Lodging figure honored for hospitality
It was 1978, and Kim McClelland and his future wife, Judy, were seniors in college.
From Michigan, McClelland went to Michigan State University to become a hotel or resort manager. He did not want to work in a big city or a big hotel, so the two went on a road trip to the mountain towns of the West.
The Colorado resorts of Vail, Breckenridge and Steamboat were first. They then arrived in Park City, at a time when skiing was emerging as the successor to silver mining as the city’s primary industry.
"Even back then there was something special and unique," McClelland said on Wednesday, as he was honored with a major tourism award. "You could tell it was different and more friendly."
The Park City Chamber/Bureau presented McClelland with the Myles Rademan Spirit of Hospitality Award, named after City Hall’s longtime Public Affairs director and the first recipient of the award.
The crowd at Silver Lake Lodge in upper Deer Valley warmly received McClelland, who has worked in the lodging industry since he moved to Park City, giving him a standing ovation.
He told the audience, which included leaders in diverse fields, he was grateful. He spoke briefly about past winners like the late Park City Mountain Resort patriarch Nick Badami.
"I’m really humbled to be included in the same sentence as those folks," McClelland said, telling the crowd other people in the room on Wednesday are more deserving of the award than himself.
He praised what he considers the cooperation in the Park City business community, said it is important to build relationships in the industry, talked about community service and urged people to find top-shelf mentors.
McClelland, who is an executive with Premier Resorts, said Park City is a nice place to raise a family.
Over the years, he said, Park City struggled to convince skiers Park City was an easy trip offering three mountain resorts.
It was not until after the 2002 Winter Olympics, when the Park City area staged about half of the events, that many skiers realized Park City sits just outside Salt Lake City and its international airport, he said. The lodges and hotels, meanwhile, have worked together to boost Park City, he said.
"There’s a great sense of cooperation," McClelland said.
When he moved to Park City, McClelland expected he would not build his career locally. He figured he would stay for a year and then move elsewhere.
""Thirty years ago, when we came from Michigan, we thought, at most, we’d be here a year," McClelland said.
Past winners of the award are:
Rademan, who promoted Park City extensively as City Hall’s Public Affairs director and as lecturer who speaks about growth in the modern-day West.
Badami, who led PCMR as it became an internationally known resort.
Stein Eriksen, an Olympic skiing champion and Deer Valley Resort icon.
Brad Olch, a former Park City mayor who was a key figure in the city’s 2002 Winter Olympic efforts.
Teri Orr, who helms the Park City Performing Arts Foundation, which runs the Eccles Center.
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