Garin Hurlbut, assistant manager of cleaning for the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY, prides himself in thoroughly performing cleaning tasks, which is something he encourages his employees to do as well. Seeing the overall cleanliness of the resort lets him know that he is in the right place and doing the right things.
How did you get your start in the cleaning and maintenance industry?
I began working for ServiceMaster, a contract cleaning company that worked at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. My tasks included cleaning kitchens and marble maintenance and restoration.
Have you had any industry-related schooling or training?
I am certified in Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning with IICRC. I am also a member of IEHA and attend their regional meetings.
What is the difference between the tasks you perform today, and the tasks you performed when you started?
When I first began working in the cleaning industry, I was a hands-on worker. I worked diligently and was promoted to different positions, and now I am an assistant manager for the Casino Services Department. I left the contract company and now I am employed directly by Turning Stone. I have been here for six years.
What challenges do you face that are unique to cleaning a resort and casino?
Working in a 24/7 operation poses many challenges for each shift. The cleaning tasks on our midnight shift — midnight to 8 a.m. — must be carefully scheduled so the heavy machinery does not disrupt guests. The day shift — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. — and swing shift — 4 p.m. to midnight — are mostly reactive cleaning to ensure high-traffic areas remain clean.
What does a typical day at your job entail?
I am responsible for performing daily inspections of the resort and relaying the information from these inspections to appropriate shifts for completion. I handle any team member issues that may arise. I handle various managerial tasks on a daily basis, which means that I do just about anything that is asked of me.
Are you doing anything to reward employees who exceed expectations?
I am in charge of the Employee of the Month program for our department. This is a program where supervisors nominate team members from throughout the entire resort to be an employee of the month. The supervisors must do a presentation and a speech, which the supervisors and I collectively create for each nomination. A committee then chooses three employees from throughout the resort to receive the honor. This is an extremely beneficial program that boosts morale for our team members and lets them know we appreciate the jobs they do.
Is Turning Stone doing anything to keep up with the green movement?
When news came out about the green movement, the management staff attended a seminar in Auburn, NY, to see what “green” was really all about. We found out that it included many practices that we were already implementing within the resort. We have since revamped our product list and exchanged any harsh products for more user-friendly ones. Our techniques have also changed in regards to how we perform certain procedures, i.e. microfiber mopping instead of standard mopping to reduce cross-contamination.
If you could change one thing about the cleaning and maintenance industry, what would it be?
I would erase the negative perceptions and stereotypes of the cleaning industry. There is a lot more to the cleaning industry than just cleaning toilets. A great deal of knowledge and skill goes into cleaning tasks.
What are some activities you enjoy to escape the stresses of your job?
I enjoy spending time with my friends and family in any way that I can. My wife and I enjoy going to country concerts, taking weekend trips to the Adirondacks, fishing, and ATV riding.
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