From Hotel Gardener to Remote Engineering Leader: A 43-Year Marriott Career Story
Name: Noreen J.
Position: Director of Facilities II
Location: San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest
Dream destination: The Maldives and Portugal — a vacation for me is sitting on a beach with white sand and just relaxing.
Drink or treat of choice: Root Beer… really, it is!
As the Director of Facilities within Marriott’s Shared Services department, Noreen’s typical day at the office includes coordinating with local hotels on their engineering needs — with her dog, Bella, lying at her feet.
Noreen is one of Marriott’s remote employees, and she’s been working from home for the past 10 years, which is just a fraction of her total 43 years as a Marriott associate.
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Her first Marriott job came with a much different view: The lush grounds of the picturesque Santa Clara Marriott, where she worked as the hotel’s gardener. From there, she moved 30 miles up Highway 101 to the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront, where she stayed for 14 years, moving through the positions of Head Gardner, Rooms Preventive Maintenance, Painter, Mechanic, Engineering Admin, and working on special projects like renovations.
“I look at my career, and I have had no schooling such as college,” says Noreen. “It really makes me proud that I have gone so far within this company.”
From the SFO hotel, Noreen went on to open the Fremont Marriott Silicon Valley as the Engineering Supervisor, then was promoted to the Director of Engineering and Loss Prevention. After that, she returned to the hotel where she got her start, the Santa Clara Marriott, but this time as Chief Engineer. From there, she was offered the job in Shared Services, where she still works today.
“The Marriott philosophy has always been close to my heart,” says Noreen. “That is what is great about this company — you can do anything or go anywhere as long as you work hard.”
To work in Marriott’s Shared Services department means that you provide discipline-specific support (like Sales & Marketing, Revenue, or Engineering — as in the case with Noreen) to Marriott hotels or regions, and typically work either fully remote or in a hybrid capacity — visiting your designated region’s hotels or markets as necessary. Noreen’s purview includes 29 hotels in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest, and her team of technicians and engineers take care of all the major mechanical systems at those buildings. She also manages larger Engineering initiatives and strategic needs for those hotels.
“Being a woman in the Engineering discipline has not always been easy, though times have changed,” says Noreen. “I have had some great leaders and mentors in my career with Marriott and each of them helped me to get where I am today.”
Learn more about Noreen’s Marriott experience, in her own words, below.
When have you felt supported at Marriott?
Being a single parent, I had some really tough times, when I would have to take off early because my son was sick and in daycare or school. They were always so supportive of me. Any other job, I may have lost my job, but Marriott always stood by my side and supported me through many rough times.
What’s one surprising thing about your role or team that most people might not know?
My team is very self-sufficient; they do their jobs very well and make great decisions. We are also friends, and we enjoy doing things together, like going to the lake and riding jet skis and out for lunch.
Favorite part of working at Marriott?
The people are my favorite part. I get to meet so many wonderful associates, and it gives me hope that when we retire those great individuals will keep that same culture going — a culture which means everything to me.
What advice do you have for candidates who want a role like yours?
An interview is always very stressful, but my advice is to be confident in yourself and the position you are interviewing for. You know more than you think you do and that will show in your confidence. If you are asked something that you do not know, always be forthcoming.
What does a good day at work look like for you?
A good day for me is when I do not have any emails in my inbox.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
I have used the Explore Rate at times, but now that I have over 25 years with Marriott, I use my Quarter Century Card. Whenever I go to Mexico or Hawaii the benefit has saved me so much money.
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