Effective today, Gloria Cavanagh is the new general manager of the Pacific Islands Club Saipan in San Antonio.
The announcement coincided with the introduction of Inter Pacific Resorts Saipan Corp. as PIC’s new management.
According to Cavanagh, she has been working at PIC for over a week now as part of the transitional team.
“I am working closely with Yoshihito Shibahata, former PIC general manager, as he will remain until the end of February to basically tie up the projects that he has been working on and he will finish that for us. The staff so far has been extremely wonderful and friendly. I look forward to getting in and to try to make it better than it is today,” she said.
The former Mariana Resort and Spa general manager said she is adjusting quite well in her new stomping grounds at PIC.
“I am excited being in a new job and new environment—we call it the PIC way of life and smile. You walk out of the office, you hear the people having fun in the water park, and that just makes you feel good,” she said.
Cavanagh is a veteran in guest relations, whether in tourism or hotel operations.
“In Guam, I worked as general manager of Guam International Country Club owned by Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd. for 14 years. When they sold the golf course, they asked me if I was interested in running the operations of the Mariana Resort and Spa on Saipan,” she said
“I moved here on Dec. 1, 2010, and I love it on Saipan. This is probably the last place that I will have a career. I love Saipan and we have no intention of moving back to Guam,” she added.
According to Cavanagh, managing PIC is very different and this challenge is something she is prepared to undertake.
“The tourism destination market has become so competitive. What we want to do is to bring back and strengthen the PIC brand and philosophy and, to do that, we are looking into adding and changing some activities within the waterpark,” she said.
“We are looking at improving the facility itself as we have our list of items that we are looking at. Last year, for the Tinian and Rota wings, they renovated all the bathrooms. Little by little we are renovating the actual guest rooms and the public areas and we want to expand the property to possibly build more rooms, depending on how the market goes and eligible workforce,” she said.
Cavanagh is aware of the lease issues that concerns PIC and other hotels that are built on public lands.
“PIC only has the office and parking lot that are on public lands so it’s not the whole property. However, Public Law 20-35 hopes to extend the leases of these hotels and this is something that I’ve been working and advocating for since I moved on island because Mariana Resort was actually the first one to have its lease expire,” she said.
“Through the Hotel Association of the Mariana Islands, we are also looking after and working for all the existing hotels. We are praying and hoping that the bill moves in the House and hopefully to be voted for and approved by the signature of the governor,” she added.
Cavanagh said she left Mariana Resort and Spa in good hands.
“I left Mariana Resort knowing that it is in good hands and, although I’m not involved with it, I know they are working on some solutions. The interim general manager is executive chef William Retardo,” she said.
“Retardo has been there for 27 years and he has been more or less my right hand man and confidant for at least the last four years. He knows the resort inside and out and I know he will do a good job,” she said.
Currently, PIC is safe from the workforce issue that is plaguing the CNMI.
“PIC’s workforce is good [as] we have 80 percent U.S. hire. Of course, we are still rushing with those skilled workers and get our job vacancy announcement to be able to file for our CW-1s but we are pretty safe as is,” Cavanagh said.
“Our patrons can expect bigger and better things this year, starting with the new slide feature at the waterpark, which also opens today,” Cavanagh added.