Pacific Islands Club Saipan general manager Hiro Sugie announced the promotion of David C. Duenas to director of Rooms, an executive position.
“David has been a key part of our success, having been with the company since it began operations in 1987, and we are elated about his promotion to the executive level,” said Sugie.
Duenas will have the primary responsibility for the Rooms Department comprising of the Front Office, Guest Relations, PBX Operator, Guest Services, and Housekeeping Department.
Duenas’ career with PIC Saipan began as a Front Desk supervisor, after having worked for a year at the former Hafadai Beach Hotel in Garapan. Duenas said, “I saw the advertisement in the newspaper, and decided to apply for the position, although I did not have a lot of experience working at a hotel.”
Born and raised on Saipan, Duenas does not shy away from strenuous work.
While in high school, Duenas earned money by mowing lawns and yard-cleaning on the weekends. “That’s how I learned about making money and I worked hard even under the hot sun, to become independent.”
When asked why he chose a career in the hospitality industry, Duenas said, “I’ve always dealt with customers, be it the yard owners, or hotel guests, and so I learned early on that without guests and customers, the business cannot survive. We have to provide the best services so that our guests come back again.”
Duenas spoke at length about the crew he works with, and how much he is enjoying his job because of the support that he receives from everyone. “He’s cool, even if we make mistakes,” commented Davrine Joab, PBX operator.
When problems do occur, he seeks input from managers and supervisors to quickly resolve the glitches. He says, a good leader listens and strives for effective communication. To be successful, in Duenas’ opinion, one must be a constant learner, especially in the field of information technology (IT).
Colleagues at the PIC describe Duenas as “fair”, “tough,” and “accessible.” “He’s easy to talk to and we know that he’s consistent with decisions that he makes,” said Anna Yushkova, assistant Front Office manager.
One challenge that Duenas faces as the director is the hiring of staff at the supervisory level. Most employees are hired at the entry level as a front desk clerk.
“Training the staff the required skills and responsibilities enables them to move up through the ranks,” said Duenas.
The PIC Saipan, particularly the Front Office, is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, operation. Another hurdle Duenas encounters is the scarcity of applicants who can speak a foreign language, a valuable skill for employees working at the Front Desk.
Visitors that stay at the PIC Saipan are primarily from Korea, Japan, Russia, and China, Duenas credits the first PIC Saipan general manager, Terry Short, as making an impact in developing his career path. Short was hired out of Australia, and while he was on Saipan, was well-known for expressing genuine concern for the wellbeing of PIC employees. “He made sure our employees were happy, and in turn, the employees would strive to make our guests happy too,” Duenas said.
At one time Duenas was a member of the Northern Marianas Island Football Association and competed on a national level representing the CNMI in Guam against other countries including Macau, Cambodia, and Guam. He enjoys spending his free time learning how to make his own household repairs. “I watch YouTube when it comes to building things or working with a new tool.” Duenas enjoys kayaking with his family, Tricia and daughters, Anuhea, Anela and Ale’a.
Duenas has explained to his family that the phone could ring at any time of the day or night. Despite this, Duenas stresses the importance of taking time off to spend time with family. “Planning, scheduling, and organizing with my family, that helps keep me organized at work too,” Duenas stated.
Any word of advice from this newly-promoted executive? Duenas offers a few words, “Never give up,” “Learn from your mistake” and “Be sure to get enough rest for the next day shift.” Duenas added, “Be active with your family and make healthy choices in life and stay fit.”