Brian Miller started out as a trail crew builder in Victoria and went on to Selkirk College in Castlegar, where he took the Wild and Recreation program. With his two-year diploma, he was hired for a summer as a back-country ranger in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. The following winter, he started working at Red Mountain Ski Resort, where he was introduced to the food and beverage industry.
Brian then moved to Alberta, first for a food & beverage job at Sunshine Village Ski Resort, and then to Canmore as F&B manager at a golf club. Continuing in golf management, he moved back to the Kootenays and became general manager at the Rossland-Trail Country Club. He became the general manager at his present course in Castlegar in 2002.
Brian has taken many courses in management, tourism, accounting, computers, first aid and motivation. He credits the Canadian Society of Club Managers with offering especially useful food and beverage programs. He currently manages a $1.2-million business, with a staff of some 20 people, 10 of whom are unionized, while he reports to a board of directors.
The most gratifying part of his job is that he provides a product that people enjoy. He particularly likes the diversity and challenges of his position. His main challenge, he says, is finding a balance between providing excellent service to his members and keeping the club financially viable.
He would definitely recommend his career to anyone who might enjoy the challenge of managing a property and reporting to a board of directors that is responsible to its members. The average half-life for a golf club manager is six or seven years, so there will always be opportunities opening up for new managers, he says.
Brian recommends completing a golf management program offered at a Canadian college. You must be prepared to work hard and continue to improve your skills as a manager, network with your peers, keep up on trends in the industry, and be a leader, not a follower.
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