“In my opinion, the Heritage Inn front desk is one of the best places on campus to work,” Vickie Walton, former manager of the Heritage Inn, said.
Walton traded administrating employees, bills and group events for more family and devotional time. She retired from managing the Heritage Inn on Oct. 30 after nearly 20 years of service. She began working for the campus post office for almost a year and spent the last 19 at the Heritage Inn.
“Working in an environment where God and Christ are loved, worshiped and revered is incredible,” Walton said. “If you have ever worked anywhere else on this planet, you appreciate Harding.”
Walton said she enjoyed working with guests and various groups who used the hotel venues.
“I have loved Harding, and I have loved the hotel,” Walton said. “I know there will be days I will miss the people there and also the work, and I will miss meeting and working with some of the sweetest guests in the world.”
David Hall, who has worked as the manager of the Harding Bookstore for four years, is the new manager for the Heritage Inn.
“(Walton) took the hotel through a lot of changes and growth and is beloved by a lot of guests who have continually come back through the years,” Hall said. “I’m hoping we can continue the tradition she has built, and any changes we make will hopefully build on what she has already started.”
According to Hall, the bookstore was successful when he began working at Harding, and his actions helped to improve services like providing a vending machine in the library and the opportunity to reserve textbooks. He said the Heritage Inn team plans to implement similar ideas for the hotel.
“It’s a competitive market out there for hotels just like it is for textbooks or apparel or church supplies or anything we are involved with,” Hall said. “We have to be 100 percent committed to provide the best experience for our guests or for our customers that we can.”
Hall said balancing his time between managing both the bookstore and the hotel can be challenging, but he said the proficiency of other employees enables him to alternate between the locations.
“My presence alone at Heritage Inn doesn’t do very much; it takes a team of people working to make things happen,” Hall said. “Every single member of our team is important, just like every single person in this community of Harding is important because without all of us, Harding isn’t what it is, so it is great to be at Harding.”
Though he is still adjusting to the additional responsibility, Hall said he is happy to expand his involvement with the university. Hall said he loves being in a faith-based environment surrounded by students.
“I’m looking forward to the same thing I’ve been looking forward to every day I’ve been here for the last four years,” Hall said. “That’s just to come to work every day and see what I can possibly do to help Harding be the wonderful place that it is.”