News

David Williams: Finding His Way and Paying it Forward


GROWING BOLDERGeorge Diaz

David Williams bought a 2012 Chevy last November. It’s a comfortable ride, but his preferred method of transportation is a bicycle.

He rides with a purpose along downtown Orlando, looking for lost and lonely souls down on their luck. He knows them well. He was one of them once upon a time.

There are second chances in life that come at you unexpectedly. Williams might still be walking the streets of Orlando, homeless, without much purpose, had there not been some fortuitous connections along the way.

But those second chances also require active participation and a willingness to overcome. Williams is now a walking billboard for the power of perseverance in his role as a “Downtown Ambassador” for the City of Orlando.

Read the full article here

Downtown Ambassadors hit the streets in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership launches Ambassador ProgramKALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — If you’re visiting downtown Kalamazoo, you’ll notice a new team keeping things clean and ready to help you out.

The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership launched its Downtown Ambassador program Monday.

The five ambassadors will do things like empty trash cans, sweep sidewalks and shovel snow. The full-time positions are part of a workforce development program that will provide opportunities for advancement. Their first project is a two-week push to clear leaves from streets and clean up graffiti. Moving forward, they’ll also do things like give visitors directions.

You’ll see them in blue and gray uniforms on foot, bicycles and in marked cars. They’ll be on duty as early as 7 a.m. all week and may be out until 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Andrew Haan, the president of the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, says the ambassadors can help improve the experience of visiting the area.

“It’s brand new and fresh. We’re really excited about it and feel like the downtown community is really going to notice a big difference,” Haan said.

Read the full article here

Virginia Beach rolls out new Resort-Area Ambassador program

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Starting April 1, you’ll see a team of people in yellow shirts at the Oceanfront. They are part of the city of Virginia Beach’s new Resort-Area Ambassador Program, rolling out just before the summer season kicks off.

Their sole mission is to make your experience better.

The program currently has about 30 ambassadors that will patrol all 40 blocks of Atlantic Avenue, stretching from Pacific Avenue to the bike path. The crews will hyper-focus on the central resort area, from 15th to 25th.

Read the full article here!

Here’s why we love our Downtown Ambassadors, our Daytonians of the Week

From left to right: Andrea McFarland, Muhmud Habeeb Shafeek, Janice Douds and Terry Williams are the four most senior Downtown Dayton Ambassadors.

Known to occasionally drop a quarter in a parking meter when the red light starts to blink, the Downtown Dayton Ambassadors are some of the most friendly faces in the Gem City.

The Downtown Dayton Ambassador Program, often just called “The Ambassadors,” actually traces its roots back to Brantley Security Services, an event management and private security services company that dates to 1930. Through many changes over the decades, the company, today called Block By Block Inc., began serving its first downtown district, Louisville Downtown Partnership, in 1995.

In 2005, Block By Block started its Downtown Dayton program.

“The program has gone through changes over the 15 to 16 years to grow from a main focus of cleaning and engaging with the public, to now include working with the Dayton Police and Dayton Social Service Agencies in their outreach efforts,” said Tina McKenna-Gilley, operations manager of the Ambassadors.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Thank you, BID employees, for keeping downtown clean and welcoming

A letter from Mark and Susan Kolstad written to the editor of inforum.com praises Fargo’s BID!

“We wish to thank the ambassadors of BID (Business Improvement District) and its director, Chris Schlepp, for the wonderful work they do in making our downtown neighborhood a pleasant experience.”

Read the full letter here

The Best Customer Service That I’ve Ever Received In My Entire Life

 

 

 

From: A. Hightower

Date: Wed, Oct 28, 2020 at 12:15 PM
Subject: THE BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE THAT I’VE EVER RECEIVED I MY ENTIRE LIFE
To: @waterfrontpartnership.org

Hi, my name is Adam Hightower and on October 20, around 3:30 pm my wife and I were sitting on a bench at the Baltimore Inner Harbor, we had been in the city for a week already and it was a very trying experience until we saw a young lady in a lime green shirt coming down the pier in front of the candy store.  This young lady caught our eye because she seemed larger than life in her mannerisms.  We watched as she spoke to every single person she saw. This was a sight that i hadn’t seen since my childhood in Alabama She not only spoke to every single person, she waved to them, runners, walkers, bikers, she stopped people with dogs and gave treats to the dogs and engaged the pups; we watched as the owners smiled and talked to her, they seemed genuinely happy to see her. She spoke to the homeless people on the other benches, to moms with strollers and little ones in tow,  she took family photos of couples, groups, friends, singles, grandparents with their grandchildren, and she set up the background landscape for a more memorable experience. My wife; who absolutely hates to take pictures, said that if she came over to us to take a picture she would be out of luck. At that point I wondered if she would stop to talk to us. We sat calmly waiting our turn, hoping that she wouldn’t pass us by and as sure as it rains, she caught our eyes with a smile that was so affixed on her face that you just knew that she was born with it. She introduced herself, “Good afternoon my name is Victory”! My wife responded with an instant,” Of course it  is”! They both laughed and Victory talked about the company and what your objective is for the Waterfront and the services you provide to both visitors and residents on the waterfront. She gave us detailed information about dining, shopping, and places to go and do along the waterfront. She gave us a map for planning our next few days and for future returns to the Inner Harbor and a card, I thought, “this is extraordinary customer service”.

Then just as predicted the subject came up about taking a picture and my wife who didn’t even want to take wedding pictures adamantly refused to take a picture at all. But something happened that we never saw coming, Victory asked us if we had children and my wife said,  “yes a girl 11  Lilly and a boy 9 AJ, but what does that have to do with me taking a picture?” Victory then asked if we wanted Lilly and AJ to make us grandparents,  to be great- grandparents and so on. We both said. ” yes of course we do’. Victory went on to say that pictures are not only for those who are here with us, they are also for those who we will never meet or touch. For the generations who will never know us, but will have our pictures to remember us by that match the stories and the love that is passed down through the generations should also be the reason we take pictures. My beautiful wife of 19 years sat staring into Victory’s ocean sized smile with watered eyes and softly said, ” I never thought of it that way” . She then slid her phone out of her pocketbook and handed it to Victory as I sat dumbfounded in disbelief, my wife laid her head on my shoulder, took my hand in hers and smiled while Victory took the picture. of us sitting on the bench. She took a picture of my wife in front of the National Aquarium as the background,  in front of the amazing waterfront, in front of the World Trade Center, at the edge of the dock, in different poses, and then the two of us in front of the Constellation hugging, in a loving embrace,  my wife couldn’t stop smiling. I, on the other hand, was in complete shock.

There were countless times in our lives when my wife would refuse a picture and others couldn’t convince her to take even one picture,  Yet in under what was no more than ten minutes Victory took more pictures of my wife then she (my wife) had taken in her whole life. More than that, my wife loved the pictures and I was lost for words. This stranger reached deep into my wife’s soul and pulled out a part of her that  even I had never seen before. How? Why did she even care? Who is she? WTF!!!? in ten minutes Victory changed our lives forever, our generations forever, our family albums forever, WTF!!! I wonder how many other people’s lives she changes so effortlessly on a daily basis? How many stories of Baltimore that now include Victory and Waterfront Partnership?

The next morning I took a picture of my beautiful wife standing in front of the hotel window overlooking the Harbor (at her request) and all I could say was, “Thank you Victory!”  What’s really mind blowing is we never told Vicory why we were really in the city, we only said that we were there for the sights. Linda’s mother was in hospice care suffering from cancer and had only a matter of days to live. Sadly my mother-in-law quietly passed away in her sleep on the 24h.

As we were preparing for Linda’s mother’s service my wife took out the family album to get a picture of her mother for the program when she suddenly burst into tears uncontrollably. She kept saying repeatedly, “she is right, she is right, all we have left are the stories, our love, and our pictures. Why did we not take a picture with Victory? why? ”  I calmly replied, ” we will take a special trip back to Baltimore, not for the sights,not for the room service, not for the crab cakes, but just to take a picture with Victory!”  I want to tell the story of Victory, her smile, her wisdom, her kindness, and her profound effect on our family’s lives and I need her incredible smile that goes with her story.”  Your company has in its possession a priceless diamond and you don’t  even know it.  WOW! So sad. She is a life changer indeed, a giver of priceless gifts, and a hell of a saleswoman. If people really do have a superpower than Victory’s is truly her kind smile, her magnanimous heart, her intelligence,insight  and genuwine love for others indeed makes her a super hero!  Thank you Waterfront Partnership Of Baltimore  for having the good sense to employ such incredible people like Victory!

 

Matt Kujava

General Manager of Operations

Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore

701 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD

Our Waikiki Ambassadors Continue to Deliver Amazing Service, Even in Challenging Times!

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – You see them hard at work all around Waikiki, pushing their cleaning carts, wiping down lamp posts, sporting their brightly-colored polo shirts.

The Aloha Ambassadors are the custodians of the state’s tourist center.

“We maintain the public streets, change trash cans, wipe down stuff, clean up any mess,” team member Saul De La Rosa said.

The non-profit is an arm of the Waikiki Business Improvement District Association, which is funded entirely by private businesses and the commercial properties in Waikiki.

Read the Full Article Here!

How Grand Rapids and Detroit Ambassadors Make A Tremendous Impact Everyday

Our Grand Rapids and Detroit Ambassadors recently received a feature in Michigan blog, A Healthier Michigan, which included an interview with Grand Rapids operations manager, Melvin Eledge. Julie Bitely, of A Healthier Michigan writes:

“They don’t wear capes, but ambassadors working the downtowns of Grand Rapids and Detroit sure know how to save the day.

Whether providing directions to lost visitors or changing a flat tire, their job is to ensure a warm and hospitable encounter for everyone they meet.

‘We get to be superheroes for the day,’ said Melvin Eledge, operations manager for the Grand Rapids program, which started in Sept. 2013. ‘We get to turn people’s bad days into much better days.’

The ambassadors who work in downtown Grand Rapids and in midtown and downtown Detroit are part of Block by Block, an organization which has implemented ambassador programs in over 70 cities in the United States. The Grand Rapids and Detroit programs are the only two in Michigan so far, working closely with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and the Downtown Detroit Partnership, respectively.”

Grand Rapids and Detroit Ambassadors

Bitely continues, “Ambassadors make their rounds during a typical shift, working to help with clean-up activities, graffiti removal and general Midwest friendliness. They guide out-of-towners to their destinations and answer questions about downtown events. They’ll help people in need of a car battery jump or tire change and even scrape car windows in the winter.

In addition to making downtowns friendlier, ambassadors also serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for police. They’ve been trained in CPR and first-aid, and can also help make connections to services for the homeless men and women they meet during their rounds.

‘There’s not much we don’t do,’ Eledge said.”

View the full story at A Healthier Michigan.

Photo courtesy of A Healthier Michigan.

Meet a Block by Block Operation Supervisor from Waterfront Partnership in Baltimore

Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore shared an excellent introduction to one of our very own, Block by Block operation supervisor, Faneca Porter!

We wanted to share the intro to give you a closer look at the Operation Supervisor role and how someone like Faneca serves her district and her team everyday. So without further adieu, we’ll hand the reins over to Megan, Event Coordinator from Watership Partnership:

“Hi! I’m Megan, Event Coordinator for Waterfront Partnership. I have the best job in Baltimore and work with some pretty cool people. Our team out on the promenade work tirelessly day and night to make sure that folks are safe, answer any questions asked of them, and help to make sure our grounds stay clean.

We can’t keep the awesomeness of these guys and gals to ourselves so I’m going to interview a few of the team members and spotlight them on our blog.

If you see our staff out in the Inner Harbor make sure to stop them and say hello!

Block by Block Operation Supervisor Faneca Porter

I walked into the Harbor East Starbucks to meet Faneca, our Operation Supervisor to interview her for this blog post. As I walked through the doors I heard her before spotting her. She was laughing and chatting with a patron and if I didn’t know Faneca I would assume they were already friends. But as I walked up they parted ways and she confirmed my suspicions, “she just wanted to thank me for all I do and asked if I was keeping warm”. Faneca Porter has become a staple in the Inner Harbor. Her contagious positivity, beaming smile and belly laughs are hard to ignore. Listening to her talk to tourists and locals alike about her love for Baltimore is inspiring and it’s easy to assume that she grew up here based on her deep rooted love for the city.

However, that’s not the case. Faneca made the move to Baltimore from Alabama in 2009. She wanted diversity, opportunity, and a change of pace which she was sure Baltimore could offer. After moving to Charm City her thoughts were validated and she soon learned that most Baltimoreans judge on character first. After talking to Faneca for a few minutes you will easily see why she’s loved by so many people.

After moving to Baltimore she took a position with Waterfront Partnership and quickly moved up through the ranks. On an average day Faneca does everything from internal paperwork, training new hires, monthly training sessions, updates the team on news happening around the harbor, hits the bricks and walks through the district to check on everything. Her favorite part of the day is interacting with businesses and folks walking through the harbor.

Faneca was quick to assure me that there is no typical day on the job. Whether she’s sitting at her desk cranking out payroll, helping our team with event set up or buzzing through the Inner Harbor on a segway, she’s always on the go.

For Faneca the best part of working for Waterfront Partnership is the team. Moving up North she left her extended family behind and found that her co-workers quickly filled that void. Working for an organization that “supports one another from all sides” has been life changing and allows Faneca to enjoy coming to work every single day.

When she’s not working you can find Faneca enjoying a rack of ribs at Dinosaur BBQ or checking out the view from the Top of the World observation deck. She is also a member of Meet Up and enjoys exploring Maryland while meeting new people.

There is one thing I HAD to know about her time in the harbor- what is the strangest question someone has asked?

“Have you ever seen a whale in the harbor?” Faneca laughed and shook her head. Considering the harbor is only 30 feet deep (at it’s deepest point) that would be pretty interesting to see!”

Thanks for all you do, Faneca! And thank you to all of our operation supervisors and managers for helping make our downtowns great!