, 2023-04-22 06:00:39,
Sat, Apr 22nd 2023 07:00 am
By Michael J. Billoni
Senior Contributing Writer
Growing up on a farm in Quebec, Canada, Cyndy Montana knows a thing or two about hard work and putting in long hours to get the work done. Her parents were her role models and prepared her well for the outside world, but there was no preparation for what occurred to her and her family in the spring of 2020.
After earning a degree in commerce from John Abbott College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Montana graduated from the University of Guelph in 1996 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in hotel and food service administration. She also became interested in philanthropy, fundraising and public relations, leading to a position with The Four Seasons Toronto; the front office manager at The Prince of Wales in Niagara on the Lake; the development coordinator for Women’s Place, a shelter for abused women and children in St. Catharines, Ontario; and the fundraising and public relations officer for Brock University in Toronto.
Nearly 20 years ago, she relocated to Grand Island, “absolutely falling in love with the town,” and now calls Grand Island “the forever home!” for her and her daughter, Kaylee, and son, Jaxen. While here, she opened and operated Grand Island Limousine and worked in Town Hall for a year as assistant to the supervisor.
However, she always wanted to do something really big with her Montana International LLC business.
The opportunity came early in 2019 when she bid on a contract with New York state to manage guest services at all state parks on Grand Island, which includes a golf course and small restaurant, two marinas, a beach concession, a special event center, a brand-new outdoor restaurant and, eventually, a campground. In the past, the contract had been held by billion-dollar local food service companies Rich Products Corp. and Delaware North.
“When we decided to bid on the contract, we assumed we were bidding against the likes of Delaware North, and it truly felt like a David and Goliath story,” Montana said this week between conducting job interviews. “When we actually won the bid in February 2019 and I signed a 20-year contract with the state of New York, we were over the moon excited – but also a little surprised!
“I took on this extremely large financial commitment, because I believe my diverse professional background, my work ethic as a Canadian farmer’s daughter, my love for customer service, and my passion for…
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