|At the annual American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Stars of the Industry Awards luncheon, hotel employees were honored for their outstanding accomplishments, service, and leadership in the hospitality and lodging industry. The awards, held at the association’s Summer Summit at the InterContinental Houston near the Galleria, were presented to Outstanding Lodging Employees, Managers, and General Managers in three property size categories, as well as to the winner of the Women in Lodging Connect Leader of the Year Award, the Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year Award, and new this year, the Student Member and Student Chapter of the Year.
As part of the annual Stars of the Industry Awards, the AH&LA also handed out National Achievement Awards, which honor stand-out initiatives at hotel properties. These awards distinguish individual hotels that have developed outstanding programs, events, and campaigns. Winners were chosen in the categories of Community Service, Special Events, Guest Relations, Good Earthkeeping, Diversity, and Technology Innovation.
In addition, Joe Martin, owner and operator of Stillwater Hospitality, LLC in Oklahoma, was presented with the prestigious AH&LA Lawson A. Odde Award during the board of directors meeting at theSummer Summit. The award is given annually to a member of the AH&LA board of directors and is chosen by a vote of past Odde Award winners.
Martin served as the chairman of AH&LA in 2009, and is a 32-year veteran in the industry. Martin’s Best Western in Weatherford, OK has been given Best Western’s highest recognition, “Best of the Best,” four times. His Hampton Inn & Suites in Stillwater, OK has received Hilton’s highest recognition, the “Connie Award” on two occasions. He also serves as the chairman of the board of advisors for the college of Hotel & Restaurant Administration at Oklahoma State University, and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2009.
The full list of award winners is as follows:
- Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year, small property, is Cody Rentschler, guest service representative, Best Western PLUS Savannah Historic District.
- Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year, medium property, is Bob Cantelli, van driver and house person, Hilton Garden Inn Savannah Airport.
- Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year, Large Property, is Les Leal, guest services manager, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Denver.
- Outstanding Manager of the Year, Small Property, is Darian James, sales/catering manager, Colcord Hotel in Oklahoma City.
- Manager of the Year, Medium Property, is Deborah Croce, director of human resources, The Ritz Carlton Central Park New York City.
- Outstanding Manager of the Year, Large Property. Edward Shimanski, front office manager, Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, and Farhad Keshawarz, laundry department manager, Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, AZ.
- Outstanding General Manager of the Year, Small Property, is Bryan Davis, general manager, Riverwind Hotel in Norman, OK.
- Outstanding General Manager of the Year, Medium Property, is Cherie Davis, general manager, Miyako Hybrid Hotel in Torrance, CA.
- Outstanding General Manager of the Year, Large Property, is Jerry Keyes, general manager, Courtyard by Marriott Magnificent Mile & River North in Chicago.
- Women In Lodging Connect Leader of the Year is Rebecca Eastham, director of business and industry services, Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, OK.
- Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader is Tommy Beyer, general manager, Hilton Garden Inn Savannah Airport.
- AH&LA Student Member of the Year award is Cynthia Beans, University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, WI.
- AH&LA Student Chapter of the Year is the University of New Orleans.
- Community Service, Small Property, is the Ambassador Hotel Tulsa in Tulsa, OK.
- Community Service, Medium Property, is the Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle in Seattle, WA.
- Outstanding Community Service, Large Property, is the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North in Scottsdale, AZ.
- Special Events, Ongoing, Small Property, is the Sanctuary on Camelback in Paradise Valley, AZ for their Sundays in Paradise program.
- Special Events, Ongoing, Medium Property is the Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, MO.
- Special Events, Ongoing, Large Property is The Westin Copley in Boston, MA.
- Special Events, One-time Only, Medium Property is the Ames, Hotel in Boston, MA.
- Special Events, One-time Only, Large Property, is the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C.
- Guest Relations, Small Property, is the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, AZ.
- Guest Relations, Medium Property, is the Hilton Garden Inn Savannah Airport in Savannah, GA.
- Guest Relations, Large Property, is The Pfister in Milwaukee, WI.
- Good Earthkeeping, Small Property, is the Bardessono Inn & Spa in Yountville, CA.
- Good Earthkeeping, Medium Property is The Ellis Hotel in Atlanta, GA.
- Good Earthkeeping, Large Property is The Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta, GA.
- Prism (for Diversity), Medium Property is The Four Seasons in Boston, MA.
- Prism (for Diversity), Large Property, for the second year in a row, is the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa & Marina in Cambridge, MD.
- Technology Innovation, Medium Property is the Chancellor Hotel on Union Square in San Francisco, CA.
- Technology Innovation, Large Property award goes to the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA.
For more information about each winner, visit www.ahla.com/stars