Author Archives: WHWbw5102

Toast to Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service

WNPF party for Jon Jarvis

Toast to Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service

As president of the board of the Washington’s National Park Fund I had the honor of toasting Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. I said: It’s an honor to toast Jon Jarvis during the centennial of the National Park Service. As an avid backpacker who is forever telling or writing about my National Park adventures, I’m so excited about the work Jon and his team are doing in helping visitors find the parks that inspire them. But I also want to recognize the positive impact, both economic and social, that the National Park Service here at our three national parks has on our local communities. More than ever I see our superintendents reaching out and engaging with the business, social and governmental organizations that surround the national parks. Every park visitor supports family business and delivers tax dollars that enhance the services of local municipalities. I thank the National Park Service for that.

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Advocates for our National Parks

Staffing the WNPF booth

Staffing the WNPF booth

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

The famous naturalist, John Muir, wrote that back in 1912, and I believe it’s even more true today – all of us can benefit from outdoor recreation. Muir was one of the earliest advocates of spending time outdoors, and to be certain that there would always be wild places of beauty to visit, he became an eloquent spokesperson for the concept of our National Parks. Today, that same passionate National Park advocacy has been handed down to filmmakers like Ken Burns who has documented our National Parks and called them, “America’s best idea.” The next generation of filmmakers, like Shaun McGillivary, has seized the torch with his new film, National Parks Adventure.

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Telling your story

The Harbor Game Room

The Harbor Game Room

At a lodging conference I met Lucas Mack. Lucas wrote a book with the compelling title, “Everybody has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Face.” Lucas said understanding who you are and where you came from will help you to weather unanticipated storms. Lucas was a former TV reporter who said he always tried to make his stories relevant by answering the “So what” question at the story’s end. Lucas went on to found 4th Avenue Media, a marketing firm that helps companies communicate their values clearly to attract the right customers.

I loved this message of understanding the roots of your own story and making sure your story is relevant. Thanks for the advice Lucas. Here is my story:

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We love that Face on the Tail

Trisha with the Face on the Tail

Trisha with the Face on the Tail

Trisha and I attended the Alaska Airlines brand re-launch party. We love Alaska Airlines with its happy Eskimo logo smiling from the tail of all their airplanes. Alaska Airlines is a Seattle-based company that’s all about genuine, caring service. At the party we sat with a retired doctor and his wife who had flown over two million miles with Alaska. The doctor said how important the airline had been to his practice that had included many small Alaskan towns. We told the couple how all our General Managers use Alaska Airlines visa cards, and that helps us to lower our company’s travel costs by generating free air travel with their user-friendly, guest rewards program. We all agreed that given the choice, we always fly Alaska.

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Take Control of Your Mind

L to R - Bret Wirta, Trisha Wirta, Steve Gutzler and Becca Wirta at WLA

L to R – Bret Wirta, Trisha Wirta, Steve Gutzler and Becca Wirta at WLA

Steve Gutzler is one of the nation’s premier thought leaders on leadership, Emotional Intelligence and personal transformation. My family met Steve at a recent hospitality conference. At the conference we were bombarded by information, and by the third day my head was spinning, my eyes were crossed and I was having trouble absorbing new data.

Steve said that the greatest enemy to your best thoughts is their dilution due to information overload. This happens to us daily in our overly-connected world.

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Corporations for Communities Award

(L-to-R) Kelly Liske, Larry Hueth, CEO, FFS&L, Sec. of State Kim Wyman and Bret and Trisha Wirta

(L-to-R) Kelly Liske, Larry Hueth, CEO, FFS&L, Sec. of State Kim Wyman and Bret and Trisha Wirta

Trisha and I drove to our state capitol in Olympia, Washington, yesterday to meet the Secretary of State. Secretary Kim Wyman led a ceremony recognizing the nominees for the 2015 Corporations for Communities Award. This award honors exceptional Washington businesses that make it a priority to help the community in which they do business. We accepted the nomination on behalf of our Black Bear Diner in Sequim and for Danny Banwait, owner of the Federal Way, Black Bear Diner who couldn’t attend.

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Lessons From Chef Irvine of Restaurant: Impossible

Last year when Chef Robert Irvine was out on the Olympic Peninsula filming an episode of his popular TV show “Restaurant: Impossible”, he stayed with us at our Holiday Inn Express and ate at our Black Bear Diner. Chef Irvine had only compliments for our hotel and restaurant; he said we got the details right. But that’s not Chef Irvine’s demeanor on his TV show. The plot of “Restaurant: Impossible” goes like this – with only two days and $10,000, Chef Irvine faces the daunting challenge of turning around a failing restaurant. And he doesn’t hold back on his advice!

Trisha, Chef Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible, Bret and Toni

Trisha, Chef Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible, Bret and Toni

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Just be Love

Work day at The Captain Joseph House

Work day at The Captain Joseph House

Community engagement has always been an important part of my company’s operational philosophy. Our Black Bear Diner regularly gives a portion of its daily revenue to local non-profits through its Dine-to-Donate program and during the holiday season supports Make-A-Wish. Our Holiday Inn Express hires employees with disabilities who bring an infectious joy to their jobs. Our Papago Inn has begun to support historic preservation. Our Quality Inn has been a long-time advocate of working with local companies to promote recreational tourism and supporting Olympic National Park through the Washington’s National Park Fund.

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Keep on Pushing

Olympian Devon Harris’s story is impressive. Devon competed in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games as one of the founding members of the Jamaican four-man bobsled team. Devon and his teammates were admired worldwide as underdogs and their story was the inspiration to the 1993 movie “Cool Runnings.”

Devon Harris

Devon Harris

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How to Beat the Big Boys and Girls by Changing the Rules

I traveled to San Francisco for our annual Holiday Inn Express Franchise Convention where Billy Beane, General Manager from the Oakland Athletics baseball team, spoke to us. He’s the main character in the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis. When the movie was made Beane was played by Brad Pitt. (How cool is that!)

Billy Beane

Billy Beane

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