‘Houseman’ shines for hospitality in Red Wing

After gaining experience at ProAct and in another job with its support, Michael Halpaus found a satisfying job match at a Red Wing hotel through a friend and receives limited support from the nonprofit.

Halpaus plays a primary cleaning role for many common areas and restrooms. He covers the weight room, front entry and picks up in the parking lot.

As he mopped the floor in the pool area a second time on a busy Friday, the “houseman” talked about the positive environment at Country Inn & Suites on the city’s west side. “Everbody’s friendly here. I like that,” he said. The housekeepers say good morning and wish him a good day.

When asked if he feels appreciated, Halpaus said, “Oh yeah. I want to keep doing this for a while.”

Hotel GM Scott Hanson

General Manager Scott Hanson said he’s thankful for Halpaus every day, and sometimes calls him in for extra shifts. COVID-19 put a delay on one of the houseman’s favorite tasks, serving breakfast. He would make and serve scrambled eggs and other hot food. At times, there were tips.

ProAct Employment Services Manager Pam Veith said Halpaus has also done well with attendance. The GM said he shows up early and figures out rides to work.

The hotel is often first or second in occupancy for Red Wing, said Hanson. It opened in 2008 and is located next to the Smokin’ Oak restaurant on Highway 61.