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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management


Thriving on the "Edge of Disaster"

Mark Lockridge, HRTM '03, is the club manager at the Augusta National Golf Club — a small private club that also just happens to host one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world. Oh yeah, and he's a self-diagnosed adrenaline junkie.

 "People in hospitality are adrenalin junkies," explains Mark. "And they get their adrenaline from being on the edge of disaster."

 As the club manager, Mark has over 100 people who report to him directly. “In a nutshell, I manage people. This includes services like housekeeping, front desk, food and beverage, chauffer and floral. So my day consists of tasks related to payroll, scheduling, training, uniforms, conflict resolution, and also being out and about in the club shaking hands and kissing babies.”

 But Mark explains that when you work with people, your game plan is kind of a suggestion. There’s always a situation that comes up that you couldn’t possibly prepare for. “You hope it goes this way. But what if it doesn’t? I need to be prepared to think calmly and rationally about a problem that presents itself, and then go and get the job done. That’s where my adrenaline comes from.”

 His ability to remain calm and rational was tested when a member began to choke. “We followed procedure and performed the Heimlich, but ultimately the paramedics came and saved his life.”

 That incident really put a lot into perspective for Mark, who observed the calm and deliberate actions of the paramedics. “I realized that if they came flying in, making a big scene, it would have even freaked ME out. In that moment, it was very clear to me that whomever is in charge of an issue really needs to remain calm because everyone is looking to you for direction.”

As far as Mark is concerned, every challenge is an opportunity to learn something new and encourages HRSM students to do things that make you feel uncomfortable.

 “Always put your hand up to volunteer. One thing that has been instrumental to my success is that if they need help doing something, my hand goes up. And if I need assistance, I’ll ask for help.”

 And ultimately, he encourages students to see every problem as an opportunity to meet or exceed someone’s expectations. “My whole job is about making a moment… making it memorable. And when that happens, it’s candy. You go home happy.”