Spotlight on Biz Noonan
Raquette Lake Navigation family and friends gathered Fri night, Nov 8, to celebrate Biz’s 35th birthday.
Anyone who has cruised with us has seen in her in action, mostly taking and delivering beverage orders. She’s such an important and valued member of our core team, I thought you’d like to get to know her a little better. She sure doesn’t have much time for visiting when we’re cruising!
There are lots of facets to this diamond!
When you’re a family-owned and operated business, you wear lots of hats! And Biz is family. She and Rachel met at Suffield Academy in Conn when they were 16 and have been best friends ever since.
Her primary job being cocktail server and assistant to beverage manager Rachel Pohl, she and Rachel enjoy spending hours dreaming up creative ways to increase bar sales, such as adding new snack items for excursions, new specialty drinks and events involving wine and beer tastings and pairings, along with the signage needed to promote. The sampling required before final decisions are made doesn’t hurt either!
Front of the house staff trainer and supervisor…..
In addition to teaming up with Rachel to bring our bar and beverage service to a whole other level, Biz is in charge of training and supervising new hires. Working on the Durant is an entry-level job for most of our hires. It’s often their first job, so teaching and training is a huge part of our mission.
Cruise hostess and dining room manager…….
Biz also assumes Donna’s role as hostess and dining room manager in Donna’s absence. This involves boarding guests, announcing the menu over the loud speaker on luncheon cruises, orchestrating the timing and flow of courses on dinner so when we dock everyone has finished with dessert and coffee. It might involve boarding a motor coach when we have a bus group to welcome the group and give them an overview of what to expect and how things will unfold on their luncheon cruise.
Maintenance & housekeeping………..
Now this gal is no prima donna! She’s willing and able to do whatever is necessary to get the Durant ready for the season or put it to bed for the winter after the season. Scraping, painting, Murphy soaping the walls and woodwork, cleaning, washing windows, schlepping, hauling…..she’s done it all.
When we needed a tour guide for a tour of St. Williams, a recently refurbished church built by WW Durant in 1890, Biz volunteered to do the research, write the script and lead the tour.
Appointment-taker at a national group travel trade show……
There was the year Captain Dean was recovering from hip replacement surgery and couldn’t keep his appointments at an American Bus Association national group travel trade show. We had invested $2000 for those appointments and didn’t want to lose them. Donna had her own appointments so couldn’t take his. Rachel had other commitments. So Biz was asked, and she agreed, to take Captain Dean’s place. She flew to Dallas with Donna and represented Raquette Lake Navigation and the Adirondack Gilded Age Tour professionally and competently with all 45 of his appointments. This gal has guts!
Biz, the individual behind the uniform……
Biz does have a life outside of working on the WW Durant! She was hired in August to be the preschool teacher at Long Lake Central School, a position she has worked hard to qualify for. After receiving her BA in history from the University of Vermont at Burlington, she attended SUNY Plattsburgh from 2007 to 2010 to earn her Masters in Teaching. During this period she was also working at Town of Webb School District (Old Forge) in whatever capacity was needed: from cleaner to cafeteria worker to office receptionist to teacher aide to classroom teacher to substitute teacher. Nope! She’s not afraid of hard work and doing whatever it takes to achieve her goals!
She and her boyfriend Bill (our older son BTW) love to snowmobile and ice fish in the winter and boat in the summer. They love their rescue dog Chance, just as they loved rescue dog Leroy Brown before him.
Community-minded and a team player……..
Biz gives back to her community. She helps organize and execute the Hunters Dinner in October. She has been a Girl Scout leader for four years, and she’s not even a parent! (We live in such an isolated area it’s hard to find enough people to volunteer for these important roles.) This requires a 50 miles RT drive for her too!
She also serves on the boards of the Raquette Lake Library and St. Williams on Long Point. Again, because there are so few people living in the area, she’ll probably have these jobs for life!
What do you like about working on the WW Durant?
“I love the people I work with and for. I think Raquette Lake Navigation matters. The Durant is special.”
“For one thing, Dean built the boat. That’s amazing! You and Dean started with an idea and created something from nothing. That’s amazing! Your whole family puts their heart and soul in it. I love being part of that.”
So……what’s your favorite cruise as a guest?
“Guess I’d have to say the dinner cruise. I love Jim’s duck and rack of lamb. And I think Rachel’s Margaritas are the best I’ve had anywhere.”
“I love working the special events. They’re nerve wracking, but in a good way!”
Time and space dictate we must bring this thumbnail sketch to a close. Hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about Biz. Sometime when you see her, ask her about her year of university in Prague, Czech Republic. Or about her travel adventures with Rachel and Donna to Cuba, Russia and Thailand.
So glad Biz is on our team!
Captain Dean’s birthday is coming up, Dec. 4. Drop by for a visit at Raquette Lake News on our website if you want to hear the story of how he and 2 of our employees built the Durant over a 2 year period.
Dean in 1990. The hull was built by a ship-building yard in Escanoba, Mi and shipped on 2 flatbed trailers. After the 2 hull halves were welded together by a certified welder, Dean did all the welding from the water line up. And he did all the carpentry. Dean was a master craftsman in wood when he started the boat. He was a very fine welder by the time the boat was built! One of our employees installed the engines and did the mechanical work; the other did the plumbing and wiring.
Oh, I should also tell you about the time he resurrected the Mack truck off the bottom of the lake when it (and he) went through the ice. But that’s another story!
See you in Dec! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration full of love, laughter and thanks. And,of course, delicious food and wine.