Reynolds Lake Oconee Recognizes 2021 Employee Awards Recipients

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PR & Awards
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Written by Lisa Kinzler

Reynolds Lake Oconee is pleased to recognize the most recent recipients of the annual Employee Awards for their integrity, exceptional quality, and commitment to the company. “The core of Reynolds Lake Oconee is the hard-working and extraordinary employees who live our core values and standards each day,” says Rabun Neal, President of Reynolds Lake Oconee. “These awards are our chance to recognize those people for their service.”

Traci Garner, Human Resources, was awarded the title of Employee of the Year, while Jackie Morgan, Richland Pointe Restaurant Manager, was recognized as Leader of the Year. Ron Kalpak was honored as Sales Executive of the Year for Reynolds Lake Oconee Properties, LLC. Walter Butler, Guest Services, and Valerie Blokker, Food & Beverage Creek Club, each received the 2021 “Helping Hand” Award.

Traci Garner is a hardworking employee for our Human Resources department, going the extra mile to get everyone into their roles quickly. Traci worked for Wells Fargo Advisors before beginning her career at Reynolds in 2019.

In her role as HRIS administrator in the Human Resources department, she strives to ensure all new Reynolds family members are taken care of and is responsible for processing all employee data for new hires.

“I just love people and especially the people I work with. I also enjoy that I get to interact with employees from all departments in Reynolds,” says Garner. “I like how we all work great together.”

Garner is an active member of the Crossroads Baptist Church in Eatonton, where she volunteers her time as the church nursery director. Garner and her husband, Clayton, love spending time with family. They have a son, Kevin Byrd, a daughter, Lauren Pressley, and three grandchildren, Dalton, Adley, and Kade.

Before joining the Banquet Department at Reynolds, Jackie Morgan had a short career as an Insurance Adjuster after graduating from Auburn University. She joined Reynolds Lake Oconee over a year ago.

Through her hard work and dedication, she became the Restaurant Manager at The Tavern. She continued to grow as a leader, developing her team and always ensuring that the Membership received world-class hospitality in the busiest restaurant at Reynolds. Jackie then opened the new Richland Pointe restaurant as their manager. Her strong leadership, glowing personality, and uncompromising work ethic will help her continue to be successful in the years to come.

“I love my Food and Beverage team,” says Morgan. “I have had great mentors to look up to. My staff inspires me to want to do better, they try so hard and give their all to Richland Pointe and they deserve someone who gives their all to them.”

“My favorite part of Reynolds is the people I get to work with, everyone embraces each other like family.” Jackie recently married her sweetheart, Dustin, in September of this year. She grew up riding horses and is interested in rehabilitating thoroughbred horses after their racing careers end. They have two spoiled dogs, Albert and Jade.

Ron Kalpak was recognized as Sales Executive of the Year. Truly dedicated, Ron is celebrating 30 years with Reynolds Lake Oconee Properties and has been an Active Life Member of the Lake County Board of Realtors Million Dollar Club, and the 2021 recipient of the Good Neighbor award for his service to those in and outside of the local community.

The knowledge and experience Kalpak has gained from the past 30 years of being at Reynolds have proven to be invaluable. He’s been with Reynolds since the early days and continues to be involved in the evolution of the most unbelievable community in the world. Kalpak has experience in land development to spec homes, new construction to remodeling projects, Tennis Pro to Sales Executive, Listing Agent or Buyer’s agent, and single life to raising a family. He feels this gives him an advantage when helping a client. “I feel that I am uniquely qualified to assist clients no matter what stage of their journey and what they may be looking to purchase, or looking to sell.”

Kalpak says he could not accomplish any of his success without the support of his family. “There is no end to my family’s encouragement and excitement about what I do for a living,” he says. “I’m just as proud of my family and their accomplishments. I am very blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful family, friends, clients, and of course, the most beautiful place in the world to live and work.”

It was also a special night honoring our first 35-year employee: Ronald McWhorter, The Landing Golf Course Superintendent. Ronald was also the recipient of Leader of the Year for 2020.

Walter Butler and Valerie Blokker each received the “Helping Hand” Award for 2021.

Walter, is a native of Madison, Georgia. He has worked tirelessly as a Youth Advocate Community Leader and Mentor in the surrounding counties within and outside the state of Georgia. Walter is a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Buckhead, Georgia. A member of Mount Zion since he was five years old, Walter has grown up in the church and has held many positions: Head Drummer for over 15 years, Jr. Deacon for 5 years, assisting with choir rehearsals and music, Teacher and Event planner for Vacation Bible School and Youth Explosion for the past 2 years. He has a passion for working with people, especially the youth. He worked with the Morgan County Boys & Girls Club for 3 years, with grades 6th to 8th graders, teaching life skills and core values. As Walter's passion continues with the heart of service, he serves and assists with the Annual Back-to-school rallies, purchasing and passing out school supplies for the youth within Morgan County.

Valerie Blokker embraces any opportunity to lend a helping hand. Usually, it is by taking inexperienced new hires at Reynolds under her wing and showing them every step of the way as they progress through their careers at the Creek Club restaurant. Another example of Valerie’s generosity is when she learned of the poor condition of the Putnam County Sherriff’s and Fire Office facility. She was informed that there was not enough money in the budget to improve the quality of the conditions, and she took it upon herself to do something about it on their behalf. Out of her pocket and from savings from her second job, she purchased and delivered a new set of furniture that was in perfect condition that could offer the hard-working firemen and officers of Putnam County a place to rest in between taking care of our communities. Truly an example of lending a helping hand!

Jackie Morgan, Richland Pointe Restaurant Manager, was recognized as Leader of the Year
Jackie Morgan, Richland Pointe Restaurant Manager, was recognized as Leader of the Year
Traci Garner, Human Resources, was awarded the title of Employee of the Year
Traci Garner, Human Resources, was awarded the title of Employee of the Year
Ron Kalpak was honored as Sales Executive of the Year for Reynolds Lake Oconee Properties, LLC
Ron Kalpak was honored as Sales Executive of the Year for Reynolds Lake Oconee Properties, LLC
Walter Butler, Guest Services, received the 2021 “Helping Hand” Award
Walter Butler, Guest Services, received the 2021 “Helping Hand” Award
Valerie Blokker, Food & Beverage Creek Club, received the 2021 “Helping Hand” Award
Valerie Blokker, Food & Beverage Creek Club, received the 2021 “Helping Hand” Award

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