Tony Silva, already dressed up in black slacks and a white-collared short-sleeved shirt, seemed reluctant to wear a suit jacket, too. It didn’t really fit with his casual executive style.
“It doesn’t matter what you wear Tony; you’re the boss,” said Eddie Egerton, a rooms executive at the Hyatt Dulles in Herndon, helping Silva ease into the position of general manager at the hotel.
At 11, Silva was finding firsthand that it’s nice to be the boss.
SILVA AND THE REST of the fifth graders at Terraset Elementary School spent Friday, May 26 teaming up with employees in various departments at the hotel as part of Camp Hyatt Career Day. Some students greeted guests at the front desk. Others staffed the kitchen or helped with room service, while a few others worked the Bell Stand transporting luggage.
Even though it will be quite some time before the students choose a profession, the day helps expose them to the hospitality industry, said Michael Session, general manager, Hyatt Dulles. The hotel employs about 150 people.
Recognizing the growth of the industry — hospitality is growing faster than any other industry in the country and generates about $90 billion and employs about 18.5 million people, according to the U.S. Department of Labor — Hyatt has taken the program national, said Session.
BEFORE ATTENDING the career day, Silva earned the chance to shadow Session by winning an essay contest for all the fifth graders at Terraset. “It’s about the best job,” said Silva, both happy and surprised he’d won.
During a tour of the hotel, students had the chance to inspect guest rooms, the exercise room, the lobby and employee offices.
When Lilian Salmeron of human resources showed students a guest room on the 11th floor, students swarmed to the windows, buzzing about the view of Dulles Airport.
After learning a night’s stay in the room could cost as much as $500, a student asked Salmeron if any famous people stayed at the hotel.
“Yes,” said Salmeron, adding that a famous Spanish band was checking in over the weekend, which caused an even greater stir among the students.
After the tour, several students received uniforms before going off to their assignments. Emery McNeil and Oscar Vilchez-Perez, both 11, put on bellmen outfits and then spent the rest of the morning working with Edgardo Alvaran at the Bell Stand.
“SHADOWING IS great,” said Juliana Portugal, who just started as a front desk agent. Portugal, 18, participated in another career day held by the Hyatt Dulles for juniors at Herndon High School. “It gives you a view of the hotel business,” said Portugal. “It inspired me a whole lot.”
Dory Deweese and Drennan McLenigan, both 11, spent their day at the front desk, shadowing Portugal and Gretchen Rosales, another front desk agent.
“You learn to smile a lot,” said Deweese.