Profile Tony Zaranti

November 3, 2017
By Marcy Shortuse

■ BY SUE ERWIN
Tony Zaranti is passionate about high-quality food and wine service, and that makes him an ideal leader as the new general manager of the Boca Bay Pass Club.
Tony was born in Chicago, Illinois, and his parents retired and moved to Las Vegas when he was 10 years old.
After he graduated from high school, he attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and studied hotel administration. He started out bussing tables at a country club when he was 16 and quickly realized that he wanted to pursue a career in hospitality.
During college he had interned at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club (San Diego), The Olympic Club (San Francisco) and The Las Vegas Country Club.
“I’ve worked many large PGA Tour golf tournaments at several clubs, so these days I’d just rather watch it on television,” he said.
After graduating from college, he moved to Atlanta and worked at Cherokee Town & Country Club as an assistant manager for four years.
After that he worked in Arizona for two years, and then he worked in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for about ten years.
“When you’re in this business, you do a lot of networking with managers at other clubs, and the larger clubs tend to be in big cities,” he said.
He was the clubhouse manager at Lakewood Country Club in Dallas for six years, and then he was the assistant general manager at Colonial Country Club for two years.
“Many people are familiar with Colonial because of the annual PGA event that is played there,” he said.
After that he worked at Ridglea Country Club in Fort Worth for two years as the assistant general manager.
Most recently he was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was the general manager at The Summit Club.
Tony is a Certified Club Manager and is active in the Club Managers Association of America.
The CCM designation has been the hallmark of professionalism in club management since 1965. It was developed to recognize managers who have shown the ability to successfully serve at the most senior level in a club. The CMAA has more than 6,000 managers who are members of the organization.
“I was 26 when I earned my CCM designation – the youngest in the industry at the time,” he said. “And we have to maintain our certification every four years.”
This past summer, the Florida CMAA chapter had a job posting for the opening at the Boca Bay Pass Club.
“My wife and I love the beach, and we’ve talked about living in Florida,” Tony said, “so when the position became available, I immediately applied.”
He said he would never forget the day he interviewed for the job, because it was the day of the 2017 solar eclipse.
His first day at the club was supposed to be Sept. 11 – the day Hurricane Irma blew into southwest Florida.
“We were in Oklahoma, watching the weather channel and following the path of the storm, just wondering what damage it might bring to the island,” he said.
He left Tulsa on Sept. 12 and drove 1,300 miles to Boca Grande. He officially started the position on September 15.
Tony spent about a week working with former Pass Club Manager Terry Bisset, who served as the general manager for the past 10 years.
“He brought me up to speed on the different projects he was working on and taught me about the culture of the club. It was great having that time to work with him.”
As general manager of the club, Tony oversees all club operations, which include dining banquets, seven tennis courts, the fitness center and swimming pool.
“I am very passionate personally about food and beverage, and I enjoy service,” Tony said. “I’ll be adding some new things to our wine program.”
Tony said there are at least four wine dinners planned this season at the club: a Drouhin dinner in November, a Materra dinner in January, and others in the spring.
The club currently has 504 members.
Tony said his goal is to try to meet and exceed the expectations of the members and offer quality and consistency in the food and services.
“First impressions are very important in our business,” he said.
The Pass Club has seven year- round staff members and about 40 seasonal staff members, and some seasonal staff are a part of the International Worker Program.
Tony met his wife, Christi, in Dallas seven years ago. They were married on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama six years ago. They spent their honeymoon at The Portofino Island Resort in Pensacola, Florida.
“We always planned our vacations to be around beaches, and now everyone will be coming to visit us because we live so close to the water,” he said.
They have three rescue dogs: Riley, Allie and Emily.
Riley is a border collie/lab mix, Allie is a border collie, and Emily is a mutt.
“As my wife put it, we like to adopt scared pound dogs that have the worst chance of being rescued but eventually turn into happy, confident, spoiled-rotten dogs. Emily was at the shelter for six years, and she’s just the cutest thing.”
Tony and Christi will be renting a house in Rotonda, but looking ahead, he’s hoping to find a home with a large, fenced yard, so the dogs will have plenty of room to run around and play.
“Our dogs love to swim, so we definitely want a place with a pool,” he said.
When he is not working, Tony enjoys playing golf and recently played at the Cape Haze Links in Rotonda. He also likes to bowl.
He played baseball in high school and is a true fan of the Chicago Cubs.
“I’m a very loyal fan and obviously very happy that they won the World Series.”
He also enjoys dining out at restaurants and is looking forward to going to all the establishments on the island.
“I want to see our competition and make sure that we are keeping up with the latest culinary trends,” he said.
Tony and Christi also like to travel, even if it’s just a one-tank trip to experience some new places.
Tony recently celebrated his 40th birthday. He has four brothers and sisters – all of them born in October. Three siblings currently live in Las Vegas, and one lives in Chicago.
Tony said the culture of the club on this island is a better fit for his lifestyle compared to the other clubs he’s worked at in the past. He’s looking forward to living in a smaller town and being so close to the water.
The Boca Bay Pass Club is open year-round for fitness, tennis and the pool. It officially opens for season the first week of November.
Tony said he is really looking forward to meeting and getting to know the members at the club and getting involved with the Boca Grande community.
Look for Tony at businesses and events around town, and be sure to welcome him to the island.