Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay – Longest serving staff

Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay – Longest serving staff

Fiji Sun, April 23 – To be recognised as a longest serving staff is an achieve­ment. Gregory Underwood, is the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay’s Director Rooms. The resort has just celebrated one year of operations. But Mr Under­wood has been a Marriott man since 2005.

Here’s his sto­ry and the experience that put him into such a key role.

Mr Underwood believes his strong religious background and his par­ents and late grandmother’s teach­ings has got him where he is today.

Born and bred in Lautoka, Mr Un­derwood grew up in the Fiji Sugar Corporation quarters where his dad, Philip worked as an electrician.

“If I hear anyone call my dad by the name Philpot then I would know that person was a close friend or family member,” he said.

His mum, Anne (nee Mathaias) was a bank officer and this was the line of work he wanted to pursue at an early age.

“I am very fortunate to come from a very strong Catholic family and the teachings from my grandma, Jessie Underwood, will always be with me throughout my life.”

He attended FSC Kindergarten at the age of three “because I was too smart for my nanny” and then Drasa Avenue School and then Natabua High School.

While still in primary school, Mr Underwood’s determination saw him landing a part time weekend job at a video shop (City Video) which used to be located where the Digicel build­ing is in Lautoka.

After leaving school, Mr Under­wood worked at Subhash Garment as an accounts clerk and tried to get a job at a bank and the then Air Pacific but was unsuccessful.

He then saw scholarships adver­tised in the newspapers to study in either Japan, France, Australia and New Zealand.

“The Japanese Embassy got back to me and offered me to study tourism in Japan for three years and went in 1989 and learnt the language which was to become very valuable later on when I returned to Fiji.”

He returned to Fiji in 1992 and be­came a Japanese co-ordinator and looked after the Japanese tourists from the Sheraton, Tokoriki up to the Coral Coast and the Fijian Hotel.

Following that the demand for his Japanese speaking skills was high and he was hired by Sheraton, then the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa. He returned to the Sheraton and following the acquisition of the re­sort by ITT. He was appointed Rooms Division Manager for three of their properties from 2002 to 2005.

“The buzz at that time was that Mar­riott was coming to Fiji and every­body wanted to go there and work, so in 2005 I applied for a job as Director of Rooms,” Mr Underwood said.

While waiting for the resort to open, Mr Underwood was sent to Marri­ott’s property in Hawaii where he worked and learned Marriott’s val­ues for nine years.

Marriott has since then allowed him to visit and see the company’s property in Thailand, Hawaii, Salt Lake City and watched the Las Vegas Sevens six times.”

Mr Underwood has since bought a property in Lautoka where he lives with his parents and siblings.