After a fulfilling 30-year career managing golf clubs and resorts across Western Canada, Keith Archer has found a niche in Summerland.
As the assistant engineering manager at Summerland Waterfront Resort and Spa, Archer is part of a team of three keeping the lakefront getaway in top shape year round.
“Hospitality has been my life; I love interacting with people,” he says.
Originally from a farming family in Dauphin, Manitoba, Archer has worked in hospitality since graduating from Winnipeg’s Red River Community College in Hotel & Restaurant Management in 1975. Following an internship at the Banff Springs Hotel, he launched his career as the maître d’ at the Charterhouse Hotel in Winnipeg.
Two years later, the young executive joined Edmonton’s Royal Glenora Club, a well-known private sports club, as general manager in charge of food and beverage, supervising about 75 people. From there, he rose through the ranks with management roles at Silver Springs Golf and Country Club in Calgary, Glendale Golf and Country Club in Winnipeg and finally, from 1992 to 2006, as general manager at Summerland Golf and Country Club.
“After 30 years, I’d had a good long career as a hospitality manager and I was looking around for something else to do. Then, in 2006, Tom Matthews, the general manager at Summerland Waterfront Resort and Spa, said: ‘Why not come and work as the maintenance guy at the new resort?’”
It was a perfect fit, recalls Archer: “I wanted to stay in the Okanagan, I love interacting with people, and, as a farm kid from Dauphin, I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands.”
“If you can imagine anything that needs to be fixed in the hotel, that’s what I do. This includes managing the computerized heating and air conditioning systems and maintaining the pool and hot tubs,” he explains.
And the work is year round: “the winter is actually our busiest time because that’s when we do most of the maintenance. It’s a high-end resort so we have to keep the rooms pristine,” he says.
A big part of the appeal is Summerland itself. “When I first came to the Okanagan as a 15-year-old cadet I fell in love with the area and I’ve always wanted to live here,” he recalls.
Now, more than 50 years later, the lakeside town is still Archer’s favourite place. “I’m a big fisherman and a golfer and I don’t have to go far to enjoy any of that, and my kids and grandkids love to visit because it’s a holiday place. The job is wonderful to come to as well — it’s close to home and it’s right on the lake,” he says.
“My life and my work just fit like a glove right now,” he says.