As The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel celebrates its Pearl 30th Anniversary, it’s fitting to recognize and honor those ladies and gentlemen who opened the resort on August 27, 1984 and have been providing guests with extraordinary service and creating Ritz-Carlton guests for life. Jonathan L.
When there is something to be designed and built, Jonathan is who you go to at the resort. Over his 30 year career at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, he has hand crafted the giant eggs that are displayed at Easter, the spinning mirrored diamond for The Diamond Ball, all of the base pieces for the annual gingerbread display (including the life size Woody), as well as the floating sushi boats and mote used for group functions. Jonathan also invented a mechanism to change light bulbs in the chandeliers and a water wagon used to replace the water in the large flower vases in the resort’s main lobby hallway. Johnathan’s creativity and talent is a huge asset to the resort.
Q: What brought you to The Ritz-Carlton?Jonathan: I had graduated from the University of Alaska and decided I would move back home. I’m actually from Dana Point. I was newly married and my plan was to get a job, save some money and move back to Alaska. I promised myself I would only stay for a year. Well, that was 30 years ago. As John Lennon said, ‘life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.’
Q: What is one of your fondest memories from over the years?Jonathan: What really stands out to me is that when the hotel opened in 1984, we didn’t really know who we were. We didn’t have an identity, and we didn’t know what our mission was. Soon after the hotel opened, Horst Schultz introduced The Credo. Thirty years later, The Credo still reminds me every day that our mission is to provide our guests with genuine care and comfort and my role in that is to ensure that the hotel is always in great condition.
Q: Any last thoughts?Jonathan: I was 30 years old when I started working at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel and I had at least 30 jobs before this one. I’ve been here for 30 years now and I truly feel this is my home and I came to realize I was working for the best hotel in the world. The team of engineers that I work with is a very diverse group of good natured, talented individuals that I consider my closest family. Maybe someday I’ll retire and maybe then I’ll move back to Alaska. Wes K.
Thirty years ago, Wes had just relocated to the United States from Poland. By the time he was 25 he had traveled all over Europe and we are lucky he landed with us. He joined The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in the engineering department. He was working two jobs, attending school, and raising a family. Over the years, his passion, commitment and loyalty earned him a promotion within the department and he now serves as the resort’s Chief Engineer.
Q: What keeps you here? Wes: Friends and family. I truly think of the engineering team as my friends and family. I know what they can and can’t do. We all support each other and work as a team to keep this amazing property in first class shape. We know what we have built together and we know what to expect from each other.
Q: Any words of advice? Wes: If you put your mind to it and you want to be somebody, The Ritz-Carlton is the place to be. We have 85 properties around the world and we are continuing to grow. When I started we had 5. For someone just coming into the company, there are so many opportunities to learn, grow and 30 years from now have someone asking them these same questions.
Q: What’s one of your fondest memories? Wes: I was standing in front of enoSTEAK with the director of engineering and a few other gentlemen from the engineering department. We were discussing where to place the new signage for the restaurant. Who would have thought there would be so many opinions, but there were. All of a sudden, a voice from behind said, “Gentlemen, do you want me to make a decision for you?” One of our guests had been watching our exchange. I can’t tell you his name, but I’m pretty sure he used to be a four star general. We were all speechless. That’s something I’ll never forget.
Q: Any other thoughts? Wes: I’ve been with the hotel for 30 year. The European way is not to change jobs. I’ve been married for 30 years and I’ve lived in the same house for 27. I have a deep sense of loyalty and commitment. You can count on me, that’s just the way I am in my life. Click here
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