The Faces of Crocodile Bay Resort – Wilbert Alberto Gonzales Fonseca – Head of Maintenance
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Wilbert Alberto Gonzales Fonseca, and I am 47 years old. I was born and raised in San Vito, a small town in the mountains not too far from the Osa Peninsula. When I was 17 years old my family and I (13 brothers and sisters with my parents) moved to the Osa Peninsula. We settled in an area called “Miramar”, a place where Crocodile Bay Resort takes clients zip-lining today. I was able to go to elementary school for a few years, yet I was never able to go to high school. My father was a traditional Costa Rican farmer, who mainly farmed rice, beans, and vegetables, and who asked his children to work on the farm with him as he didn’t see the value in school education. Also, the school was very far away from where we lived, and it wasn’t easy to get there at that time.
A few years after we moved to the Osa Peninsula, I got married and had kids. I worked in various jobs around Puerto Jimenez, such as construction, gardening, and maintenance. In my first marriage, I had two children (they are now 26 and 17 years old), and in my current marriage I have a four year old girl.
I started to work at Crocodile Bay Resort in 1999 when they began construction, and I was part of the original construction team. In 2002, the manager of the maintenance department, Don Francisco, hired me to help build the two small security buildings at the entrances of the resort. After finishing that construction I started full time as a maintenance staff member.
In 2017 I was promoted to head of maintenance when Don Francisco retired. Since then, I’ve been managing the maintenance team at Crocodile Bay Resort. During the years, I learned so much at Crocodile Bay, including how to repair air-conditioning units, which is very beneficial at the resort.
What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from a guest?
I was working on making a drainage system outside one of the rooms one day, and one of the guests came by and asked me a question in English. I was shocked and scared to speak English at the time, so I answered, “I don’t speak Spanish”, and he laughed so hard until I realized that I accidentally said “Spanish” instead of English.
However, since then, I have received many of the English lessons that Crocodile Bay Resort offers. Now my English is much better, and I am no longer afraid to answer in English.
What’s your most significant professional accomplishment?
One of the best achievements in my professional career was that I learned how to fix air conditioners. A technician who always came to the resort to fix the A/C units taught me over the years how to fix them myself. I learned just by watching him and helping him fix the units, and he explained everything to me in detail. Soon I was able to repair A/C units myself, and now that is one of my main jobs at the resort.
The best career advice you received?
Don Francisco was my boss for 17 years at Crocodile Bay Resort, and he was my idol. He always said, “never say you can’t do something, you can do it! You can learn to do it. And you will be successful at it.” When Don Francisco retired, I was worried and nervous about my new position as head of maintenance and thought I might not be able to fulfill my duties. But I remembered what Don Francisco said and I told myself “You can do it!” and thinking of him gave me the strength and confidence, and here I am today – still managing the maintenance team!
What do you love most about your job?
The people at Crocodile Bay – I love my bosses, managers and my co-workers. I like spending time with them, and I love my job. I am very grateful for this job which has allowed me to live a great life with my family and provide for my children.
What are your plans for the future?
I would love to stay and work at Crocodile Bay Resort as long as I can and continue my work here. I want to improve my English further – I’m currently in level 6 of 12, and I can’t wait to get better and better and improve my English.