Hawaii Hospitality January/February 2015 - (Page 20)

10 Tips for Hotel Engineering Departments Do's and don'ts from engineering chiefs at three Waikiki hotels BY DAVID PUTNAM A ll day, every day-that's the normal work schedule for engineers at Hawaii's hotels and resorts. Behind the scenes, while guests eat, play and sleep, there is a flurry of activity as engineers work around the clock to keep the buildings' systems operating at peak capacity. "If you ask anyone what the engineering department is, the answer is usually, 'They're the department that fixes things.' In actuality, we are much more than that," says Reuben Nakagawa, chief engineer at Embassy Suites - Waikiki Beach Walk. "The main function of the engineering department is to repair, replace and/or maintain all furniture, fixtures and equipment of the hotel." To be certain, without an engineering department there can be no hotel. And just imagine the ripping reviews on websites like Yelp that a hotel would get without engineers to keep such services as electricity, air conditioning, hot water, kitchen and laundry equipment, trash chutes and elevators and escalators all running smoothly. In short, there would be no customers. "How an engineering employee performs his or her duties and how they represent the department are the most important factors," Nakagawa says. For some do's and don'ts on running an effective engineering department, Hawaii Hospitality sought the advice of Nakagawa, Randall Morisako, chief engineer at Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort, an Outriggermanaged property, and Joe Wyka, chief engineer of the Hale Koa Hotel, the Armed Forces Recreation Center resort. PRACTICE GREEN INITIATIVES Morisako: This helps with energy efficiencies, safety, health and the wellbeing of the property and the staff. The property has saved thousands of dollars with the implementation to 20 Hawaii Hospitality January/February 2015 ■ CFLs and heat sensors for in-room air conditioning, which also resulted in reducing energy waste. The recycling of guest and employees' bottles and plastics not only extends the usefulness of its original purpose, but also generates dollars that are donated to charity. MISSION AND VISION Nakagawa: Having a mission statement to guide the department is key. It defines what is expected of the employee and how they will perform the duties of the department. Here at Embassy Suites - Waikiki Beach Walk our department's mission statement is "Through unity and teamwork, we will foster our aloha spirit and culture GOOD SHOPKEEPING Morisako: Neat and orderly, able to find things easily-it's the essence of good time management because you don't have to waste precious time to find what you need to get the job done. Everyone participates and everyone reaps the benefits. STANDARDS, PROCEDURES Nakagawa: Department standards and procedures clearly define to the employee why they are in the department, how they will represent the department and how the department operates most efficiently as well as how and when to perform their duties. "Our employees make up the department, and my job as chief engineer is to guide them. My belief is, if you take care of the employee, the employee will take care of you, and everything else will fall into place. They will take ownership, they will be there when needed and they will represent the department well." -Reuben Nakagawa to our guests and fellow employees." This mission statement encourages employees to work, learn and support each other as a team and perform their duties with the spirit of aloha. Wyka: Most properties have a vision already, but what is your Engineering Vision? Lay out in simple terms where you are as a property, where you want to go, and how you intend to get there. Incorporate feedback into your plan and then execute it aggressively. Ask yourself with every task: Does this fit into our Engineering Vision and Property Vision? Make sure it lines up with and supports the overall Property Vision. BE TECHNICALLY PROFICIENT Wyka: It is critically important to be technically sound and capable. Leaders above you will make big decisions based on your advice, so it has to be correct. Your workforce will only follow you if you can speak their language and understand their challenges. TRAINING AND IMPROVING Morisako: Good on-the-job and safety training both are critical to ensuring a job is done correctly, according to our standards, and safely. Nakagawa: Effective training ensures each member of our engineering team

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hawaii Hospitality January/February 2015

Women & Their Power
HLTA’s Culinary Gala
HRA for the Holidays
Gun Tourism
When Visitors Get Sick
Luxury Limo Services
Na Poe Paahana Awards
Tips from Engineers
Women in Lodging
Aloha Ambassadors
News Briefs
Talk Story
At the Table

Hawaii Hospitality January/February 2015