Is Mark the "Best in the Business"? Stay Tuned.
Who are you and where are you from?
I am a husband of more than 21 years who is tired of stressing out his wife about money.
I am a father of four children trying to cast a vision for the future.
I am a “gainfully unemployed” man who has worked in Georgia, Colorado, Arkansas, and Tennessee trying to slug out a career.
I am a published author fighting to get another title in the marketplace.
I’m one of those weird guys who—until I lost my job—worked in the same field as he majored in during college—journalism.
I a former competitive distance runner who is trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon on time and knows he needs to drop another 50 pounds to do it.
I am a Christian who wonders like the writer of Psalms, “How long will you wait, o Lord?”
What is your job title, what do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
I am a valet/doorman for second shift at Renaissance Nashville Hotel. I was hired in February of this year.
My job description includes opening doors for guests, being a point of information outside the hotel, calling cabs, making dinner and entertainment recommendations, greeting guests at their cars, unloading luggage, writing valet tickets, parking, and retrieving cars. I’m also a shift supervisor from time to time.
What out-of-the-box “mad skills” or special “tricks” do you have? What sets you apart from other people in your profession?
My mad skill is service. For 20 years, I have traveled with my family and for business. I know the difference between good and bad experiences at a hotel. I’m the only guy on our team who has actually been on the other side of the valet equation. Therefore I work my tail off to serve our guests.
I see my job like a decathalon. Decathletes aren’t necessarily the fastest or strongest, but they can be fast and strong enough in a number of tasks to win the signature event of the Olympics. That’s me—well-rounded, very strong in a lot of areas, going all out to help our guests.
Don’t worry. I can drive and park with the best of them.
(I wrote an essay about my experiences.)
What is your most unusual and memorable story about your job?
The Nashville Predators had a tremendous season and made it deep into the playoffs. From time to time, NHL referees stay with us. After the games, they shower at Bridgestone Arena, dress in suits, pack their rolling duffel bags, and walk three blocks back to our hotel. It’s a privilege to have them stay with us.
It was a busy night in downtown Nashville. Thousands of people were walking around visiting the honkytonks. Fans who went to the game joined the throngs downtown.
About 10pm, we heard a commotion about 100 yards down the sidewalk. One referee stopped me and said, “You might need to call security.” There was a drunk man harassing one of the other referees. The ref kept walking but the drunk man kept cutting him off. I stepped into the lobby and called for security.
The drunk man tried to block the ref from entering the hotel. I stepped between the drunk man and the referee allowing the ref to walk around me and into the hotel.
The drunk man started trying to follow. He got through the first set of doors, but I put my back against the second set of doors and grabbed hold of both handles. He was going no farther. Security still wasn’t there.
The drunk man looked like he was giving up and going to leave. He turned a little as if to walk away, then turned around and rammed his head and shoulder against me trying to knock me away from the doors. My head bounced off the glass door but I stayed put.
He pushed and pulled on me trying to get past me when security arrived. He wrestled with them and wouldn’t leave. We called Nashville police. This agitated the drunk man. He put his shoulder into one of our security guards. This guard decided to subdue the drunk man and essentially tackled him and stayed on top of him until the police arrived.
What do you do for fun when NOT on the job?
The most fun I have is spending time with my family. I love going on dates with my wife. After dinner or a movie, we’ll drive around and talk. Those conversations in the dark with soft music on the radio are treasures. Our four kids are very busy and we take great delight in watching and participating with them. We’ve been to enough dance recitals and competitions to qualify as judges on “So You Think You Can Dance.” We’ve volunteered behind stage for dozens plays, musicals, and vocal performances. I’ve held boards for my son as he grew to be a black belt in taekwondo.
I train for marathons. The running helps me keep my sanity and stay in better shape than I would otherwise.
If I had more free time, I’d go to more live music events—there are so many in Nashville that I’d love to attend. I’d also play more golf. I haven’t played in two years.