Miles Takacs hosted a vocational service panel. On the panel were Joan Harmsworth and Reid James.
Miles Takacs lead the vocational services panel. He posed some interesting questions and got even more interesting responses! The panel was composed of Reid James (Hotel Grande Pacific General Manager) and Joan Harmsworth (Consumer Protection, BC)
what are your thoughts on seeing the new Johnson Street Bridge?
Reid – His office is two below grade. He doesn't really watch it, but he will be glad when the old bridge is gone.
Reid, How did you end up in the hotel world?
He ended up there by default. He was studying petroleum land management in Calgary and working part time at the Four Seasons. This was the early 80s. Oil industry collapsed and there wasn’t much hiring. SO, he started working his way up at the hotel.
Joan, what do you do?
She administers consumer protection laws. She provides info to consumers about rights and responsibilities. She works in the IT unit (however can’t fix IT stuff 😊). She sees herself as the interpreter between the client and the programmer.
What brought you both to Harbourside Rotary?
Reid – Branwyn’s father Rick brought him in. Alex Lindquist was his boss at the Delta who introduced him to Rick. Rick invited him down.
Joan – Mike Creery convinced her to come. Boasted that his game wasn’t doing well golfing on Wednesday afternoons. After kids had graduated decided want to do something else.
Advice for a current or former boss?
Joan – Don’t micromanage and take courses on communication
Reid – Learned a lot from the school of hard knocks. Had a boss that was hard on people. Was one way to learned, but not the way to learn. A spoonful of sugar sometimes is necessary t first. Sometime you learne how you DON’T want to lead.
What activities do you like to do for fun?
Reid – Like to golf and play some golf. Likes to play hockey (plays with Wayne Ford during the week). Like to go out tomovies (new seats are an enemy because they put him to sleep).
Joan – Golf. Hiking on the weekend. Started to travel with her husband now that the kids are older.
Favourite childhood memory
Reid – Born in Saskatchewan. The thing to do was to drive up and down main street when you have a driver’s license.
He always looked forward to Halloween. The "thing to do" was more about “tricks” than "treat". At about 10 years old you would go out after dinner and would start moving farm machinery, school buses to start blocking the roads. The intent was to leave just enough space so the Greyhound bus would have to come close enough and the kids could egg it.
Couldn’t buy eggs from the grocery store (they knew what they were up to) so they would purchase from the Hutterite colony.
Joan – She did a lot of road trips when she was young. She did 6 weeks across Canada in a VW van and listened to and sang Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell.
What were you like in high school?
Joan – Pleads the 5th
Reid – Dating the principals daughter. Playing every high school sport available.
(From the floor) How did you end up in Victoria?
Reid – He had just been divorced from a woman in Calgary. His friend started working at Grand Pacific. He would have never called Reid to be Director of Sales if he had still been married. Reid Imagines if he had stayed in Calgary his career path would have been different.
Joan – She grew up in Vancouver but decided to go to UVIC. She met her now husband Bob in fourth year. Through circumstances Joan has ended up staying here.
(From the floor) What is the most meaningful thing you have ever done in your personal/professional life?
Joan – Raised kids. That was meaningful to her. Her relationship with kids most meaningful thing in her  (oh, and her husband  Bob too).
Reid – Most meaningful thing for him is being able to lead a hotel. He never envisioned being in this type of position. He learns each and every day from colleagues and feels learning from them is the secret of leadership.
(From the floor) Describe one situation that you can’t talk about to the degree you are able to talk about.
Joan – A myriad of challenges at work. They have to do movie classification (all movies). She finds it very satisfying to see where consumers have been wronged and they have been able to get them restitution.
Reid – The hotel getting sued for everything. And most of the time it is very silly and petty stuff. As an example – a guest checked out really early (4am). The printer was broken so no bill could be printed. He was very upset because he wanted to do his expense report. He phoned to complain and sent Reid an invoice for the time he spent on the complaint.
(From the floor) What is your favourite things about Victoria
Reid – Golf year round.
Joan – Hiking and walking..