Happy 30th Birthday Pat!
Jul. 06, 2011
Those of you that have been to Aikens have had the pleasure of meeting and laughing with Pat. Pat began his career at Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge over a decade ago. As Pat celebrates his 30th birthday today, we would like to take you all back through his career at Aikens Lake and pay homage to a man that has been able to carve his own path wherever he's been... Pat's Aikens career began auspiciously in the year 2000. Having recently graduated high school with Gerry's daughter Andrina, Pat found work at Aikens as a dockhand with a few of his friends. That season was cut short due to lack of work, and at times a lack of work ethic. The lowpoint could have been when Pat was caught snoozing in the woodshed... he was sawing the wrong kind of logs! However, Gerry and Lorraine saw enough promise in Pat to give him a second chance in 2001 and this time he came in with a renewed energy and was ready to tackle any job thrown his way. He started learning how to fish Aikens Lake and quickly started charging up the guide ranks in the years that followed. By 2004 he was named head guide. His tenure at head guide lasted 5 years - the longest tenured head guide in Aikens history. During that time, he revolutionized the personal service aspect of guiding. His attention to detail to ensure that all guests had an incredible experience is second to none. As part of this attention to detail, he introduced Aikens to the "fish towel" - an idea that is now standard practice for all our guides. This small example of customer service by simply providing them with a towel to wipe their hands after handling fish and bait epitomizes how thorough Pat is when dealing with customers. On the water, Pat was also in a league of his own in terms of fishing knowledge and talent. Consistently putting his guests onto big fish, Pat was always the first one to find new bites. In the springtime, he took bottom-bouncing to new levels on Aikens. Trucking through the Back Bay with spinners and crawlers, he was able to teach an entire generation of guides that followed him at Aikens the right techniques to coax big walleye on the spinner. As spring continued on, you could bet that he would be out there in mid-June starting to troll around the Saddle waiting for those trophy walleye to saunter out of the currents of the Gammon River and the shallows of the bays and into the main body of water. He took pride in finding that first trophy walleye on the Saddle every year - it is still his favorite spot on Aikens Lake to fish. There were several years where Pat and his guests would account for nearly half of the Master Anglers we recorded on Aikens. Despite having hung up the fulltime guiding gloves, he was able to find last year's biggest walleye (31") for one special guest, and is in a tie for this year's biggest with a 30.5". Although he doesn't patrol the waters of Aikens Lake as often as he did in the past, he hasn't lost his touch when the opportunity presents itself to spend a day on the lake! Up to 2007, Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge had only ever had 2 fulltime, year-round employees. Pat vowed to change that too, and made it clear that he wanted to turn his guiding success into a full-time career! So, a decision was made by the Jensen/Turenne partnership to hire Patrick full time starting in the fall of 2007. Although we didn't know quite what role would come of it, we knew that Pat would be a success at it! It was a new and exciting challenge for Pat. Despite the fact he had never been schooled in sales per se, he approached it with the same tenacity with which he dominated the lake when guiding. He started attending most of the sportshows and represents Aikens with class every time. Several books and a sprinkling of mentoring from Pit and Gerry was all it took for Pat to create his own unique personal style of selling. At Aikens, we sell the "Aikens Experience" - a first class experience at a pristine wilderness lodge. Pat epitomizes that "Aikens Experience" in everything he does. During the summers, Pat now plays a dual role. With Janelle, they are the happy hosts at GGO. On top of that, Pat plays an integral role in the management of the guides and laborers. His work ethic is untouchable and he is a hands-on boss that demands a high degree of effort. At the same time, he understands personalities better than anyone and is able to play mentor and sounding board for many of our young guides and workers who are just learning the ropes. He leads by example because he has been through it all himself and can easily empathize with the crew here at Aikens. He is an integral cog in the Aikens machine both in his summer management role and winter sales role. Pat's Aikens story is also of a fairytale variety... it was here that he met his bride Janelle! After several years of dating, they got married in April of 2010. Their wedding had a definite "Aikens flair" to it as they had named all of their tables after fishing spots on Aikens Lake! Pat & Janelle now have a new puppy named Enzo that will patrol the shorelines of Aikens for a long time. Janelle has also carved her own road and is also now working side-by-side with Patrick, Pit, and Julie in a fulltime role with the lodge. Pat and Janelle are certainly role models for all young couples to aspire to! So, on your 30th birthday, we want to salute you Patrick. What you have been able to accomplish at Aikens has been truly remarkable. As you have grown from a young teenager to an accomplished sales manager at Aikens, we have seen the lodge grow exponentially over that same time frame as well. That is not a coincidence. We hope that Aikens has been able to give you back even just a portion of what you have given the lodge. We are lucky to have you on our side at Aikens Lake and look forward to continuing to work side-by-side with you and Janelle. We are sure that Big Molly's Bar will be a rocking place tonight as we help you celebrate 30 years. Happy Birthday!