Calvin Burkley gets goosebumps thinking about the way a Pinehurst Resort & Country Club guest responded to renovations he and his team had made to one of America’s oldest hotels.
“She comes into one of the [Carolina Hotel’s] rooms, looks around, and her jaw drops,” he says. “Then she walks around the corner, looks into the bathroom, and it was just an unscripted reaction. She gasped and put her hand to her mouth. She was in awe.”
The director of projects and planning for Pinehurst couldn’t ask for a better reaction to a once-in-a-generation project. His team has made improvements to the 122-year-old hotel while keeping its historic charm intact: the renovated rooms are brighter, featuring new fixtures, finishes, and custom-built furniture. It also expanded bathrooms and improved lighting and soundproofing.
The hotel and other parts of the resort, built in 1895, are slated for more updates this year, before Pinehurst hosts the US Open in 2024. Burkley says those efforts are part of a renaissance of growth and reinvestment that began well before he started his tenure at the resort in 2018. But he’s excited to keep that momentum going.
“We want to make sure this is the best place for people to come for a long time,” he says. “We want to make sure we protect the history of it; that it’s timeless, historic, relevant, and forward thinking.”
Overseeing projects that preserve Pinehurst’s past while paving the way to its future is hard work, but Burkley loves the challenge. His deep appreciation for the resort’s history has been a guiding principle for all 40 of the projects he currently oversees, as has his dedication to maintaining communication among everyone involved in them.
“On my Outlook, it tells me that I have 106 people that I communicate with regularly,” he says. “That’s multiple contractors, design firms, project managers, superintendents. There’s a lot of communication that needs to happen and the tough part is knowing what to communicate and when.”
He admits that keeping up with it all can be a challenge. He has monthly calls with senior staff to get status updates on projects, in which he gives staff a chance to ask questions, dive into challenges or concerns, and share success stories. He also reports to the resort’s CFO once a week for the same reason.
“From a self-accountability standpoint, the update that I put together is something I came up with because of the high project volume,” he says. “The only way I can manage it is to keep a running dialogue in a documented form. Because when you’re typing up a weekly report, the last thing you want to do is type ‘no change.’”
That focus on optimizing his planning process is now more vital than ever, as supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic persist. There have been some improvements, but Burkley says supply shortages are still an issue.
“There are some things in the planning stages that we’re looking at now that we didn’t have to think about pre-COVID,” he says. “For example, we used to be able to expect a custom couch in 16 weeks but now it’ll take over a year. All the timelines for getting certain items have changed.”
As a result, the team has been forced to adjust where they source items from, commit to ordering items earlier, and think further ahead in the planning process than before. He navigates that challenge and others by building relationships with his team and supporting his people however he can. He believes in the role integrity can play in being a good leader. He says it can bring value to a company by building trust among the people who work there.
“I think integrity is the most important thing,” he says. “If I don’t have integrity, I don’t have anything. I’m a big believer in doing what I say and saying what I want to do, and people can take that to the bank. People can really count on the things I say.
“It’s just being honest with people: being honest with your contractors with where you’re at, being honest with the design firms on how they’re performing, and what your needs are,” he adds.
Before joining Pinehurst, he worked at Firestone Country Club for 24 years. There, he got to be around strong leaders and mentors he could count on. As director of facilities, he navigated interpersonal conflicts among staff members by creating an environment that showed them they could rely on each other.
Today, he uses that experience to help Pinehurst continue its upward growth trajectory.
“I really enjoy working here because of the quality of the staff. It’s like working with all superstars,” he says. “I can count on people, and they can count on me.”
Cline Design is dedicated to transforming communities through innovative design and the integration of architecture, planning, landscape architecture, and interior design. With experience crafting timeless projects in the world-renowned golf capital, Cline Design’s opportunities to partner with Calvin and The Pinehurst Resort and Country Club have inspired The Cradle Crossing, a new open-air bar and pavilion on the nine-hole short course, and additional vibrant outdoor amenities that effortlessly blend in with the surrounding landscape.
The O’Connor Company is an experienced industrial and commercial general contractor specializing in commercial, industrial, and multi-family residence construction. Based in Pinehurst, NC, we serve clients nationwide with an expert understanding of all aspects of the construction process. We always serve clients with the utmost skill, integrity, and professionalism—our time-honored approach to delivering superior results. We proudly congratulate Calvin Burkley and Pinehurst Resort & Country Club on their recognition!