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New Glacier concessionaire readies for season

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 4, 2014 at 7:05 pm •  Published: April 4, 2014

"It will be very customized. Our needs are very specific," he said of the building, which will have four lift bays and provide room for general engineering and maintenance operations.

A tangential task has been hiring — lots of hiring. The company will have about 35 full-time employees and 600 seasonal workers.

"We're about 80 percent of the way" in completing those hiring goals, Ducharme said.

A core of former GPI employees will be critical for a successful operation.

"The institutional knowledge that some of the GPI people bring will be extremely helpful the first year," he said, noting that the historic Lake McDonald Lodge and Many Glacier Hotel can be "very quirky" in terms of maintenance and engineering.

The red bus drivers, also known as "jammers," are another key component of the new Xanterra workforce.

"The entire group of them are returning," Ducharme said. "Not only are they coming back every year, they want to drive the same bus every year."

Ducharme's job also has involved working closely with park officials and Glacier Park Inc., which continues to own and manage lodging facilities around the park, including the Glacier Park Lodge.

He said there are regular meetings between Xanterra and GPI to discuss coordinating reservations, red bus routes and other topics.

While he has been busy at work, Ducharme also keeps occupied with his family and with the Whitefish Men's Hockey League, playing on a team called The T-Wolves.

"I've been playing hockey all my life," said Ducharme.

"It's really great to have a healthy activity to look forward to every week just to get you through the winter," he said. "It's also good for networking. If you need anything done, someone from the hockey league does it."

Ducharme said he and his wife, Ashley, keep plenty occupied by their 4-month-old boy, Porter.

"As new parents, every day is a learning experience," he said. "A new job, a new baby, it all keeps me busy."