How did you end up with this particular job in this industry?
I started out working at Mount Rushmore during the summer while in college. When I graduated, I went to work for a department store in Denver. I was interviewing for a new job when the owners of the concession up here, who were handling the HR functions up to that point, made me an offer I couldn't refuse. That was in 1974.
What is your background?
My college work was in business administration. I started formal HR training when I stepped into this job.
What are the biggest challenges of your industry?
We provide housing for employees. I have to determine when problems in the dormitory will effect work performance and find ways to manage those issues. Another challenge is managing an employee group with a wide range of ages. I have employees from 18-years-old up to 78.
What challenges do you feel are universal for HR?
Recruiting good people. I used to get as many as 1,500 applications to fill 130 seasonal positions. Now I'm lucky if I get 500.
How is HR viewed at your organization?
Upper management definitely sees HR as a partner in meeting its goals-recognizing that employees are the ones who make or break someone's visit.
What about your job and/or your organization makes you most proud?
The most gratifying part of my job is taking an employee that I think is a rough stone and polishing him or her into a diamond.
What is "special" about HR at Mount Rushmore?
I have five hire dates and anywhere from 20 to 60 people start each time. So the general manager and I and all the management staff take an active hand, leading by example to show employees what we want. We spend time flipping hamburgers, bagging merchandise, stocking shelves, vacuuming floors -- it's a team effort to get the job done and to make the experience of the visiting guest a memorable one.
Workforce, January 1997, Vol. 76., No. 1, p. 88.