by Buz Whelan
Shortly after Ryan Culverson became Community Center manager in November of 2008 I stopped by to introduce myself. I was the board president at the time and I was anxious to meet GM Gil Werner’s new hire. Seeing him in his office (and fully knowing his proper name) I said, “You must be Brian.” “Ryan,” he corrected me. “Whatever,” I answered beginning our gag greeting that lasted until his final day on the job. I’ll miss him. So, this is my Valentine to Ryan, a good CC manager and a good man.
When Ryan arrived the Community Center had problems. In the dining room the food was of low quality, to say the least, and in the bar the atmosphere was tense and unwelcoming. Ryan had his challenges. But now, as he leaves us, the food is the best it has ever been (thank you, Chef Todd) and the bar rocks with laughter and fellowship drawing SRO crowds night after night. The Community Center has become the place to be on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. A large measure of the credit for this dramatic turnaround belongs to Ryan Culverson.
Make no mistake: if you didn’t do your job, if you didn’t make members feel welcome, if you couldn’t provide food that pleased diners, and if you simply didn’t have good work habits, Ryan was your worst enemy. He was the type of boss who recognizes good service but is intolerant of something less than that. There is a raft of former employees who can attest to that fact. And it’s exactly what the association and the center needed. He standardized training and established a professionalism in the staff that will extend long beyond his time here. He did this with an eye to the details that make visits to the CC all the more pleasant.
Ryan’s parties were great, but the best was always Halloween…and it was Ryan’s favorite as well. I attended several and they were raucously happy affairs, indeed. Ryan was at his best in costume, obviously enjoying hosting the happy, laughing, costumed party goers. You could tell what a good time he was having and it was infectious. Memories are made of nights like those.
Sad as I am that Ryan is leaving, this isn’t an obituary. Ryan has completed the first level of his nurse training, obtained his A.A. in General Studies, passed his boards and is now a Licensed Practical Nurse. He also received the Evelyn Fallon Award for Clinical Excellence. He soon begins work at Pleasant Valley Manor, a nursing care and rehabilitation facility. He will simultaneously begin working toward his B. Sc. N., a four year degree that will result in his becoming an RN. His ultimate goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner, and though admission standards to such a training program are rigorous, there is little doubt that Ryan will achieve that ideal. You could go broke underestimating Ryan Culverson.
Goodbye, Ryan. Godspeed.