2019 Navigator: Michael Guerrero will take on any job to help co-workers, customers
Service Excellence Professional of the Year: Michael Guerrero
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Michael Guerrero sat down for an interview about his rise in the Steamboat restaurant industry and his now beloved reputation among locals and visitors alike, he could not stop smiling.
Nervousness was one reason for the perpetual grin. As his coworkers at the Laundry explained, Guerrero would rather celebrate their successes than his own. He brings a similar mindset to the customers who walk through the restaurant doors, treating their satisfaction as paramount.
Laundry is one of seven locations under Rex’s Family of Restaurants, a higher-end option with a dark-stained wood and brick interior. Guerrero, its general manager, wants the experience to be intimate and sophisticated, a place for people to dine for pleasure as well as for business.
No matter their reason for coming, Guerrero aims to leave them with full bellies and happy faces.
“He really knows how to work a room,” said his boss, Tod “JJ” Johnson, senior manager at the restaurant. “He has a contagious smile.”
Guerrero started working in the Steamboat restaurant business as a humble busser for Mazzola’s, which has since joined the Rex’s conglomerate of restaurants. He steadily rose through the ranks over the years, learning as much as he could about the industry from his bosses.
A major lesson that Johnson taught him, as Guerrero remembers, is an attention to detail. Before the restaurant opens, Guerrero patrols the interior and exterior of the building, making minuscule adjustments to tables or wiping dirt from a floorboard.
According to Johnson, no job is below Guerrero as long as it helps his coworkers and the business.
“He’ll even jump in the dish pit if he needs to and do dishes,” Johnson said.
When customers start filing in for the evening, Guerrero takes on perhaps his most renowned role — that of a hospitable host.
What: 2019 Navigator Awards
When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6
Where: The Steamboat Grand, 2300 Mount Werner Road
“I try really hard to touch every table or greet every person at the door,” Guerrero said.
He meets people from all reaches of the globe, particularly during the busier summer and winter months. Many return to the restaurant on subsequent trips and ask for him.
“If you read our reviews, he is constantly mentioned,” Johnson said.
Angela Sherwood started working with Guerrero at Laundry two years ago, back when he was a bartender.
She still sees his eyes light up when guests arrive and that quintessential smile curling across his face.
“He is just happy you’re here,” she said.
BUSINESS LEADERS OF THE YEAR 1999 — Julie Green; 2000 — Rod Hanna; 2001 — Mike Lomas; 2002 — Andy Wirth; 2003 — Scott Ford; 2004 — Steve Dawes; 2005 — John Kerst; 2006 — Chris Diamond; 2007 — David Baldinger Jr.; 2008 — Rex Brice; 2009 — Chuck Porter; 2010 — David Nagel; 2011 — Grant Fenton; 2012 — Karl Gills; 2013 — Jim Schneider; 2014 — Ed MacArthur; 2015 — Bob Dapper; 2016 — Scott Marr; 2017 — Adonna Allen ; 2018 — Mark Walker
YOUNG PROFESSIONALS OF THE YEAR 2009 — Stacy Huffman; 2010 — Ryan Marsden; 2011 — Sara Ferris; 2012 — Stephany Traylor; 2013 — Chris Tamucci; 2014 — Sarah Fox; 2015 — Glen Traylor; 2016 — Nick Sharp; 2017 — Tara Weaver; 2018 — Jason Peasley
BUSINESSES OF THE YEAR 1999 — TIC; 2000 — Native Excavating; 2001 — Ore House at the Pine Grove; 2002 — SmartWool; 2003 — Ski Haus; 2004 — PostNet; 2005 — F.M. Light & Sons; 2006 — Off the Beaten Path bookstore; 2007 — Prudential Steamboat Realty; 2008 — Christy Sports; 2009 — BAP!; 2010 — Yampa Valley Bank; 2011 — Alpine Bank; 2012 — Colorado Mountain College; 2013 — Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare; 2014 — Yampa Valley Medical Center; 2015 — Rex’s Family of Restaurants; 2016 — Chief Theater; 2017 — Steamboat Springs Arts Council; 2018 — Freshies
SERVICE EXCELLENCE PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR: 2017 — Barbara Robinson; 2018 — Jason and Kelly Landers
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In an effort to connect better with their voters, Steamboat Springs City Council members will begin tabling at Ski Free Sundays, which are every Sunday at Howelsen Hill.