Welcome Aboard, Ed! How does it feel to be at the helm of Bitter End Yacht Club?
There are so many thoughts that come to mind…it is more than your typical excitement of taking on a new project. Bitter End Yacht Club is a place I have known for years – a place I would visit on my boat for an afternoon or Sunday brunch. I have always admired the family-run business and their commitment to the North Sound and the community. I start my day smiling when I arrive at the dock to get on the boat and transfer across the North Sound to work—this is not a bad commute! I am excited to start my day knowing I am helping to usher in a new chapter for Bitter End and continuing a rich maritime legacy.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how your experience has prepared you for the role of General Manager at BEYC?
My career began in the food and beverage industry where I had the opportunity to work in cities, islands, and resorts worldwide. I have had the unique experience of being at the helm in many remote locations—leading teams and operations where you must be self-sufficient. Creating wonderful experiences for guests from around the world – one must be logistically savvy to deliver a world-class experience. I thrive on creating a culture of positivity and a team that thrives on delivering personalized service to our guests.
Bitter End YC has a storied history. What excites you the most about being at the helm of the next chapter of BEYC's legacy?
First and foremost, I am grateful to the Hokin family, who has entrusted me with this special place. Founded as a family retreat in 1973, Bitter End organically grew to a world-class resort over 50 years. I take this responsibility very seriously. What excites me is that the family, even after destruction from Hurricane Irma, has continued to re-invest in BEYC while adding new onshore accommodations to complement our world-class marina, restaurants, retail spaces and robust activities programs. From my purview…the best is yet to come for Bitter End YC.
Bitter End Yacht Club is known for its commitment to sustainability and the environment. What initiatives or practices will you be championing in this regard?
The Hokin family has always been committed to respecting the natural habitat and ecosystem surrounding BEYC – I am personally passionate about protecting our sea life and reefs and fostering how we operate as good stewards of the environment here in the North Sound.
What is next on the horizon in Bringing Back Bitter End? Could you share any exciting upcoming projects and enhancements that we can look forward to in the near future?
We are currently focused on building more onshore accommodations to complement our marina and nautical village. When complete, BEYC will have a boutique hotel of approximately 20 unique land-based opportunities including Marina Lofts, Beachfront Bungalows and Hillside Cottages. Beyond the hotel rooms, we plan for a hillside pool, spa and the return of our yacht club membership.
Guests and members of Bitter End often have a deep connection to the club. What is Bitter End's secret sauce? Are there defining characteristics that make Bitter End Yacht Club stand out among other island outposts worldwide?
What I loved about my arrival to BEYC was learning about our guiding principles, which speak to my own service ethos. Our foundation is built on pillars such as: Guests Feel at Home, Do the Right Thing, and Employees are Family. These build on the characteristics I embrace, such as treating others as you would like to be treated. Creating a team of great attitudes with a "can do" spirit and inspiring our crew to have a deeper understanding of meaningful hospitality is a rewarding task.
We will let you get back to the task at hand. Any closing thoughts?
Although I am fortunate to have traveled to all seven continents and 68 countries, Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands has always been a special place to me — combine the location with the legendary property and I am probably the most fortunate General Manager in the industry. If you are sailing our waters or planning a trip to the Caribbean, come by and see us. I would love to personally meet you on our docks and share the place I have come to love…Bitter End Yacht Club.