Al Warnier, Spirit in the Desert’s Facilities Manager, was asked what is the most important part of his job, and surprisingly, he didn’t initially mention buildings, grounds, or maintenance.
He said, “The core of my job is making sure the guests are taken care of by responding to their needs.” Al’s business card says, “Just let me know how I can assist you.” He added, “Of course maintaining in top condition the facilities and equipment, as well the swimming pool, the desert foliage, and the fountains is also my job.”
Al, like his wife Cyndy, Spirit in the Desert’s Program and Development Director, grew up in a family that owned a resort in northern Wisconsin. Al’s father passed away when Al was in seventh grade and he and his two brothers helped their mother keep the resort in operation to support the family. That was the beginning of learning the technical skills required in his current job: electrical, plumbing, irrigation, and remodeling. He also learned the importance of happy guests who become repeat business.
Prior to his position at Spirit in the Desert, Al was employed by a major nursery and landscape business in Phoenix where he was responsible for one of the retail stores and the landscape division. When he came to Spirit in the Desert he knew how to care for the desert cacti, plants, and trees on the nine-acre campus that are so important to its serenity and sacredness.
Al enjoys getting to know the guests as he goes about his work and loves seeing them smiling and happy when they leave their retreat. He said, “I regard my work as ministry. My brother is a pastor and I believe what I do is also helping people spiritually.”