Fort Worden Hospitality Appoints Matt Gurney as CEO -

Long-time industry leader brings unmatched expertise to the position

Port Townsend, WA – Dec 9, 2022 – Fort Worden Hospitality, which manages accommodations, restaurants, catering and venues at Fort Worden State Park, is pleased to announce the appointment of Matt Gurney as the incoming chief executive officer. Gurney is an industry veteran whose career includes consulting for community-based enterprises, establishing restaurants and catering business, and most recently over two decades in leadership at Farestart in Seattle.

“We are thrilled beyond measure to have someone of Matt’s caliber leading Fort Worden Hospitality and helping us chart a course for the future,” Board Chair Wendy Davis said. “This is an exciting and important time in the organization’s evolution, as we expand the leadership team and reimagine FWH offerings. Matt is an innovative and enthusiastic leader who deeply appreciates our community and our role in ensuring visitors have the best experience possible at Fort Worden.”

Gurney served as the president of the Fort Worden Hospitality board of directors during its critical conceptualization and launch period, helping to secure the necessary funding to create a stand-alone entity. He dedicated countless hours to supporting the organization’s co-directors in executing a seamless transition while delivering exceptional service to the Fort’s visitors and guests.

“I have seen first-hand the hard work and dedication necessary to get Fort Worden Hospitality off the ground and achieve so much in its first year,” Gurney said. “Under the leadership of our co-directors and board, and the dedication of our staff, we exceeded expectations for 2022. I am excited to have the opportunity to build on that success and continue to grow Fort Worden Hospitality into a stable and fun employer, trusted community partner, and amazing provider of food and lodging to our guests and the community.”

Gurney’s appointment is effective January 15, 2023.

About Fort Worden Hospitality
Fort Worden Hospitality manages accommodations, restaurants, catering and venues, at Fort Worden State Park. The nonprofit organization was established in 2021 to focus on the guest experience and ensure the spirit of the Fort is evident in all hospitality offerings. With more than 65 employees, FWH has bold new ideas for the future of hospitality services, such as amenity offerings, community engagement and place based experiences for all visitors. The organization’s service philosophy is rooted in the beloved state park, featuring comfortable vacation housing, rustic locally sourced food, conference/meeting/special occasion amenities and a variety of activities for individuals, groups and families to enjoy.

About Matt Gurney, Fort Worden Hospitality CEO

As a leader in the hospitality industry, Matt Gurney has dedicated the majority of his career to fostering sustainable enterprises. He has worked as a thought partner and consultant on many hospitality and social impact projects, supporting dozens of small businesses and social enterprises with everything from start-up planning, financial modeling and construction development, to process improvement and job training integration. Matt approaches his work with a passion for building community and collaboratively achieving a shared vision.

Matt has established and enhanced multiple restaurants; event, venue and corporate catering; and childcare and shelter meals. After graduating from the Western Culinary Institute, Matt joined Farestart, a Seattle-based food service job training program. Matt spent over two decades with the organization, leading several revenue generating businesses. Matt’s most recent role as a chief innovation officer combined his entrepreneurial spirit, curiosity and commitment to customers and community. 

Matt has volunteered his expertise on several boards of directors, including Aquatic Resources Conservation and Bike Works. Over the last two years, he has served as the board president of Fort Worden Hospitality, a newly established nonprofit organization founded to manage the accommodations, restaurants, catering and venues at Fort Worden State Park. With his leadership and support, the organization secured seed funding and has launched an ambitious plan to enhance hospitality offerings at the Fort.

Matt is a Port Townsend resident and has been actively involved in the community for over 20 years. 

 

Fort Worden Hospitality Launches with Focus on Future -

Hospitality team planning celebratory activities throughout the year

Fort Worden Hospitality (FWH) is charting a new direction in hospitality service assuming management of the accommodations, restaurants, catering and venues at Fort Worden State Park on February 14, 2022.

Fort Worden Hospitality has bold new ideas for the future of hospitality experience rooted in the state park and supported by a service philosophy that will deliver comfortable accommodations, rustic locally influenced and sourced food, conference amenities and a variety of activities available to visitors, guests and residents of Port Townsend to foster a summer-camp like experience year-round.

The non-profit company values its Campus and Community Partners who remain an important part of their footprint. Fort Worden Hospitality hopes to expand its on-site and off-site relationships, bringing together collaborations that can benefit the community and guests in a variety of ways.

Other future plans include improving the amenities in the buildings they operate, updating restaurant offerings, re-opening Taps at the Guardhouse and redefining guest services across the company in line with their new service philosophy, values and mission.

The non-profit hospitality operator will be making offers to hire all current staff and operate at launch under the leadership of Aislinn Diamanti, Managing Director of Administration, and Natalie Maitland, Managing Director of Operations.

“This is a positive time of change,” said Maitland. “Fort Worden is such a special and unique place that having a local company in charge of hospitality operations makes sense on many levels, most importantly the economic impact to our area. There is excitement across the staff and board for the new vision and we are ready to embrace the opportunity.”

With a financially sound business model focused on hospitality services and park experiences, the non-profit company looks forward to being a contributing partner to the lifelong learning center campus and work to foster more community spirit.

“I am incredibly thankful to the staff who are transitioning from the PDA to our new Hospitality Group,” said Board President Matt Gurney. “Fort Worden Hospitality will be spending this coming year stabilizing as a new entity and learning from our Fort Partners, visitors and Port Townsend residents how we can facilitate activities and services that will help make the Fort PT’s backyard.”

Fort Worden Hospitality will fulfill all booked business currently held by the Fort Worden Public Development Authority.

Over the next year the Fort Worden Hospitality team will be growing to meet the demand of guests and groups. They have taken a human centered approach to their employees, putting an emphasis on higher wages, benefits and employee well-being.

“Part of serving our community is creating good jobs for people who live here,” said Diamanti. “Part of running a good business is ensuring our company culture and values are intertwined and employee-led. This is built into our framework and will be expanded on as we add more team-members over the next few months. It’s an exciting time to work at Fort Worden, and a remarkable opportunity to be on the ground floor of something special.”

Fort Worden Hospitality is now hiring with more job postings to come through the Spring. Positions are in all departments and range in type and wage.

With the guidance of an accomplished board of directors, support of the FWPDA and many others who have championed Fort Worden Hospitality in the community, the hospitality team takes on this challenge with enthusiasm, understanding there is a lot of work to be done and opportunity to be realized.

When it is safe to do so Fort Worden Hospitality will announce a community open house launch event.

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MISSION: Fort Worden Hospitality welcomes visitors to a treasured state asset – Fort Worden State Park and Lifelong Learning Center.  We connect people to the park’s resources: the lifelong learning center campus, the cultural, educational, artistic, environmental, and recreational programs offered by the park’s partner organizations; the trails, beaches and historic batteries.  We also provide hospitality packages; meeting and events spaces; food service; and lifelong learning programming.

VALUES: Community-Passion-Integrity-Environmental Stewardship-Culture of Learning

SERVICE PHILOSOPHY:

Cultivate a community for anyone to feel welcome at Fort Worden.

Attention to detail in every task.

Model of integrity in policy and practice.

Proactively work to ensure guests and employees want to return.

 

 

 

 

Get outside with a day trip or overnight stay at Fort Worden this summer -

Update on what is happening at Fort Worden

As we near summer, we are seeing the return of visitors to Fort Worden. Families renting vacation rental housing, wedding events, and small group gatherings have begun to return, along with day visitors enjoying the beach. Fort Worden is such a special state and community asset that has a lot to offer to locals and visitors alike.

Two of the restaurants at the park, Reveille at the Commons and Cablehouse Beach Canteen, have reopened. Reveille is featuring daily lunch specials, in addition to their breakfast and lunch grab and go options. This year at the Canteen they have expanded the camp store, with a variety of snacks, candy, camping items and more.

Group bookings for 2021 and 2022 are open and filling up fast as people are eager to hold events postponed by the pandemic. Venue use and catering are up and operating. There are a variety of jobs posted online at fortworden.org for the variety of open positions in all departments. Slowly things are returning to ‘normal’.
Later this summer the initial reorganization of the Fort Worden Public Development Authority (FWPDA) will be complete, and the nonprofit Fort Worden Hospitality will assume management of the vacation rentals, group sales, venues, catering and restaurant services at the park.

FWPDA is reorganizing to create operational structures that are better suited for addressing its two primary challenges: recovering from the financial losses caused by the pandemic and addressing the ongoing major maintenance needs of the 95-acre campus and its 73 historic buildings.

Fort Worden Hospitality is a non-profit organization operating on a mission central to the Lifelong Learning Center of the Fort Worden campus. The organization will continue to offer hospitality services currently at Fort Worden as they rebound from the pandemic, innovate hospitality offerings and create a hospitality job training program in future years to better service our community.

Lodging, venues, and food services are essential to the success of campus lifelong learning programs, and Fort Worden Hospitality is eager to work amongst the partner organizations at Fort Worden to support their programming and advance the Lifelong Learning Center mission.

Fort Worden Hospitality plans to collaborate with partner organizations at Fort Worden and those local businesses and organizations in our community with the goal of providing great experiences to all those who visit the park.

This summer Fort Worden hopes to see you out at the state park, safely enjoying the trails, beach, staying in one the houses, grabbing a coffee at the café or a burger with fries at the Canteen.

For more information on what is happening at Fort Worden visit fortworden.org.

Reveille open for take-out only; outside seating available -

With the Governor’s recent mandates Reveille at the Commons will be open for take-out service only. There will be no inside dining available at this time. There is some outside seating available for guests in front of the Commons.

The café will continue to be open Monday through Friday from 9 am – 2 pm offering the same great selection of coffee, pastries, breakfast sandwiches and burritos, soups and grab & go sandwiches.  The latest information can be found, here.

Also, for guests with reservations, our vacation rentals remain open and we look forward to welcoming you to Fort Worden. Please reach out to reservations@fortworden.org with any questions.

Taps at the Guardhouse Closes for Season -

Taps at the Guardhouse has temporarily closed its doors as we head into the winter season.

We will miss serving you from our historic Guardhouse! However, we need to adjust to our financial situation as business slows due to the season and the pandemic.

Reveille at the Commons will remain open for the time being, and we hope you’ll join us there. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, stop by and warm up with grab & go coffee, soup, and breakfast and lunch options. We’ll soon be offering space in the Commons lobby to relax and warm up near our cozy fireplace (socially distanced!) while enjoying what we prepare for you in Reveille. Stay tuned!

Fort Worden OPEN for Business -

Fort Worden is open!

We are delighted to announce our historic homes are available for rental for your summer staycationBook your visit on our website or call our In-House Reservations at 360-344-4400, ext. 304.

You can now enjoy a nature filled visit and sip & savor local delights at Reveille at the Commons, Cablehouse Beach Canteen and Taps at the Guardhouse.

Bookmark to check back here on our website for any updates as we follow the “Safe Start” phased re-opening in Washington and for current hours and offerings.

We hope to host your future Port Townsend visit soon!

Thank you for supporting Fort Worden.

Dining at Fort Worden…NOW OPEN -

Our Restaurants Are Back Open!

Reveille at the Commons:

Open Tuesday through Sunday 9 AM – 2 PM

Coffee, espresso, grab and go sandwiches and some baked goods.

Cablehouse Beach Canteen:

Open 7 days a week, 11 AM – 7 PM

Burgers & fries, fish & chips, drinks, snacks for take-out and outdoor seating.

Taps at the Guardhouse:

Open Thursday through Saturday 12 PM – 8 PM, Sundays 12 PM – 6 PM

Small crafted bar menu, pub snacks and rotation of food trucks.

We hope to see you soon!

Fort Worden Opening for Reservations -

We are excited to announce the reopening of Fort Worden’s historic and unique rental accommodations on Saturday, August 1, 2020! We have missed you!

We have adapted our interactions, taken significant precautions and refined our offerings to re-imagine your stay in a safe way.

The following areas are also opening:
• Cablehouse Beach Canteen – open to all guests, campers and visitors for take-out food and beverage and outside dining

• Taps at the Guardhouse – open to all guests, campers and visitors for take-out beverage and outside dining

• The Front Desk on Officer’s Row – temporarily relocated to 15 Pershing Avenue (House 15) across from the Tennis Courts

The following areas are temporarily closed:
• Reveille at the Commons
• The Commons
• All Venue spaces, with the exception of USO

For information about Fort Worden onsite programs and State Park amenities and campsites, please visit our website for direct links to these organizations.

For all current and new reservations, please view our website for accommodation details and contact our In-House Reservations Department at reservations@fortworden.org or call 360-344-4400 ext. 304 for more information. Reservations are required in advance and must be booked on the phone.

Fort Worden places the highest priority on the health and well-being of our employees, guests, visitors and community. From the beginning, Fort Worden has increased its efforts to protect the safety and well-being of all who visit and will remain one of our top priorities. We continue to follow the CDC, Washington state and local health guidelines on gathering, physical distancing and masking mandates. As the situation remains fluid, additional changes may transpire and we will communicate any updates as they arise.

For everyone’s safety, facial coverings are required in all indoor areas and outdoor areas and encourage guests to maintain physical distancing.

Fort Worden Sales and Reservations Update 5.15.2020 -

As a result of Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home” order issued Monday, March 23, 2020, Fort Worden is operating with minimum workforce. We appreciate your patience as we are working with a limited staff. All messages will be received and responded to by our Sales and Reservations team.

Fort Worden is following the “Safe Start” phased recovery as introduced May 1, 2020 and will continue to do so through the course of this pandemic.

Please know that your leisure travel reservations can still be made or changed by contacting reservations@fortworden.org or calling 360.344.4400 x 304, Monday-Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm PST. We would be happy to review future availability for your stay.

We will continue to keep our guests updated on any changes that may occur and encourage you to visit fortworden.org/blog for the latest communications.

Thank you for your continued support of Fort Worden. We hope to host your future Port Townsend visit as originally planned soon.

Latest Update from Fort Worden Regarding COVID-19 – 4.8.2020 -

Fort Worden is unable to make or honor reservations through May 4, 2020, as a result of Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home” order issued Monday, March 23, 2020 and the temporary closure of Washington State Parks beginning Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Please know that your leisure travel reservations can still be made or changed for May 5th and beyond by contacting reservations@fortworden.org or calling 360.344.4400 ext. 304 Monday – Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm PST. We would be happy to review future availability for your stay.

We will continue to keep our guests updated on any changes that may occur and encourage you to visit fortworden.org/blog for the latest communications.

We appreciate your patience as we are working with a limited staff and all messages will be received and responded to by our sales and reservations team.

Thank you for your continued support of Fort Worden, and we look forward to hosting you soon.

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