Erik Willinhganz, Maintenance Manager
How long have you been with us at Sparkling Hill?
I have been with Sparkling Hill for three months! That went fast!
What is your role? Why did you choose to work at Sparkling Hill Resort?
I am the Maintenance Manager.
In the spring of 2018, I began feeling like it was time to move on from my last property, so I started looking for my next opportunity. It was nearly a full year before the position at Sparkling Hill came along. As I began researching the property, the various offerings and their impact on our guest’s lives. I felt like this was a property I could make a real contribution to, so I applied. By the time I was called for my first interview, I was already excited about the possibility of working here, and every step in the application process only added to that sense of excitement. As I have gotten to know the team here over the last three months, it has only confirmed what I had hoped; that this would be a place I could make a real contribution to, and be part of a team with diverse backgrounds and skills, working together towards a common goal.
What past education, experiences or career paths have lead you to your current position?
I started my carrier both working as a cabinetmaker and working on a small seasonal camp property in Alberta, and then moved full time into cabinetmaking, millwork and eventually renovations for 20 years on a variety of projects and properties including residences, assisted living facilities, and commercial properties before returning to facility management at property that ran summer camps and seasonal retreats.
I am a journeyman cabinetmaker and I am currently working my way through a program from Northern Lakes College to achieve my Maintenance Management Professional designation. I am an avid reader, life-long learner and love puzzles and figuring out how things work. I spend my free time creating in wood, learning new things and exploring the world.
How would you describe Sparkling Hill Resort’s internal culture?
I love that the management team is united in our purpose and supportive of each other in their respective rolls and responsibilities. There is an openness in our communication that allows us to be honest with each other about the various issues we face as an organization and interdepartmentally.
The staff I have had the pleasure of speaking with show an interest in the success of the property as well as each other.
What motivates you on a day to day basis in your role?
Every single day is a new challenge. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new, to teach something new and meet new people. I love seeing people walking the property with a look of wonder on their faces, and then sharing something with them about the property or our history. I have had the pleasure of meeting guests from all over the world and sharing in their experience of staying at Sparkling Hill. Sometimes it is as simple as offering direction to one of our amenities, other times it’s a longer conversation about whatever is on the guest’s mind.
How are you continuing education or working toward professional goals?
I am currently 5/8 of the way through my MMP program (Maintenance Management Professional).
Life in General
Tell us about your background. Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised in Calgary before moving to High River Alberta as a child. With my father living in Victoria, I spent some of my summers on the island.
What are you passionate about? What motivates you?
While I love my work, I am most passionate about my family; spending time with my wife and kids has become the very centre of why I do what I do. Other interests include fishing, canoeing, hiking and camping, travel and wandering the countryside in my 1956 Volkswagen (sorry if you have been stuck behind me on the highway!)
What do you enjoy doing most during your free time? What are you favorite hobbies?
I like to spend my evenings and weekends with my family, tinkering with my car and woodworking.
What do you think is the best thing about living in the Okanagan?
I am enjoying the long warm evenings, the abundance of variety in both people and places to visit.
What is your favorite food?I am not very adventurous when it comes to food; my sister tries to broaden my pallet at every opportunity, but I always come back to a home-cooked meal like ham and scalloped potatoes or a nice juicy burger.
Where in the world have you travelled to? What took you there?
I have seen most of the “big-ticket” sites in the western half of North America traveling to and from various family homes, the Hawaiian islands, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Baja Mexico.
Which destination would you most like to visit and why?
I would love to see New Zealand, Australia and Machu Picchu in particular as well as at least one of the Atolls in the Pacific. I like remote places that have something unique to see, or do.
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
With all the suffering in the world, I would love to be able to significantly change people’s lives for the better on a large scale; be it cure a disease, healthier living conditions, relieve drought…..
Who has been your hero? Someone that you look up to in life?
I don’t get hung up on celebrity or sports icons. My friend Harold Friesen is one of my heroes; he has been a steady rock in my life, he volunteers literally months every year, and is very active in his community both as a business owner and individual.
Another is my friend Ron Neuman. He has given more than half his life to serving a children’s camp by building and renovating, mowing and fixing virtually anything with next to nothing for resources.
How do you incorporate Health and Wellness into your life?
I have always been a physically active person; walking, hiking and cycling have been mainstays of my activity since I was a small child. I have been an active geocacher for about 6 years now as well, and volunteered for various groups over the years in things like provincial park trail maintenance and youth camps. There are several people who have served as mentors for me over the years, and I have done the same for others. We work hard as a family to eat healthfully whenever possible and moderate how much of what we eat.
Erik Willinhganz l Maintenance Manager
Sign up for our newsletter to get our latest spa resort offers along with wellness tips
and healthy lifestyle blog posts delivered straight to your inbox.