Southern Snaps: February 2009

By Leslie Moore

With a hard hat covering her stylish blond hair, Tammy Pahel is as at home on the construction site at she is in her office, or on the job designing and managing some of the finest spas in the world. Her company, Spa Management Solutions, designed, built, and now manages the new Cinzia The Spa at North Beach Plantation in North Myrtle Beach.

Tammy Pahel and Maggie Hardy

A graduate of Penn State University, with a major in Business Administration and Marketing, Tammy planned a career in retail. In 1989 she took a job at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Penn., as a retail buyer and loved it. Because of the retail shops in the spa, Tammy soon became involved in its day-to-day operations. When the executive director of the spa left, resort owner, Maggie Hardy, who is also the president of 84 Lumber, asked Tammy to consider taking the position.

“Maggie asked me to take over for a year and if I didn’t like it she would let me go back to my old job. Exactly 365 days later Maggie came back to me, and I told her that I loved it.”

Maggie Hardy became a mentor and friend to Tammy, guiding and inspiring her to become the very best she could be. “She was the foundation of my career,” Tammy remembers.

Under Tammy’s leadership, Nemacolin earned a top ten ranking by Conde Nast Gold List of Spas. She instituted staff training programs, with Cidesco, the “gold star” European post graduate course, paid for by the company, and added new spa services. In just two short years, this dynamic leader increased the productivity of Nemacolin from $133 to $833 a square foot.

After leaving Nemacolin, Tammy began making her mark at some of the premier spas throughout the country. She consulted, managed and directed the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa and served as spa director of The Spa at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. She traveled worldwide studying spa services and operations and has helped develop curriculums for spa management and spa technician providers at Horry Georgetown Technical College, the International Spa Association and universities throughout the U. S.

Tammy Pahel

Unfortunately, while Tammy’s career was all that she had ever dreamed it could be her personal life was not. After two failed marriages, Tammy was left a single mother to two young girls. Her mother even told her that she was just not “marriage material.” She was surrounded by good friends, though. Her one best friend left Nemacolin with her, and the two of them lived and worked together in Arizona. While working at the Arizona Biltmore she met Scott Vogel, a supervisor at the Arizona Biltmore Athletic Club and the two became best friends, moving together to work in Las Vegas. Scott had not planned a career in spa management, but while he was working on his master’s degree in Sports Psychology, he became very ill and had to have heart surgery. After Scott and Tammy opened Caesar’s Palace Spa they became business partners, forming Spa Management Solutions. This partnership evolved into much more than friendship, and three years ago, the couple was married.

“Scott loved me for me,” said Tammy. “I finally have my life partner.”

Amber and Cassie, Tammy’s daughters, have grown up in spas. As a young girl, Cassie went to work with her mom, working around the spa folding towels and doing odd jobs. Today, Cassie, at 22, will serve as Spa Manager at Cinzia The Spa at North Beach Plantation, moving to our area from her job as an assistant spa director in California.

“I didn’t want to leave my daughters with babysitters all the time,” remembers Tammy, “so I brought them to work with me. Wherever I worked, I had them on the spa property, and I found jobs for them to do. I’m very proud of my children today. Both of them are successful and happy.”

When Sam and Cindy Scalise, owners of Scalise Development, the company that is building North Beach Plantation, brought Tammy in to discuss her involvement in Cinzia, they hit it off immediately. “Sam showed me a proposed floor plan of the spa, and asked me if I could live with it. I asked him if HE could live with it, because it was not what was needed for the kind of resort Sam envisioned. Although Sam is an expert builder, with many years of experience, I looked at the floor plan from a spa management perspective. He then asked me what made me so great, and I told him to ask the other companies he was interviewing what four and five star spas had they opened!”

Of course, Tammy got the contract, and she, Sam and Cindy have become great working partners with a shared spa vision. She and Scott have contracted to manage the spa for the next five years.

“We are going to blow the east coast away,” says Tammy. “My goal is to secure a top ten Mobile rating for Cinzia in the next two years.”

Cinzia will offer many unique services from around the world to its guests, as well as wellness services by Dr. Seymour Weaver, Celestial Skin and Dermatology Wellness. Local residents are offered low Spa and Beach Fit membership rates that include spa services, fitness classes and much more.

Tammy loves the Grand Strand area. “Myrtle Beach has so much to offer. As a new resident, I can really appreciate the beauty of the area and the sweetness of local residents. I came here from Miami, and while it is very beautiful there, the view is mostly obstructed by high rises and there is certainly no ‘southern charm.’”

For more information about Cinzia The Spa at North Beach Plantation, call 843-361-2772.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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