Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Fortney

Eli Fortney

Executive Chef, Topnotch Resort

Eli Fortney grew up in Montpelier, Vermont. A high school community-based learning program led him an internship at A Single Pebble, a fine-dining classic Chinese restaurant. During his time there, the restaurant was recognized as the best restaurant in Vermont by several publications. His experience incited a passion to continue his education at The Culinary Institute of America, where he interned and became sous chef for a fine dining restaurant group in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mr. Fortney's culinary curiosity led him to the prestigious Broadmoor Resort in Colorado, the country's oldest five-star/five-diamond property, and then to Las Vegas. A variety of positions on the strip gave him experience in high-volume, fast casual, and fine dining. He was chosen to collaborate with celebrity chef Kerry Simon in opening a gourmet burger restaurant. He continued his career in hotel dining for Maine-based Olympia Hotel Management Group, which led him to Portland, Maine, and Durham, North Carolina. During his time with Olympia Hotel Management Group, Mr. Fortney worked with a team that together earned the distinction of being named the number one hotel out of over 660 properties worldwide for a Hilton brand. Mr. Fortney is accredited as a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Administrator by the American Culinary Federation. Mr. Fortney's desire to return to his roots led him to explore opportunities in his home state of Vermont. He is currently the Executive Chef for Topnotch Resort and Spa, where he oversees all aspects of the culinary team for two restaurants and a high-volume banquet and catering department.

Please visit http://www.topnotchresort.com for more information.

Mr. Fortney can be contacted at 802-253-6479 or efortney@topnotchresort.com

Coming up in March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.