Sunday, December 10, 2023

EDITORIAL: Cd'A Resort spawns another hospitality giant

| October 18, 2023 1:00 AM

The natural heart of Coeur d’Alene, by any measure, is the lake that bears its name.

On the manmade side of the equation? That’s easy: It’s the resort that shares names with the city and its lake.

The Coeur d’Alene Resort is the tangible, towering heart of the region, a landmark and resource that transformed the community from its blue-collar roots to a thriving center for business and leisure.

To say that The Coeur d’Alene Resort put Idaho on the map for many thousands of people from around the globe is not an overstatement. That it has risen above recessions, a pandemic and even the area’s painful experience with merchants of hate is no accident. The heart of The Coeur d’Alene Resort has always been its people — three in particular.

One, of course, was the late, great Duane B. Hagadone. A prominent Idahoan once heard Duane outline his plans to sink millions into a magnificent hotel on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene at a time when the economy was in the gutter and the sparsely populated city’s downtown was full of empty storefronts.

This person admitted privately that he thought Hagadone was making one of the worst investments imaginable. But now Gov. Brad Little can only laugh at himself, as he and many others learned firsthand how Hagadone’s madness was more like pure genius.

The second person whose fingerprints are all over The Resort, its spa and floating green-inspired golf course is Jerry Jaeger. Jaeger also was endowed with the hospitality gene. Where Hagadone was primarily the brains behind the building, Jaeger’s genius was mostly in marketing — but both men knew that an incredible facility brilliantly promoted would fail without the devotion of excellent employees.

One of those employees has ended up shining just a little brighter than the rest. He is Bill Reagan, The Resort’s president and proud dish washer.

In case you missed it, veteran reporter Bill Buley extolled Reagan’s virtues on Sunday’s front page of The Press. We’ll not recount Reagan’s biography, but you can read it here:

What we will do today is congratulate Reagan for receiving the 2023 Governor’s Lifetime Achievement in Recreation and Tourism Award. And we’ll take the liberty to add something about Bill acquired by many years of witnessing his leadership at The Resort and in the community.

This Cd’A native son’s work ethic is seemingly inexhaustible. Like most people who truly love their jobs, Bill seems always to be smiling. He’s courteous to all and judgmental toward none, key ingredients not just in the tourism industry, but in life.

Bill is followed so willingly by 1,200 employees because he leads so effectively — from the heart as well as from a fine mind. And best of all, Bill’s benevolence and dedication to his community extend far beyond the walls of that glorious hotel.

Well done, Bill Reagan. We raise our glass to you, sir.

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