Brookings beams with pride for not only the amenities we have, but also the people which make them great. This series “Three People You Should Know,” is to promote the great employees throughout the hospitality industry in Brookings.
Meet Tanner Preheim, from the Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge, where he has been a server for almost two years. What he thought would be a job to get him through college has turned into an experience of learning valuable life lessons about teamwork, community, and connection.
Tanner loves Brookings because he has seen how much people truly care for one another. He says, “This town is full of love and kindness, which are things everyone needs nowadays.” Brookings has become a place very close to Tanner’s heart in the short time he has made it his home.
Communication is key in his everyday life. The Pheasant has taught him how to interact with all walks of life from managers, coworkers, and of course the visitors. Tanner told us the way he communicates with customers is the most important part of his job. If he can understand and make sure the customer is served exactly what they want, they will have a great dining experience. His favorite thing about visitors is constantly learning how unique people are. He said, “I find these social experiences very impactful because meeting new people is so special to me. I gain something from every social interaction.”
Tanner is a sophomore at South Dakota State University studying business economics with a minor in human resources. He would like everyone to check out The Pheasant and experience a piece of local history through some wonderful hospitality and food. The restaurant serves many hidden gems including duck wings, a lefse dog, local lamb chislic, bison burgers, and of course the pheasant salad sandwich.
Meet Sarah Jacobs, the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum’s Education Coordinator. She is the driving force of organizing events, tours, and field trips at the museum. For the last five years, she has been able to share her passion of agriculture with people of all ages.
Brookings is not a new destination to Sarah. Her mother grew up on a farm near town and she frequently was a visitor growing up. One of her very first memories is eating Nick’s hamburgers and getting SDSU ice cream with her grandpa.
She has a true passion for agriculture, and she loves to share it with visitors of all ages. Sarah especially enjoys educating others on the parts of agriculture people don’t often think of. She says, “It’s inspiring to see people grasp the concepts you are teaching and to get excited about a part of agriculture that you don’t see every day.” Agriculture can be connected to every diet and piece of clothing, her ability to educate how there is something for everyone in the field is one of her favorite parts of the job.
In her five years, she has learned so much about hospitality and connecting with visitors. A little fun fact is the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum is located in the old stock judging pavilion built by SDSU for animal science classes. The space served as a place for classes and campus/community events and the basement used to be the meat lab. Bring your family to the museum and watch Sarah do her thing, admission is always free, and there are many events held throughout the year for all ages.
Meet Jordan Johnson, at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites he is the Front Desk Manager and has been for the last two years. He has always seen Brookings as a welcoming and safe community to live in. Jordan also loves how there is always something to do, no matter what season it is.
Every day at the hotel, brings new guests, new groups, and new opportunities to the community. He has loved getting to connect with all different kinds of travelers who stay with them. Getting to strike up a conversation and personalize each interaction with the guests has become very important to him. He has seen what a difference it makes to the visitors if he can make them feel welcome while they are away from home. Jordan told us his job is unique because it is never the same day twice. There is always a new face and a new way he can help everyday.
As a former jackrabbit himself, his favorite moments are when SDSU fans stay for different sporting events. He says, “They bring so much energy to the town with them and it really makes a great experience overall.” Learning about where visitors are from and what has brought them to Brookings is one of Jordans favorite part of the job.
Since taking the job during Covid-19 and seeing it go from where it was to fully up and running as it is now, his one tip is to book early. The hotels in Brookings tend to sell out pretty fast so getting ahead of the game helps everyone.