At Xanterra, we are a welcoming community who work hard, share a passion for the environment and enjoy creating memorable experiences for our guests in some of the most beautiful places on earth. Learn more about the dedicated and experienced individuals that make up our leadership team in Yellowstone.
Mike serves as the general manager OF Yellowstone National Park Lodges, overseeing the entire operation. He is handling both the day-to-day operation along with looking ahead to future business plans and organizational goals.
Mike has lived and worked in Yellowstone for over 30 years, starting as a volunteer at Norris Geyser Basin in the summer of 1984. His environmental stewardship is apparent; Mike served as a volunteer for 20 years in the park in thermal cleaning and monitoring and was President of the Geyser Observation and Study Association from 2010 – 2014. Additionally, Mike has worked at various other National Park locations (General Manager for Crater Lake National Park and Grand Canyon National Park). He currently lives in Mammoth Hot Springs with his wife and two children.
Marketing the world’s first national park may not seem like much of a challenge, but Rick Hoeninghausen will tell you different. According to Rick, “It’s not about attracting the masses, it’s about reaching potential visitors with an adventurous spirit and who share the values that are celebrated by a place like Yellowstone.” Along with the two other talented members of the marketing team, Rick recently began applying a similar strategy to recruitment marketing, where the message to employment candidates is the same as what is communicated to potential customers. Whether you’re a guest or employee, a Yellowstone experience is at the very least, magical, and at best, life-changing.
Rick, originally from Syracuse, New York, always loved nature. Upon realizing that he could work at a place considered “the center of the natural universe”, he applied and got a job at the Lake Lodge laundry, which he declares as, “[the] best summer of my life!” Since 1983, he has been in hospitality management (marketing mostly). He loves sports, blues rock, classic rock, and folk-rock music. He also recognizes one of his biggest accomplishments as co-raising two amazing daughters, both who grew up in Yellowstone. Career-wise, he is especially proud of the collaborative effort that created of the successful Lodging & Learning programs in partnership with the nonprofit Yellowstone Forever.
Dylan works hard to ensure we are operating our business in a way that has the least impact on the environment and preserves the integrity of our wild landscape. Dylan, with his small but mighty team, provides ample opportunities for both guests and employees to be stewards of the park by promoting our mission of Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint for those visiting and living in Yellowstone.
Dylan was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up splitting time between there and Summit County, Colorado where he developed his love for the west. After graduating from Northwestern University, he started his career in sustainability with the Colorado State Forest Service. There he worked on mountain pine beetle issues and now brings nearly 20 years of diverse environmental experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors to his work in Yellowstone. Nowadays, Dylan can generally be found spending time with his family (partner Erin, daughter Steely, dogs Laney and Wylie, cat Cheddar, and a menagerie of poultry and pollinators) and recreating in and around Yellowstone in pursuit of experiences that provide a direct connection to the ecosystem that he’s trying to protect – chief among those being fly fishing, nordic and backcountry skiing, rafting, and gardening.
There is no shortage of lodging accommodations in Yellowstone. With 2,278 rooms (ranging from rustic cabins to plush suites along with 1, 408 campsites), visitors have a full range of options. Victoria Chamberlain sees the strategic direction of these facilities, ensuring that the guests’ needs are met (and hopefully exceeded!) during their stay in one of the nine hotels or five campgrounds. Helping support Victoria in this endeavor is a staff numbering close to 1,000 (including housekeepers, front desk agents, and laundry helpers to name a few).
Victoria came to Yellowstone as a visitor in the spring of 1993. She then spent the next year planning a sabbatical from work (at the time, she was an Art Director for a printing company in urban Chicago). She soon packed up her car to embark on a western adventure. Like many Yellowstone staff, she came for a summer and never left. Victoria holds a degree in Graphic Arts and Marketing Management from Southern Illinois University. She strongly believes in “teachable moments” no matter what age. Outside of work and other commitments, she enjoys quilting, DIY projects, and anything with the word ‘Family’ in the title. Victoria is honored to have lived in a community that has helped to raise her son and given him every benefit of a magical, national park childhood.
Lu Harlow oversees the park’s largest department, supporting more than thirty guest-facing food and beverage outlets in Yellowstone, ranging from cocktail lounges to snack bars and fine dining. Each year, Lu’s operation serves more than two million meals in the park with the help of over 1,000 seasonal staff.
Lu grew up in New England, lived in southern New Hampshire, and ultimately moved to Yellowstone from Cambridge, Massachusetts. She admits that NBC News’ coverage of the 1988 fires brought the park onto her radar, and eventually the prospect of living here convinced her and a friend that a summer was just what they needed. Lu, a self-proclaimed foodie, has been working in her field professionally for over 30 years. She loves good food and wine, casting her fly rod, her local rescue pup, and her thoughtful husband and two sons. With wise words, Lu shares, “Be open to your Yellowstone experience and believe it when someone tells you that your journey here will be life-changing.”
Trying to keep everyone safe in the world’s first national park is no easy task. Sharon Rhodes is up for the challenge and strives for ZERO accidents whether you are a guest or an employee.
Sharon brings 30+ years of experience in management within the hotel industry to her position. After moving to Yellowstone in 1992, she began her park career as a Human Resource Clerk and then moved onto the role of Benefits Coordinator before assuming her current position. Sharon received her degree in Business Administration from David Business College in Toledo, Ohio. Sharon was honored with acceptance into the Merit level of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) in 2004. This made Xanterra Travel Collection – Yellowstone the first-ever industry of its type to be accepted into this prestigious program. When she’s not looking out for everyone’s safety, Sharon can often be found running or hiking local trails and spending time with her family.
Two corrals, a marina, and a large fleet of touring buses and snow coaches are just a few things that fall under Todd Scott’s world. The service center that keeps vehicles running and the support services team (think print shop, lost and found, mailroom, and more) are all under his umbrella. With that comes his team of wranglers, dockhands, guides, mechanics and more.
Todd, originally from North Carolina, moved to Yellowstone when he was eight months old. His dad worked for the National Park Service in the Great Smoky Mountains and transferred here. In 1992 Todd started his career with Xanterra (then TW Recreational Services) as the Maintenance Management Computer Technician for the Engineering department. This led him to be the Manager of Support Services until he eventually landed his current role. He loves enhancing the visitor’s experience through the interpretation of the park’s resources and history. Todd’s proudest career accomplishment is helping return the Historic Yellow Buses to the park. Todd encourages everyone to, “Get out and enjoy the park during your free time!”
While the government owns all the buildings in Yellowstone, Xanterra takes good care of the buildings they operate in (811 buildings total – but who’s counting!). Buildings include hotels, restaurants, employee facilities, and campgrounds to name a few. Many of these are historic structures. If there is one constant in Yellowstone (other than change), it’s construction! While the staff of approximately 250 individuals helps maintain the facilities park-wide, there are always improvement projects happening that are also managed under the Engineering umbrella.
Mark brings over 30 years of experience in the construction and facilities management field to this enormous operation. Originally from Michigan, Mark began his Yellowstone adventure back in 2009 as a Project Manager. His passion for the Park, mountains, and outdoor activities called him to the west. He enjoys the many big game hunting opportunities the area provides. He especially loves spending time with his wife Shelly and their German shorthair pointer Willow pursuing the majestic pheasant. During the summer you’ll find him relaxing and fishing some of the nearby waters for walleye. Mark also enjoys the many challenges that come with his job. Most of all, he appreciates working on many of the historic structures and seeing projects from the conceptual stages to reality.
About 3,000 employees come to Yellowstone to work at the height of the summer season. 700 of those staff have come from other countries around the world. Recruitment, hiring, onboarding, retention, employee relations, benefits – all fall in Bill Thomas’s wheelhouse.
Bill brings over 30 years of hospitality industry experience to his position (20+ years in Human Resources and 7 years of Food & Beverage and Lodging). As a college student, he had the opportunity to spend a summer working at Grant Village front desk, forming many fond memories of the park (including a climb up Electric Peak). His love for the mountains and the park brought him back to the area after a 30+ year hiatus. In recent years, he continued to create more Yellowstone memories with his family (wife and two sons), taking historic Yellow Bus tours, hiking, and enjoying the beauty of Hayden Valley. Bill’s other interests include biking, skiing, and golfing. Bill is super passionate about hiring the right people and working as a team to achieve collective goals.
Karen‘s area of oversight encompasses the ten retail stores scattered throughout the park, as well as a booming mail-order operation and in-room gift basket program. Working closely with the retail team both in Gardiner and on location, the department is proud to showcase a wide variety of gifts for all tastes and budgets and is working to expand the selection of local and regional items.
In a career spanning almost four decades, she has been the Merchandise Director of Universal Studios Florida and collaborated on projects ranging from theme parks in South America to the Middle East. Karen has worked in numerous national parks in the US and is proud to have spearheaded the merchandising of Thomas the Tank Engine at railroads across the country. Karen is also a proud New Englander, hailing from Maine, and passionately supports her New England sports teams. Having spent over 16 years in Yellowstone, she has a deep appreciation for the beauty and adventure of the mountain west. You can likely find Karen, off work, spoiling her grandsons, spending time with family in Bozeman, and celebrating the journey with her husband Kemper.
Yellowstone National Park Lodges is home to 81 physical/virtual servers, 1122 active workstations, 193 Routers and Switches, 32TB Storage capacity, and too many printers to count! Dillard oversees this world and the team members that tend to their functioning 24/7. No easy task in this remote world with limited bandwidth!
Dillard holds a degree in Computer Information Systems and brings 27+ years of IT experience to Xanterra Travel Collection. He is originally from Nicholson, Georgia and is passionate about being a business enabler along with his faith and commitment to being a life-long learner. Dillard is also an adrenaline rush seeker, having made a HALO Skydive, driven a NASCAR and Indy car, and made 74 skydives! Dillard’s advice, “Get to know people and ask a lot of questions. Work gets done by helping each other. No one is on their own island in Yellowstone. You can get a lot done when you aren’t always trying to get the credit for it.”