When self-proclaimed “Jersey Boy,” Stan Kansas, took a job at the Grand Canyon in 1996, he was instantly enamored with the colors, the bright sky and the interesting stories.
“I spent two years on the south rim of the Grand Canyon,” he says. “I fell in love with Arizona—completely in love with it.”
Now he is sharing his knowledge of the state and Downtown Phoenix as one of the DTPHX ambassadors, orange-shirt-wearing roving concierges who are on duty seven days a week, 365 days a year to help visitors. They offer restaurant recommendations, assist the homeless, walk visitors to their cars and give directions. Ambassadors man 90 square blocks, from Third Avenue to Seventh Street, the railroad tracks through Fillmore. They are headquartered on the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Washington Street at CityScape Phoenix. For more information, call 602.495.1500 or email email@example.com.
Kansas began his ambassadorship in January 2017, after spending five years giving tours at the Rosson House Museum.
“They told me people did a variety of tasks, including walking historical tours, which I really, really love,” he says. “That’s one of my favorite tasks.
“We do all kinds of things to generate interest for downtown. So many people didn’t want to come downtown for so long. They considered it a little unsafe and they thought there was nothing to do down there.”
With Chase Field and Talking Stick Resort Arena, a number of award-winning restaurants and family-friendly attractions, the tide changed.
“I love our downtown,” he says. “There is so much to do.”
Kansas has found his perfect role. A professional actor, Kansas is active in the Screen Actors Guild, and appeared in a Denny’s commercial, and in The Evening Star, the sequel to Terms of Endearment.
“I walk into a restaurant with Shirley MacLaine,” he says about The Evening Star. “She has the most amazing legs—the most amazing legs. She was in her mid- to late-60s when I worked with her, and they had her in mini skirts. I told her, ‘I can’t believe your legs are that sensational.’ But she’s a dancer.”
His stories and wide-ranging knowledge have garnered Kansas five-star reviews on Facebook. He encourages anyone who is passionate about Phoenix to send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. They are paid positions with “lots of perks and really nice benefits,” Kansas says.
“Downtown Phoenix really likes people who are enthusiastic about their city and their state,” Kansas says. “I loved when I saw the company photograph online: The staff was diverse. There was every color of the rainbow and of every age. There are people ages 20 to 60 on our staff. It’s really cool. This is somewhere I feel really comfortable.
“We get steep discounts at restaurants downtown. Get this: Restaurants host the ambassadors for lunch or dinner so we can talk about their food. We’re fed constantly. I love to eat, so that’s really great for me.”