Due to Elevate 390 construction, this quarter’s EpicService nominees enjoyed a small ceremony with their nominators, CEO Rob Katz and CHRO Lynanne Kunkel. Following the ceremony, the nominees had the opportunity to eat breakfast with Rob and ask him their questions.

Meet the nominees:

Sean Counceller, IT
Nominated by Tom Finley
Sean can always be counted on to be all-in. His commitment to his work and his team is unparalleled. This was evident most recently when he happily stepped up to drive to Keystone for a 7:30 a.m. meeting with all the Keystone Manager staff to present and promote our latest digital product, Emma the Epic Mountain Assistant. When there was no one available on the Marketing team to do this, Sean gladly put on his Marketer hat and represented his colleagues back at Broomfield.

Bridget Hopkins, HR
Nominated by Carol Fabrizio
As a relatively new leader taking on a large team, I knew I would need a lot of HR support. What I did not except was the relentless commitment and outstanding support from Bridget. She goes above and beyond in every way - in her advice, her responsiveness, her willingness to help track down answers on just about anything. And, she does it with authenticity and a great sense of humor, even while dealing with an incredibly challenging workload of her own.

Kaitlyn Huston, HR
Nominated by Jay Taylor
I traveled to Okemo for supply chain and Coupa integration training. In my very first session one of the Okemo employees seemed very disengaged and frustrated.  When we broke for lunch, she and her Director shared with me that, due to an I-9 issue, she was terminated in the HR system on two occasions and with no solution in sight.

I reached out to Kaitlyn and in the short time we had for lunch between training sessions, Kaitlyn diagnosed the issue and worked with the local HR team to resolve it. The Okemo employee and her co-workers were shocked when they returned from lunch and I was able to tell them the issue was resolved. From that point forward this employee and her team were fully engaged, and this represented a major turning point in how my team was perceived as being there to help and support.

Gene Kucinkas, Hospitality Revenue Management
Nominated by Allie Scott
Gene developed a complex report for the Vacation Rental team that takes data from multiple systems, turning a completely manual process into an automated one. Over the last year he’s been working on this report, Gene’s saved our team more than 25 hours a week to be able to get other tasks done - which are more important to the overall revenue-generating goals of our team.

Jason Lee, HR
Nominated by Holly Lomas and Maleena Kaila
Jason Lee is a great support to us here at Whistler Blackcomb. He is always willing to help whenever we are unsure or stuck on an issue, and supports us with great communication between WB and Corporate, even when he has a lot on his plate.

Ben Oglesby, Internal Audit
Nominated by Alex Salem and Jim Wilson
Ben put in the extra effort and long hours as part of the Internal Audit team’s support for the Company’s financial audit. With a smile on his face and lots of Jimmy Johns, Ben communicated proactively and made sure his significant workload was accurate and easy to follow. His efforts are recognized and appreciated!

Krista Prescott, Marketing
Nominated by Jennifer Hanson Vanas and Kathryn Hagen
Krista has led the Military Epic Pass project since the onset. She has been an integral part of the program from product launch and announcement of the program, to leading the verification process. This program is complex and is unlike any other product offering that Vail Resorts has launched in recent years, and Krista's drive and perseverance has been admirable. She brought key stakeholders together keeping everyone on track and solution oriented. The Military Epic Pass will be life changing for some of our veterans this season, and Krista has dedicated countless hours to this program and its success!

Kate Rath, Public Affairs & Sustainability 
Nominated by Sam Lentz
I’d like to recognize Kate Rath for her role in EpicPromise Week this September. Not only did she help coordinate all of the Front Range events, she also took the lead to make each event zero waste! I volunteered at the Corwina project where Kate was stationed and, despite it being a very cold morning, her excitement was contagious. She made each of the volunteers feel welcome, got us excited for the day's work, and continued to check in on each group to ensure everyone was having fun. Kate is the embodiment of Do Good and Have Fun and her passion for EpicPromise and our Commitment to Zero is contagious.

Nominated by Virva Aryan
Since its inception, Kate has been an incredibly vital member of our Commitment to Zero team in Broomfield. Equipped with a go-getter spirit and tenaciously positive attitude, Kate is the sole reason our team is even slightly organized and on track with all our projects and sustainability endeavors. She relentlessly lends us her talents and time, including designing all our poster communications and participating in our waste audits. Our team would only be half as successful without her leadership. She truly brings out the best in us, and is a living symbol of what it means to Do Good and Do Right. I can't think of anyone who has demonstrated greater Epic Service to everyone around them, than Kate.

David Rickli, Health and Safety
Nominated by Sarah Lange
David went above and beyond in leading the first of what I hope will be many Safety Day Fairs. He planned for every detail, which made the day a success and minimized the stress that sometimes comes along with setting up a big event like this. I think he may have missed his calling as an event planner!

Sara Schwandt, VRR Operations
Nominated by Dustin Hunt
Sara is the Swiss Army knife of the Operations team. She has become the crucial pivot point between cross functional teams within the organization and the operational team. For the team in the Drive Up market, Sara has been a key component behind the EMG rebrand, integration and multiple new initiatives. She has been able to do all of these simultaneously while focusing on the communication between everyone on the teams to ensure things run smoothly. This all happened during a busy month with lots of changes and we couldn’t have done it without her.  

Brian Sullivan, VRR Finance
Nominated by Dustin Hunt
Following the first week of Ski Rex, the Drive Up team needed to payout commissions and learn a new reporting tool for commissions. Brian stepped in and offered to train the Admin and me on short notice. He also took the initiative to rerun the new report using the new parameters we provided him.

Brian identified a $20,000 over-payment variance between the initial report we ran and the report he ran on his own. His ability to be Out Front helped us catch the discrepancy early enough that we could correct the error before payroll finished processing for the pay period. Without Brian taking the initiative to research this reporting flaw on his own, it would have caused financial and employee issues in the Drive Up market.

Danielle Tabor, HR
Nominated by Jason Skurcenski
Danielle provided full-time HR support on the four resorts integration effort program. She provided first-class administrative support of the HR Project, including meeting scheduling, note taking, resort coordination, onsite support at Stevens Pass and Okemo for close, and troubleshooting resort HR issues. Her hard work and dedication resulted in a very coordinated Day 1 for each of the four resorts!

Andrew Taylor, Talent Acquisition
Nominated by Brian Schaffer, Jay Taylor and Tina Sampson
Andy Taylor is creating a hiring Experience of a Lifetime for both Managers and candidates.

Jay Taylor shared that he has witnessed the way in which, despite very busy schedules, they have been able to hire for their team because of the above-and-beyond efforts of Andy. Because of Andy’s efforts, we have been able to make several important hires, which has been incredibly important during this high-volume period.

Tina Sampson said working with Andy to fill a role on the Sales team was “the best hiring experience I have ever had and I give all the credit to Andy.” He was very responsive in discussing the role, and screening applications and candidates. His communication and efficiency in setting candidates up for calls or in-person interviews was incredible! I can’t say enough good things about Andy or this process.

Jay Taylor, Procurement
Nominated by Kelsey Durall
Jay is a role model for others when it comes to supporting the Company’s Commitment To Zero, and has motivated many others to get involved. He keeps “Net Zero” front of mind in his work with suppliers and stakeholders by finding ways to support sustainable purchasing. In addition to the heavy work load he carries in Procurement, he runs an alternative recycling program from his desk--collecting common TerraCycle items such as dog food bags and Cliff bar wrappers that cannot properly be disposed of in our building. People often visit his desk for a sorting consult before disposing of their trash.

Vidya Thayumanavan, HR
Nominated by Logan Payne
As part of our implementation of the new LIFT platform we had a massive data clean-up effort. Our team was working under tight deadlines and needed help addressing the data issues.

Vidya was quick to volunteer to help and was able to quickly get up-to-speed. She completed the work on time while using her analytical skills to clean our data in a sustainable and scalable manner. Vidya takes a solution-oriented and methodical approach to her projects, connecting with teammates to ensure she is on the right path and delivering quality work.

Vanessa Waltmans, VRR Merchandising
Nominated by Leah Hollinder
Vanessa truly provided EpicService by leading and organizing the Merchant Team Kickoff activities for our annual Ops Kickoff Meeting. She re-imagined the format this year and coordinated lots of engaging, fun, and educational activities for more than 300 store employees. In addition to her everyday workload, Vanessa spent many hours planning and organizing this amazing event and it was a huge success. Numerous vendor partners and employees came up to me to rave about what an amazing job Vanessa did.

Katie Watt, Employee Communications
Nominated by Sinead O'Donnell
This year, in an effort to further move toward our Commitment to Zero, we introduced an employee app at the 2018 Leadership Summit. Katie was assigned to take on the responsibility of making sure this was a success.

During the summit she was working from before sunrise until late into the evening each day to ensure this was a success, even during the same week she was closing on her new house and moving. Her dedication, and long days and nights ensured she elevated the experience of all the attendees of the Leadership Summit and moved the Employee Communications strategy forward – and she did it all with a smile.

Mike Peck, JJ Cascio, Jon Buschbacher and Paulette Bolles, Season Pass Sales
Nominated by Sarah Lange
In October I had the honor of helping out for the season kickoff at Epic Mountain Gear in Boulder at the pass desk, distributing passes to guests once they were printed.

That day also happened to be the last day that guests could take advantage of the Epic School Kids pass deal. The store was full of what Mike referred to as “Pass-crastinators” – the line was 45 minutes long all day long! Mike, JJ, Jon and Paulette never let the line stop them from giving each guest epic guest service, the smile never left their faces and they were so professional and knowledgeable about our Pass products, merchandise in the store, and they were able to answer any question a guest asked. 

Chris Phillips, Ryan Van Stelten, Dan Willman, Matt Puccio, Ben Tarr and Greg Gingo, VRR IT
Nominated by Dustin Hunt
The month of September could not have thrown more at the IT team than it did in the Drive Up Market. From the Epic Mountain Gear rebrand to Electronic Service Ticket to integration to Ski Rex, we kept this team on speed dial. We leaned on Chris, Ryan, Dan, Matt, Ben and Greg heavily during all these technical changes within the Market. With positive attitudes and quick responses, this entire team stepped in to support wherever and whenever needed. Without IT efficiency, the store teams and the field leaders would not have been able to do their jobs effectively.