintendent Michael Biederman and the rest of the agronomic team to deliver the very best playing conditions possible to the golfers, guests and Annual Golf Passholders at Garrisons Lake.
When Kyle first joined our team earlier this season, the course was recovering from some turf health challenges that required a sustained and careful execution of a plan coupled with continual supervision. Kyle was able to seamlessly blend in with the rest of the crew that was tasked with the implementation of the recovery plan. The conditions the golfers and guests of Garrisons Lake are enjoying now are due in large part to the time and talent of Kyle and the rest of the agronomic team.
In addition, Kyle has been instrumental in the construction projects that are taking place on the golf course itself. As several new tees are built, sodded, and prepared for play, Kyle has been a big part of that effort. As other areas of the course are renovated, sodded or upgraded, Kyle’s input, experience and recommendation are pivotal in our future success. Kyle helps guide the rest of our team, leads by example, and is always engaged in the task at hand to make the conditions and consistency of the golf course as good as possible. He’s proven to be trustworthy, hardworking, and dedicated in whatever it takes to leave the golf course better than he found it that morning.
Kyle’s nomination was quickly agreed upon unanimously at a recent meeting of managers and Forewinds Hospitality staff. Each were quick to endorse Kyle’s nomination and further recommend him for this honor. One enthusiastic manager was Steve Farrell, PGA, who is the General Manager at Garrisons Lake. “Kyle’s impact on our team and our golf course conditions has been immediate,” said Farrell. “We are fortunate to have many reliable and talented members of our team, and the grounds crew is no exception. However, Kyle’s effort and commitment to the job at hand was noticed by many, and we are already seeing the results of his addition to the team on the golf course. He’s very rapidly become a trusted colleague to Mike Biederman, and a role model for the rest of the crew. The entire golf course operation is better as a result of his efforts.”
Al has been the mechanic at Garrisons Lake Golf Club since 2016. In that time, Al has proven to be as valuable an asset as any we have at Garrisons Lake. First of all, Al does all you could imagine a great mechanic to do. He can fix anything, is incredibly creative with repurposing, reengineering, or simply inventing tools, parts and solutions that extend the life of equipment, ensure the safety of our team members, and provide the playing conditions our guests and passholders desire.
Further, Al is very much a regular member of the grounds crew. The staff at Garrisons Lake is constructed in such a way that Al’s time and talents are frequently needed on the golf course for regular maintenance like mowing, rolling greens, or smoothing bunkers. In addition to that, Al is a critical piece of our operation where it pertains to special projects. Anything from spring or fall aerification, to winterizing the pumps and irrigation system – Al is a key contributor to the process. His extensive knowledge of the history of the golf course and how to maintain equipment and conditions in the most efficient and effective ways – paired with his understanding and efforts on special construction projects – is invaluable.
Al’s nomination by a fellow team member met no hesitation by any of the other managers at Garrisons Lake or within Forewinds Hospitality. General Manager Steve Farrell, PGA was very quick to endorse Al’s nomination and further recommend him for this honor. “Al has been an exceptional contributor at Garrisons Lake Golf Club for many years,” said Farrell.
“This property, due to the dynamics of being a Delaware State Parks facility and what is required on a daily basis, demands a creative and tireless problem solver. Al knows his stuff – that’s obvious when you first meet him and work with him. However, it’s been great to watch how Al contributes to the big picture, and desires to understand how the entire business operates and how his part in it contributes to the whole. He is a very informed and engaged member of our management team, attending staff meetings regularly and always quick with a helpful suggestion or clever solution. Garrisons Lake is very fortunate to have Al Denker on the team. We would not have enjoyed the successes we have without his many contributions.”
Would you like to nominate a Garrison’s Lake team member as Employee Of The Quarter? Please fill out the online form below and tell us your story!
Winners of the Employee Of The Quarter Award will earn a certificate, the addition of his or her name and likeness on a plaque in the Clubhouse, the sharing of their story via our online and social media platforms, and a $50 gift card. Thanks for nominating a team member for this recognition.