As Shane Bybee sits at his desk on the first floor of the Ramada Copper Queen, he tilts his head back, eyes toward the ceiling and starts listing off names.
“Me, Burrell, Mark, my daughter, Mark’s daughter,” he thinks aloud, stopping to think if he’s missing anyone. “Well then there are all the cousins and siblings and other family members as well. At some point in time everyone in my family has worked in the hotel.”
He is speaking of the Ramada Copper Queen on Great Basin Highway. Built in 1986, the hotel has been in his family’s blood for close to 30 years. And everyone has played their part.
“This is all I know. I’ve worked several part-time jobs for various people but this is the only full-time job I’ve ever had,” Bybee said.
Bybee’s business card reads “General Manager” but he actually co-manages the hotel with his older brother Mark. Shane handles the operations end while Mark manages the office side. The two brother’s father, Burrell, also continues to come into work every day, helping the two keep everything in motion.
But Shane Bybee’s family extends far beyond those that he can read off his family tree. To him, his employees and hotel guests are like long lost cousins and uncles and nieces all getting together for one big reunion, everyday.
“We have guests that live with us for months and months on end. Guests all join us for Thanksgiving dinner. It is a real family atmosphere, right through from us to our employees to our guests,” he said.
Though he might sit atop the food chain, Bybee said that there is no job in the hotel that he won’t or hasn’t already done. It’s a small business owner’s mindset that was instilled in him when he was nine years old, peeling potatoes for the family restaurant his grandfather owned. Three years later, at the age of 12, Bybee became an official part-time employee alongside his brother. From then on, he learned the importance of the customer, the fine details and the importance of doing what has to be done.
“There is not a job in this place that I won’t do. I think that is why it works well and why the customers are comfortable because they see that when we get busy, I’m the guy that’s cleaning the dishes or walking around with a toilet plunger. It is so important that the details are covered for our guests,” he said.
And he knows that his work is never done. Each year the hotel renovates a section. One year was the floor. Next, the televisions in all 65 bedrooms. This year, it’s light fixtures and more.
Bybee likes to stay busy. He served on the Ely City Council, is an active member of the Rotary Club, recently served on the Utility Board and much more. It’s not that down time is wasted time, it’s more that he could be doing something productive, something to give back to the community that has kept him and his family in business for as long as he has been alive.
“This community has been really good to us over the years and I just want to be involved and help in anyway that I can to show my appreciation and support,” Bybee said.
The Ramada Copper Queen is located at 805 Great Basin Blvd. For more information on the hotel or to make a reservation, call 775-289-4884.