#MeetUsMonday – Kris and Matt, Corporate Sales Executives

Kris and Matt MUM

Kris LaFata
Corporate Sales Executive
Argosy Team Member since 2015
Hometown: Huntington Beach, California

Matt Lund
Corporate Sales Executive
Argosy Team Member since 2010 (Vessel Operations 2010-2015, and Sales from 2015 to present)
Hometown: Tacoma/Puyallup, Washington

When someone first contacts Argosy Cruises about booking a private charter or event, one of the first questions we have for them is, "What kind of party?" Birthdays, weddings, non-profits and government-related groups go to Senior Sales Executive Peter Robinson, who we introduced in an earlier #MeetUsMonday. For corporate or other business-related events, clients are placed in the experienced hands of Kris and Matt.

Kris came to Argosy from the hotel hospitality industry, and her ability to understand a client's desires and find a match with our products and vessels quickly made her a big hit in the Sales Department.

Matt began as crew in 2010 and eventually became a bosun (lead crew) on half the vessels in the Argosy fleet! Now in his new position on the Sales Team, he continues to put his vessel knowledge to work when helping clients design their events with us.

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When someone calls Argosy to look into booking an events, what happens?

Matt: We start by giving them an overview of what we have to offer. Key pieces of information we need are the approximate date they'd like to hold the event, and the group size which tells us which specific boats we should look at.

During the overview of what Argosy can provide (vessels, event space on Blake Island, bar and charter packages) we can learn a lot about what each client is looking for with their event. For instance, if I see someone interested in a 1 1/2 hour cruise (our regular private charters are 3 hours) with more of a happy hour feel, I can go into detail about our Brews & Bites package which fits that time frame.

Kris: I want to offer my clients something that is within their budget, and offer options. I look at myself as a consultant: I have a client that wants to do an event, and they have a budget, which could be financial or it could be time. And they have a need or a want for an event. It's my job to consult them on the best Argosy product to fit that need. And this is something that Matt and I are really good at doing.

 

What are some of the more unique events that you've seen groups do with us?

Kris: I once had a group that started their team building event with a scavenger hunt around their offices and it led everyone down to one of our boats for a charter.

Matt: I have a group going out soon, a real estate group, that's doing a tour of homes along Lake Washington, and we're fitting them into the cruise route for their trip.

 

What's your favorite Argosy vessel in the fleet?

Kris: I love the Sightseer. I like the upper deck of that boat. It's casual and fun, and if I were to throw a party, that's the feel I'd be going for. You can see everything on a cruise up there. Not a bad spot. And she's a boat with so much character. She's such a fun boat!

Matt: I also like the Sightseer, but for a different reason. She's quirky, and she's got character like Kris mentioned. From a crew perspective, since she's older, she's different to drive than our other vessels, the tie-ups when you dock are unusual. And she was the first boat I was a bosun of, as she was being put into service to run our Lake Washington Cruise a few years ago. I knew her very, very well!

 

If you yourself were going to charter one of our boats, which one would it be, where would you cruise, and what would you and your guests be doing on the boat?

Matt: I would, of course, charter the Sightseer. I'd have a DJ on board, for a daytime summer cruise. An afternoon picnic-type party. And I'd like to take her somewhere that I haven't been...maybe the backside of Blake Island.

Kris: I would also charter the Sightseer, but I would do a Chill & Grill on Blake Island. I'd do a cornhole tournament on the ride over to Blake Island. Then have a barbecue and hang out in the backyard of Tillicum. And my friends and I would drink beer and play games, with dessert on the boat on the way back to Pier 55. With a mellow end-of-the-night playlist going. I love Tillicum on Blake Island. I think that's our shining jewel at Argosy that not a lot of people know about.

 

As far as Argosy's public tours go, what's your favorite?

Kris: The Tillicum Village Excursion is my favorite of Argosy's public cruises. It's so different than anything else you can do in Seattle. With your own vessel you can cruise over to the island, sure. But at Tillicum you're hearing the Northwest Native American stories, eating the fish, and really experiencing some marvelous and unique culture.

Matt: I love the Locks Cruise. In the fall, when all the spots of color are coming out. There are so many evergreens in Seattle that those pops of color from the turning leaves are really something to see. It's the best.

 

What's your favorite thing to do in Seattle when you're not working?

Kris: I love the parks in Seattle. Seward Park is my personal favorite. Discovery Park probably takes a pretty close second. Walking around, playing in the playground with my kids...I enjoy it all.

Matt: I really enjoy taking in some music in the city. Whether it's a concert at the Key Arena or going to Benaroya Hall for the symphony. And I love the Experience Music Project for those rooms where you can go and play actual instruments. Ooo, and Sounders games are really fun.

 

What other department within Argosy would like to give a try?

Matt: I think I'd like to help out with I.T. I like to know how things work.

Kris: Vessel crew, as a captain. One day I will start training and they will let me drive!

 

What's your favorite stop on the Seattle waterfront?

Kris: I love the Bell Street Deli. Their Herbed Bird Sandwich is really good. And sandwiches are my favorite.

Matt: I would honestly say the Washington State Ferries. I don't ride them often, but I enjoy experiencing how huge they are. You're able to walk all over the place, go outside, get some coffee.

 

What makes Argosy such a unique place to work?

Matt: What makes us unique is that we'll take people that have no prior boat crew skills -- like narrating or bartending or deckhanding -- and we will train you in all those things. And if these employees are ambitious and excited, they will move up through the company. Top crew become bosuns, who can become captains, who can even move up to being in the office as managers, and can give their whole life to the company. Many people have stayed with Argosy for so long, and through so many levels...I think that's very encouraging to someone who comes in new. So many people here have their roots and history down in the entry level of the company. And there's a sense of community and ownership that goes along with that. You know that the people making decisions in the company have come from where you are.

Kris: I'm one of the people at Argosy who has come from the outside and is relatively new, but this place was a really good fit for me. Tenure does make this place special. In my prior experience in the hospitality world, that is really rare. But I think the biggest thing that has stood out for me in my time here is the pride that people take in working for Argosy. Time and time again people tell me they've never worked with an event staff like the crew at Argosy. They are amazing. For example, an event planner with years of experience in that world told me just the other week that he's never seen an event staff go as above and beyond, do more to help and be a real part of the event than our Tillicum crew.

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