Wiesbaden Army Lodge supervisor best Army-wide
February 12, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - There must be something in the water in Wiesbaden that breeds excellence.
After a host of accomplishments in the past two years -- Housing Manager of the Year, Installation Management Command Stalwart Runner-Up, Army Community of Excellence Gold and Sustainment Awards and IMCOM-E Youth of the Year Runner Up among other honors, the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden can now also celebrate having the best Army Lodging Supervisor of the Year.
Lincoln Wakefield, assistant manager of the Wiesbaden Army Lodge, was recently recognized by the Department of the Army with the prestigious recognition.
"He cares about people," said Wiesbaden Army Lodge manager, Jim Weber. "We call him Mr. Care, the King of Service. It's that feeling he has -- how he takes care of people -- those he supervises and our guests."
As a new facility -- the 164-guest-room Wiesbaden Army Lodge having replaced the long-serving American Arms Hotel in Wiesbaden in January 2011 -- there was a big expectation among newcomers and guests at the lodge, Weber said.
Wakefield's previous experience at the American Arms and know-how helped ensure a successful transition, Weber said. "He puts himself in the guests' shoes and that's how he gets that commitment from the staff as well. … He's always fair, and it comes through -- you can't fake that kind of stuff."
Weber, who was named the Army Lodging Manager of the Year in 2004, said Wakefield's contributions are invaluable. "He makes my job a lot easier. There aren't many supervisors in the world who generally care about people like he does."
Wakefield, who started in the business as a club aid with Morale Welfare and Recreation after having served in the military and attending college, learned by doing with a steady progression through front desk clerk, reservations manager and eventually serving as assistant manager at the American Arms.
"I've learned a lot by doing. … I think I'm pretty grounded in the concepts and demands of lodging in the military and commercial business worldwide. … You learn everything from everyone you come in contact with and try to apply it to this big word 'hospitality,'" he said.
Among those lessons learned was helping maintaining the "concept of homey feeling" that guests enjoyed at the American Arms and applying it to the more commercial environment of the new lodge.
The lodge served about 50,000 guests in fiscal year 2012.
Wakefield, who said he hopes to be running a lodge sometime in the future, praised the mentorship of Weber and the support of his fellow staff members.
"Winning the award is pretty darn cool. It says a lot for the people I work for and with. I know it sounds like a cliche," he said, "but if it wasn't for them it would have never happened."
His only regret was the Wiesbaden Army Lodge not having yet won Army Lodge of the Year honors in the annual competition. "That would have been the pinnacle," he said.
"Every day everyone struggles with different challenges, but the support we receive from virtually every activity we come in contact with has been superb," Wakefield added, praising the Directorate of Public Works and other organizations that help make Wiesbaden's lodge continue to operate smoothly and successfully.
"Our support element staff agencies do a super job of taking care of us and helping make our guests enjoy their stay in one of the premier lodging facilities in Europe," he said.