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Holiday Inn Express Manager Todd Chaput is originally from Wyoming and moved here at the request of his old college roommate – Richard DeBolt. Debolt asked him to relocate in 1996 to help with his campaign. And the rest, as they say, is history.

You may have known Chaput through his various jobs in the area. He managed the Back 9 Bistro located at the former golf course on Seminary Hill. “We really pushed the boundaries of what [food] was offered in this area,” he reminisces. Then he was the General Manager at the short-lived Classic Casino. After that, he spent seven years managing The Olympic Club, where his favorite duty was a little bartending. “I do miss that part,” he says. “It was fun and exciting.”

todd chaput chehalis
Todd Chaput participates in many community events, such as the Knowledge Bowl literacy fundraiser. College buddy, Richard DeBolt (second from left) is often right there with him.

When the Holiday Inn Express came to town, Chaput was approached by Sales Director, Lisa Neal, to manage the property. Chaput loves the service industry, explaining that he likes the dynamic, changing and unpredictable nature of the work. “You plan as best you can but you are at the mercy of your customers,” he says.

He also has a unique way of working with his staff. His philosophy is that the success of a business is because of the staff. So he says he puts staff first, before customers. “Of course customers are important, but if someone doesn’t like their job, they give bad service, which translates to unhappy customers,” Chaput explains.

Chaput actually conducts interviews a little differently as well, putting potential staff through a behavioral interview. “Is this a person I can have a conversation with, be friends with outside of work? The connection is greater than the job. I’ve been able to maintain staff with very little turnover. That also affects the bottom line. If you can keep a happy, contented and engaged staff, you can have a successful operation.” He’s proud to say that he has little turnover, maintaining many long-time staff.

Chaput is also very busy building relationships outside of the hotel property. His major focus lately is as board chair for the Public Facilities District which built the new Northwest Sports Hub. The visitors attending events at the Hub hopefully translate to “heads in beds” at the Holiday Inn Express. He is also Board Chair for the Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he is President of Lewis County United Way and past president of Twin Cities Rotary. Chaput actually has a reason for all his volunteer work. “I look for opportunities for all areas of interest to cross in order to utilize everyone’s strengths to the betterment of all associations,” he explains.

todd chaput chehalis
Chaput has a lot of fun and loves his life in Lewis County.

He has worked on projects such as the Home and Garden Show, P2S (Portland to Seattle) Beer and Wine Fest, and a December Business After Hours event that recognized United Way for their support of Lewis County families and businesses. It’s very important to Chaput to support the community. The hotel sponsors many events, showing connections as well as giving back to the community. It’s also important for him to be fiscally responsible to the ownership, as well as socially responsible to the community. He feels he does a good job of making them work together, using marketing dollars to sponsor community group activities that unite the community while provided needed resources. “The community is also very responsive to the support we provide,” says Chaput.

Chaput’s goals in life and in work are admirable. He wants to improve the quality of life in Lewis County by addressing poverty through his service work associations. Of course, he will also continue to grow the market for his hotel. “People come from Seattle and Portland to meet halfway for business. Visitors also come to visit Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. And weddings and sports activities keep the hotel full most weekends.”

Chaput and his family make their home in Chehalis. His wife, Kerri, works for the Chehalis School District and 10-year-old daughter, Ella attends Chehalis schools. They like to travel – Chaput was an exchange student in Germany and Kerri studied in London. They have enjoyed exposing Ella to travel by taking her to Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Next up are plans for a road trip to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Mount Rushmore. “I just want to raise a healthy, engaged, intelligent child,” Chaput explains. While Wyoming will always be home, he loves Chehalis and plans to stay. “I have a great staff, wonderful family, and a great home in Lewis County,” he beams.

todd chaput chehalis
Todd Chaput is pictured with his daughter, Ella, and wife, Kerri.

And he must be doing something right with his “staff first” management style. The Holiday Inn Express has received a Service of Excellence award from IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), the parent company for Holiday Inn Express. This means that out of 2,000 properties worldwide, the Chehalis property was rated in the top 100 – based on customer reviews. So apparently “happy staff equals happy customers” truly is the magic formula.

Holiday Inn Express
730 NW Liberty Place
Chehalis, WA 98532
360-740-1800

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