By Mark Stanley and Tracy Steely,
Michael is the General Manager of the Vue on 30a and the Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club. He has lived in Santa Rosa Beach for a little over four years. Michael grew up in Michigan and graduated with a Criminal Justice degree from Michigan State University.
“My parents did the typical midwestern thing and retired to Mt. Dora, Florida about 5 years ago.”
Michael has one sister and brother-in-law who live in Richmond, Virginia. “I am also very close to two sets of aunts and uncles who also live in Florida. I don’t get to see them as much as I want, but it is amazing what group texts can do for staying connected.”
“I fell into my career at first by accident. I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Criminal Justice and was attempting to work for the federal government in a law enforcement capacity. The interview process was long, and I needed a job to pay the bills, so I started working at the club in my hometown as a bartender. I had great mentors who showed me I had an ability in the hospitality field and who pushed me to improve. I also enjoyed the pace of the work environment and not being chained to a desk and computer.”
Michael has been working in country clubs for 20 years now. After moving around the country, he settled in Santa Rosa Beach and landed the job as General Manager at Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club.
“The great part of my job is the relationships I have made with my co-workers and the members of the Club. If you take the time and pay attention enough you can’t go a day without learning something new. My job is to make sure people are having fun and enjoying themselves, and I also get to share some of the biggest moments in their lives. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
“There isn’t one specific business that makes me nostalgic about the area. I think it is more the collective feeling and aura of all the locals. It is very diverse and before I moved here I didn’t realize the thriving art community, specialty retail shops and music culture that was present here.”
If you could choose anyone alive today to have lunch with, who would it be and where would you have lunch?
“This is so hard to narrow down to one person. I could probably come up with at least ten people that I could choose, but right now I would pick Jimmy Buffet. I can’t think of a better way to relax and let my mind wander than sitting with him and listening to some stories. I have enjoyed his music for so long and think his influence has helped me find my way to my current location. For food we would have cheeseburgers and we would eat them on the beach in front of Vue on 30a, with a few cocktails thrown in, too.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years? “I have moved around so much in my career, that I would like to be able put roots down and stay in one place for a bit. Can’t think of a better place than being here and enjoying the Emerald Coast.”
Who inspires you to be better?
“This is easy. I have a group of friends that have shared many experiences with me, both good and bad. I love them like brothers, and they hold me to high standards. They have absolutely no problem in calling me out when I need it. They constantly push me to become a better version of myself.”
Tracy Steely and Mark Stanley are the hosts of a community website called The Faces of Walton County. The project aims to showcase the diverse residents of our community, one Face at a time. To nominate someone for an interview visit www.thefacesofwaltoncounty.com or call Tracy at 850-803-9822.
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