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Grainger Everyday Heroes: Hotel Engineer

10/23/19
Grainger Editorial Staff

It was a beautiful morning in San Antonio. On the River Walk, a stream of tourists strolled past the iconic facade of the El Tropicano Hotel. Inside, Kevin Hicks, the El Tropicano’s asset manager, was walking through the lobby, eager to see what the day would bring. “I never really know what I’ll be working on until the day starts,” Kevin said. “We’re always in the middle of an ongoing project, but every day brings new challenges. And that’s what’s interesting about my job.”

As the hotel’s asset manager, Kevin’s job is to “make sure everything stays running,” he said. And that can be a handful: the 306-room building was the first to be built on the city’s downtown River Walk, opening in 1962. “It’s a beautiful property,” Kevin said. “It’s been around a long time, and I get to make sure it stays around a lot longer.”

No Second Chances

Keeping the hotel running smoothly requires a wide range of skills. “What I love the most about the job here is the simple fact that no two days are ever the same,” Kevin said. “Bottom line, there’s a new challenge every day.”

And in hotel maintenance, there are no second chances to do the job right. “Some guests are just here for one night, others stay a week,” Kevin said. “So our goal is to make sure everything is perfect from the moment they check in. The challenges come every minute, every second of the day. We just have to adapt and fix it.”

The hotel’s guests expect Kevin to fix the building’s systems quickly, but the El Tropicano can’t possibly keep all the equipment he might need on hand. “The main parts we consume are plumbing and HVAC equipment,” he said, “but I try to keep my inventory low.” That requires a close partnership with his suppliers. “I let them do my warehousing for me, and I’ve been able to get everything when I need it.”

A Job Well Done

Keeping the El Tropicano running smoothly is a never-ending job, but Kevin gets plenty of satisfaction from his work. “I take a lot of pride in knowing that when I finish a job, it’s fixed right,” he said. “When I walk away from the project, it’s done and I know we’re not going to hear anything else about it.”

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

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