People often associate the word "concierge" with someone who works in the hotel industry. But Jaci Zweig, corporate concierge for the Hughes Center, 3800 Howard Hughes Parkway, is an exception to the stereotype.
Zweig is the Hughes Center's "go-to woman," serving as a resource of information for its employees, from booking dinner and show reservations to planning company events and tracking down unique gifts. She sits in a large, open office adjacent to the lobby in the Wells Fargo Tower.
"I have the best desk in town," Zweig said.
It's a space -- and a position -- that Crescent Real Estate Equities, the Hughes Center's parent company, created specifically for her in 1997. The corporate position was something new to Zweig, as her background was solely in hotel concierge service at the time.
Zweig was one of the first hotel concierges in the valley. Her career began after graduating from Purdue University and landing an interview for the Golden Nugget concierge position with Steve Wynn in 1983.
"He said, 'Don't call us -- we'll call you,' " Zweig said. "I walked out of the building, down to my car, and his assistant came out and asked me to start work Monday morning."
Life hasn't been the same for Zweig since. She played a role in the creation of VIP rooms for the Golden Nugget and the Desert Inn and earned gold keys to the Les Clefs d'Or International Concierge Society, one of the highest honors that a concierge can receive.
She was a founding member of the Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association and established the Nevada chapter of the National Concierge Association. Zweig, at the beginning of her career, never imagined that Las Vegas would grow the way it did -- with the number of hotels and casinos downtown and along the Strip.
"At the time, there were 11 concierges in Las Vegas," Zweig said. "When creating the (Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association), we considered adding bellmen. At that time, we never considered large hotels like the MGM Grand being built."
After more than a decade of working in the hotel-casino industry, Zweig was hesitant at first to make the switch in unfamiliar territory.
"I would be going from assisting hotel guests, who I would see three or four days at a time, to assisting tenants I'd see every day," Zweig said. "I wasn't sure how to make the transition. It was tough to give up my gold keys. That was a big struggle for me."
However, the transition turned out to be successful for Zweig, who takes pride in her job and the people with whom she works. Zweig is on a first-name basis with the tenants at Hughes Center, which is home to several high-profile law firms and corporations in the valley.
From 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, she greets tenants and guests and welcomes the challenge of any unique request one may have. It's the level of customer service, she said, that makes the difference.
"There's so much more to be said for one-on-one, face-to-face communication," Zweig said. "I can't always meet (someone's) expectations over the phone. A lot of the job is educating people, even if they're locals. I know certain places to sit in restaurants where you want to make a dinner reservation. If you want to go to a show, you need to know where to seat people. That's where networking comes in."
Zweig has built a large network of people, from employees in the hotel industry to business executives. Combined with her 29 years of concierge experience, Zweig's knowledge makes for an ideal resource .
"Jaci is a great example of what makes Hughes Center unique," said Bob Boykin, leasing managing director for the Hughes Center. "For a company that prides itself on offering the highest level of customer service, Jaci is a very valuable resource for the thousands of people who work here every day."
Something Zweig doesn't take for granted is the opportunity to establish close relationships with Hughes Center employees. It's these relationships, she said, that make Zweig's job so enjoyable.
"It's about the people I meet every day," Zweig said. "I'm a part of their lives, and they're a part of mine. I've watched them go through trials and tribulations in their lives, and they come to me with these heartfelt needs. These people are asking my opinion on marriage proposals or planning for events in their lives, and that just blows me away."
The corporate concierge's service extends beyond taking requests from tenants. Zweig also spearheads the Hughes Center's involvement in Crescent's nonprofit FACES of Change, assisting students at Rowe Elementary School, 4338 S. Bruce St., by providing clothing and necessities to students and their guardians and holding various fundraisers. It's something in which Zweig takes pride and devotes a large portion of her time.
"It's all about the kids," Zweig said. "It's all about doing for other people. That's the nature of a concierge. I have a real passion for my profession, and it never stops."
Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter Lisa Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 383-4686.