In April 2023, Grand Pacific Resorts was proud to send 20 contenders to the esteemed American Resort Development Association (ARDA) Conference held in Orlando, Florida. This annual event serves as a platform for recognizing the outstanding achievements and excellence exhibited by professionals and programs in the timeshare industry. It was an extraordinary occasion for Grand Pacific Resorts and our Associates, four of which took home awards for their service and contributions.

To celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of our talented finalists, we are thrilled to present a series of blog posts featuring them throughout the year. This month, we shine the spotlight on three of our remarkable Associates: Ryan Gaut, Michael Conery, and Dexter Caranza! Keep reading below to see their nominations as presented for their ARDA finalist positions.

Ryan Gaut: Activities Director – Grand Pacific Palisades Resort


Ryan has been arriving to work bright and early without fail for the last 13 years. He loves his job, and if something is needed, even if he’s already gone home, he will come back to the resort to help out. We love having him as our “Director of Fun and Engagement” at Grand Pacific Palisades. We appreciate Ryan’s genuine happiness and engagement with the Owners and his Team. Ryan always begins his day by welcoming Owners, Guests, and families with donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate in the activities center. He makes sure to greet every Owner and Guest upon their arrival, and always provides them with an Activities Guide. During the holidays, Ryan is the happy elf that replenishes the cookies for our Guests and Owners. Our Owner/Guest surveys always sing Ryan’s praises, and many have stated that he is one of the primary reasons they keep coming back to our resort. Our BE EPIC values of Balance, Empowerment, Enthusiasm, Passion Integrity and Consistency are clearly demonstrated in Ryan, especially the quality of Enthusiasm. Ryan recently introduced a number of new activities, including hosting Ice Cream Sundays and providing s’mores kits. Ryan’s ability to be flexible and make things work for Owners and Guests is exceptional. During the pandemic, we had to suspend our welcome breakfast and reception for numerous months. Ryan still handed out coffee and donuts every morning, also took the time to invent “Activities To-Go” in which he bagged up paint supplies and provided an exterior area for painting. He also made sure Guests and Owners could still check out puzzles, beach equipment and toys, boogie boards, and umbrellas. 

Michael Conery: Regional Director of Facilities – Grand Pacific Resorts

Mike Conery1.jpg

Our 24 managed resorts are kept safe and secure thanks to Michael’s knowledge and attention to detail. Michael came out of retirement just to work with us 6 years ago, and his exceptional safety program recently won an OSHA Golden Gate Partnership Award! Thanks to Michael’s hard work and efforts, we have witnessed a dramatic improvement in employee safety and reduction in reported incidents. Michael holds monthly and quarterly committee meetings across all of our resorts, bringing over 45 years of real-world experience. Michael puts “safety first” in all he does. He truly wants our Owners and Guests to have as fun and as safe a vacation as possible. He developed a comprehensive process for disseminating information to resorts, personally approving all the information before it is sent out. Michael also implemented a texting platform during emergencies and times of crisis. Through this platform, Michael has the ability to send real-time text updates to Guests and Management. Hands on with all he does, he conducts regular training on incident report writing, which helps us expedite investigations. Michael also frequently visits our resorts to help monitor and review safety standards, typically resulting in necessary changes that enhance our Guest and Owner experience. While some companies dread a government inspection, we actually welcome consultations and OSHA inspections since Michael took over. In fact, the OSHA inspector was so impressed that he now recommends Michael to others for consultation. We have lovingly nicknamed him “Safety Steve”, but Michael likes to call himself “Old Guy in Charge”!

Dexter Carranza: Director of Fun – Carlsbad Seapointe Resort


From planning watermelon eating contests, water balloon tosses, and hosting nearly 100 guests for a pizza bingo night, Dexter can do it all! Dexter has been our Director of Fun for three years. Throughout this time, he has single-handedly provided limitless opportunities for fun, family connections, and embracing the spirit of adventure through his popular activities program. Day after day, Dexter leads each activity, ensuring that Owners not only enjoy an unforgettable experience, but also that their relationship to Grand Pacific Resorts is strengthened along the way. Dexter’s program frequently evolves and changes with each season to deliver innovative experiences and weather-appropriate adventures into the local landscape. About a dozen activities are offered each week on the property, and it is not uncommon for several hundred guests to participate! At a recent pizza bingo night, nearly 100 Owners and Guests happily gathered for family time and fun, requiring a great deal of preparation from Dexter. With boundless energy and genuine enthusiasm for serving his guests, Dexter organizes and implements all these activities, acting as a one-man-show for much of the year. During football season, Dexter even connects the lobby TV to his personal account so that devoted fans don’t miss a game. During the first 11 months of 2022, Dexter’s department generated an amazing $22,000 in revenue. Happy experiences, enjoyed by family members during his resort activity programs, have created an impressive number of additional vacation time purchases. Thanks Dexter!