Hurricane Elena lingered for three days in the Gulf of Mexico, causing damage from the Sarasota area north to the Panhandle. But Casa del Mar General Manager D.M. Williams wasn’t weathering the storm.
Instead, he was dancing with the Cripple Creek Cloggers in the Great Geauga County Fair, in Burton, Ohio. He returned to find 3 feet of dirt deposited outside the hotel buildings. So he called his fellow clogger, Mark Meador, who worked for a sprinkler company in Bradenton and put him to work.
That was 1985. This weekend Meador, who is now assistant general manager, will celebrate his 25th year with Casa del Mar.
According to Williams, Meador is a man of many talents.
He started working in irrigation and landscaping. Today, he does everything from managing to creating a budget to ensuring that every room has WiFi.
“Mark is a computer whiz,” Williams said.
A Florida native, Meador is familiar with local fauna. Under his leadership, the property has won numerous awards from groups, including the Longboat Key Garden Club. On many occasions he has climbed a ladder to care for the property’s world-record setting cotton plants; he even tended to the plants at midnight last winter when temperatures hit unusual lows.
But Williams said that Meador’s talents aren’t just work-related. Williams once attended a Christmas concert that Meador’s mother produced.
“Just at the beginning of the concert as the pianist began to play, Mark picked up a bass guitar and began to play,” he said. “I said, ‘I didn’t know he could do that.’”
During that concert, Meador also played saxophone and sang.
Williams said that in 25 years, Meador has been late once — by two minutes. But that has long since been forgiven.
“He’s A-plus in my book,” Williams said.
Reflecting on his quarter-century at Casa del Mar, Meador has made many memories over the years — from Easter egg hunts to Christmas caroling to waiting out tropical storms on the property. But Meador is modest when it comes to the secret for his success.
“I’d say I had a good teacher,” he said.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].