Promontory hires new program director
Raymond T. Grant has had some big-name supervisors.
At his last job as executive director of Sundance Resort, Raymond T. Grant reported directly to Robert Redford. Possible presidential candidate Mitt Romney was his boss before that.
Prior to moving to Utah Grant worked for the Walt Disney Corporation, and served as the general manager to the American Symphony Orchestra.
Grant recently left the world of celebrity to take a position as the new director of programming and club operations at Promontory, The Ranch Club but his goal is to bring similar fame to his new employer as held by some of his old ones.
Grant said Promontory, a second-home community in Park City, is one of the premier communities in the country, and his job to get the word out.
"I’ve been brought in to animate the experience of Promontory by elevating the level of guest service," Grant said. "It’s so much more than just a ranch club. It’s a second-home community that is animated by distinguished programs in golf, mountain recreation, nature and the environment, and programs for children and youth."
"It’s a second-home community in which the landowners buy the right to become a member of the club community," he continued. "So in other words, you can’t be a member of the Promontory community without being a club member."
As far as memberships are concerned, Grant said there are varying levels, each of which includes different amenities.
"There are different membership levels: for example, you could be a homeowner that is a golf member, which would give you access to the golf courses," he said.
The golf courses at Promontory are one of its biggest attractions, Grant said. With courses designed by golf-greats Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, along with a new clubhouse opening New Year’s Eve.
"The clubhouse will have housed in it a restaurant that will allow me to pay attention to the particular focus of food at Promontory," he said. "When people think of food in a club atmosphere it’s not always with a thought of distinction. What we have here will be so different."
The recently hired executive chef at the restaurant is Parry Hendricks, who was the executive chef at The Metropolitan in Salt Lake City.
"I’m already building this team of programmers, whether it be in food or in golf or wherever, that will hopefully set Promontory apart as a community with a difference," Grant said of the addition.
Besides good food and great golf, Grant said Promontory is focused on keeping open space a large part of the community while expanding available activities.
"Promontory itself has a landmass of about 7,000 acres," he said. "Out of that 7,000 acres, about 50 percent is considered open space, so this notion of associating Promontory as a champion of open space will become something in the very near future that I’ll be spending a lot of my time on."
Grant said he has been surprised by how active the community members at Promontory are. He said they’re always looking for new things to try, new challenges to conquer.
"The members of Promontory are adventurous," he said. "I’ve been in posts where the activities I was in charge of marketing had to be dumbed down. That’s not the case here at Promontory because of how adventurous the guests here are."
Grant said his previous jobs prepared him to work at Promontory. His prior experiences helped him to put his "finger on the pulse of building community," which is the goal at Promontory. "Communities happen when people gather and people gather when programs are run the right way," he said.
"As executive director of Sundance I was in charge of all of the resort operations, which included Zoom in Park City," he said. "I was in charge of marketing; I was in charge of sales. But I was really brought it to expand the programs they have there, like I am here."
During his time at Sundance, ski sales grew more than 500 percent. He also helped occupancy grow immensely.
"I grew occupancy, which used to be around 37 percent during the Sundance Film Festival, to nearly being sold out all of the years I was there," he said. "I also helped Sundance expand beyond the offerings of film to more cultural offerings at the festival."
Grant said working for Redford was a joy and a privilege.
"It was remarkable," he said of working with the actor. "I felt honored to be invited into his creative orbit and that orbit is expansive he not only has interest in arts and culture, but is also very involved in things like the environment."
Before he took the job at Sundance in 2003, Grant served as the artistic director for the 2002 Olympic Arts Festival from 1998-2003.
"I reported directly to Mitt Romney and in his book he tells about the time he called me into his office and said, ‘Ray, the good news is you get to have a cultural program, but the bad news is you have to raise all the money for it,’" Grant said. "With the help of many generous donors the 2002 arts festival became the first Olympic arts festival to be privately funded."
Born and raised in New York, Grant earned a master’s degree in arts administration from New York University after completing his undergraduate work in music education and music therapy at Kansas University.
Although moving to Utah put him in an extremely different environment that New York, he said he was welcomed graciously into the Utah community.
"When you talk about ‘the Church’ where I’m from, you’re definitely not talking about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," he said. "The community threw its arms open for this Catholic boy from New York who readily admits he is a sinner."
With more than 120 homes under construction and 10 square-miles of recreation area at Promontory, Grant said his new community is doing well.
"I think the future is extremely bright at Promontory and not just in terms of good real estate values, but as a second-home community that can become very animated," he said. "The possibilities are more than any other community I know of."
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.