Since 2018, Merle Rupp has served as a Guest Services Representative for our San Diego Convention Center, responsible for helping countless people navigate our building and the local area. A resident of San Diego since 1970, Merle joined our team after spending a number of years with the U.S. Postal Services and San Diego County’s Health Department. After retiring from those jobs, he worked at the nearby cruise ship terminal and then learned of our guest services opportunities.
“I like helping people—I guess that’s in the DNA of those of us who are drawn to work in guest services,” he said. A proud grandpa and ambassador for San Diego, Merle took a moment to share more about his position and his life during the pandemic.
Questions for Merle
What have you enjoyed about your position here?
I like the flexible hours. I also enjoy helping people when they come into the Convention Center and directing them where they need to go, whether that’s to the Sails Pavilion, the Hilton Bayfront, the restrooms, or anywhere else they are trying to go.
The first few days of a convention are always the busiest, when we have people coming through our doors who have never been inside our building. Of course, the biggest event is Comic-Con but we have so many different kinds of events, including the medical conventions and other association meetings that can bring in 20,000 people or more.
What does your job entail now?
I was recalled in the fall to assist with the shelter. I’m currently responsible for doing more of a security patrol across the building, Halls A to H. We check to make sure the doors are locked, monitor any disturbances, and generally look for anything out of the ordinary.
“I like helping people—I guess that’s in the DNA of those of us who are drawn to work in guest services,” he said.
How are you spending your time outside of work?
I play tennis once per week and I take German classes through the German American Societies in El Cajon. I learned a little German in high school and college, so I’ve been trying to keep that up a bit. I have also been playing the piano at home more often.
Once it’s safe to do so, I’m looking forward to having lunch with my five grandkids every now and then!
Do you have any favorite parks or attractions to visit—now or in non-pandemic times?
Even though I’ve lived here for decades, I still enjoy the beauty and views of some places that may be considered touristy spots. Cabrillo National Monument, Mt. Soledad, and Seaport Village are all beautiful places to walk around.
You mentioned you received your second COVID-19 vaccine dose this week, here at our Convention Center. How are you feeling?
My arm was a little sore for a little more than a day but the vaccine is definitely worth it.