August 16th, 2016
Before I ever got mixed up in the beverage industry I still had a good inkling of who’s who in Honolulu city. That didn’t come from any major talents on my part, I was just out every night.
When I first moved to Hawai’i after a 2-year a gig in San Diego, my job at a computer systems helpdesk was a 24 hour operation. The main shift I worked was 2pm-10pm. It was perfect off-hours to go out every night and never think about getting enough rest.
Going out every night late, especially the weeknights, you start to see a lot of the same players. Most are outgoing since they’re in a service industry, and all love to have a good time. They just radiated some kind of passion and were usually the center of attention, buying everyone shots or just perching themselves somewhere easy for others to come up and talk story with them. This was when everyone went to The Wave (or I should say “wound up” at The Wave); an era I only caught in its twilight years but they were the greatest years in this city.
Even in those days and especially now: Alvin Yeh was one of the key players. Directing the operations of one of the largest nightlife endeavors on Oahu this time eight years ago, LEVEL4 at the Waikiki Shopping Center, Yeh was already an experienced and established nightlife professional in Las Vegas who came back to help run the nightclub. It was hard not to ever say his name without saying “Vegas-style.” It’s what he brought to the table. It’s what everyone wanted.
Today Yeh has laser-focus on his career and life balance. He will once again be relocating from Las Vegas to Honolulu starting last Monday. Recently accepting the position as General Manager for RumFire at the Sheraton Waikiki he has big shoes to fill, but everything he has done up until now has laid the framework for a successful experience.
“By far the greatest reward is seeing my vision manifest which is providing a great experience for my guests.” Yeh told me.
“Seeing people leave happy and wanting to come back is priceless. I've experience people come right out of their shell and lives change before my eyes, it's absolutely amazing! Constantly meeting new, interesting people from all over the world isn't a bad reward either.”
Yeh will definitely be meeting people from all over the world, as thousands filter through RumFire weekly and even more so when the oceanfront bar and restaurant turns itself into a nightlife destination on weekends. His first priority? One that I hear from a lot of service industry professionals:
“I want to make sure everyone who comes to Sheraton Waikiki and RumFire have their very best experience.” he told me. “We need to ensure the Aloha Spirit tourists hear about isn't just a story. People should be living it, breathing it, and then telling everyone they know to experience it for themselves.”
The utmost professional, I asked Yeh how he handles the challenges in such an active career.
“Like anything else in life, possessing ample experience is so valuable.” he told me.
“When you've been through tough situations and come of them stronger you know how to carry yourself when obstacles appear. It becomes routine, like training for life, my outlet is training Jiu Jitsu. It helps me fuel my competitive fire yet keeps me calm when things get tough, it's a balance like life. For example, when you are getting smashed and put in a bad position, staying calm and constantly working and thinking about your solution is vital, most who have never felt that pressure will panic and make the situation worse.”
“Finding answers to puzzles becomes almost addicting, you always want to improve. Stay persistent and continue to improve on your weaknesses everyday. It might not work out the first time, but the more you operate smoothly under duress while constantly working to find the solution, you'll find success. I subscribe to the motto ‘become comfortable being uncomfortable.’”
“Nothing is perfect in life, so you take the good with the bad. There will always be those who are never satisfied and hold a negative outlook on things. It's human nature, so there will be that percentage of people who we encounter who reject positivity and try to get you to vibrate on that frequency. In those cases, you just have to function on another level.”
“I have definitely experienced more positive and happy people and have changed lives for the better. Again this satisfaction is priceless and overshadows the temporary negative side of the business. Never let the negative outway the positive. I always enjoy your outlook on things and hold your quote close ‘Take control of your own life and happiness’.”
Sound advice. What are your thoughts on the nightlife scene here in Honolulu?
“The nightlife scene in Honolulu is constantly evolving. Every time I threw a one-off party here, I see venues pick up on things quickly. Now there are headliner Dj's booked and music festivals held consistently, which is smart because it builds on the brand awareness with younger generations. EDM Dj popularity is strong and continues to grow, so it's still a great marketing business model but profitability definitely has changed significantly. We didn't have this kind of mass music culture before, and the change is good.”
I do agree change is good and constant. Any shoutouts?
“Kelsey Campbell for being by my side and always striving with me to become greater every day. She is beautiful, strong and smart. Michelle Kennedy and Jason Ulep for taking such great care of my daughter Madison Ai Ling Yeh. Corey Correa for helping me with the decision to move back home. I am looking forward to the next Chapter!”
So am I. Welcome back Alvin!