Michigan Tourism "Stars of the Industry" Honored at "Pure Michigan Governor's Conference on Tourism 2013"

Apr 15, 2013, 21:06 ET from Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association

DETROIT, April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thirteen shining examples of excellence in Michigan's lodging and tourism industries were honored last night as "Stars of the Industry" by the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association. The awards were presented during the "Stars of the Industry" awards dinner on Monday, April 15 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

Award recipients came from a variety of Michigan cities and towns including:
Acme, Bellaire, Birmingham, Dearborn, Detroit, East Lansing, Gaylord, Lansing (2 recipients), Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Sault Ste. Marie and Traverse City.

Mike Rice, Quality Suites Hotel Lansing
2013 Hotelier of the Year
Mike is General Manager of the Quality Inn and Suites Lansing. Arriving at the property in 2001, Mike's leadership has led to an increase in sales of over 80% and his property has won five Platinum awards for service excellence from Choice Hotels. This past year, Mike's property finished #1 out of all 990 Quality-branded hotels in the entire United States. He also volunteers for The School of Hospitality Business, The Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau and MLTA, where he was influential in helping to win an increase in the State's lodging per diem, resulting in $700,000 in additional income for Michigan lodging properties.

Linda Hoath, Sault Ste. Marie CVB
2013 CVB Star of the Year
Linda has been employed by the Sault Ste. Marie CVB for 10 years.  In that time, she has worked diligently to increase investment in the Pure Michigan campaign and other initiatives to increase collaboration in Sault Ste Marie and the Eastern U.P.  As a result of her team approach to such efforts, visitor counts have risen dramatically as evidenced by attendance doubling from 5,000 attendees in 2011 to over 10,000 last year during the Soo Locks Engineer's Day.  Her visionary leadership of the CVB is a vital part of the town's remarkable tourism program.

Thuy Tran, Lexington Lansing Hotel
2013 Room Attendant Star of the Year
Thuy began her journey with the Lexington Lansing Hotel in 2008 after graduating from The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. She was one of the property's first to become a Certified Tourism Ambassador, a nationwide designation in the hospitality industry. Starting as a guest service agent, she earned a rapid promotion to Housekeeping Supervisor. Thuy volunteers to cover any unstaffed position from the kitchen to banquets and goes to great lengths to provide excellent guest service.

Aaron McIntyre, Treetops Resort, Gaylord
2013 Seasonal Star of the Year
Aaron has been employed at Treetops Resort since the summer of 2005, where he started as a bag drop attendant. Aaron currently is Assistant Manager for the resort's Golf and Ski Shop. He is the embodiment of the word "initiative" and the first person to speak up and say, "I'll take that job!" After a busy winter work shift, Aaron took it upon himself to work in the unheated Golf Shop to get it ready for spring.  His rapport with staff and guests is always friendly and helpful and he consistently goes above and beyond in all job responsibilities.

DUAL WINNERS:  Chablis Holland, Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
Ashley Spehr, Radisson Plaza Hotel, Kalamazoo
2013 Guest Relations Star of the Year

Chablis works at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and was recognized as Associate of the Month just six months after being hired. She was the first individual to fill the role as an Event Planning Concierge for the property. In that position, she helped drive event satisfaction scores up 7.5% from the previous year.  As a result of her vision and focus on superlative customer service, other Marriott hotels across the nation are implementing similar positions.

Ashley delivers lasting impressions for a memorable guest experience each and every shift she works at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo. She received numerous compliments from guests, who cite her for being professional, efficient and knowledgeable. Ashley has been a key role in taking the Radisson's ranking from #34 to #22 in all Radisson franchises based on guest service index.  Ashley exhibits the key attributes to superior hospitality, "Purpose, Passion and Pride."

Lucretia Mansfield, Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, East Lansing
2013 Food and Beverage Star of the Year
Lucretia began her career with the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in 1993 as a banquet server. Since then, she has earned four promotions and now serves as Banquet Operations Manager. She has developed a comprehensive 20 hour orientation program that all staff must complete before serving a single guest. Lu personifies discipline, hard work, generosity and loyalty to all staff and the hundreds of student interns she trains. Lu's nomination was supported by letters from the MSU Football program and six other university and industry organizations.

Doug Cook, Great Wolf Lodge, Traverse City
2013 Attraction Star of the Year

Doug Cook is doing great things for the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. Starting three years ago as a Front Desk Agent, Doug quickly earned promotions to the Kids Experience Coordinator where he oversees the Cub Club. Doug recently was awarded the highest honor that any one of the 330 employees can obtain, "Pack Member of the Year." This award came as a result of many Pack Member of the Month nominations and dozens of personal mentions in customer satisfaction surveys.

John Helzer, The Townsend Hotel, Birmingham
2013 Culinary Star of the Year
John has been a leader in the Rugby Grille kitchen since 2006 at the Townsend Hotel. Kitchen and service staff look up to John for leadership, guidance and a creative mind and good palate. Six months ago, John was involved in a car crash that left him with permanent injuries, which he has worked hard to overcome. He is back in the kitchen where his superior culinary talents and collaborative approach have inspired kitchen and dining room staff to take service to a higher level.

Chris Hale, Shanty Creek Resorts, Bellaire
2013 Sales and Marketing Star of the Year
Chris is Vice President for Shanty Creek Resort where he oversees all traffic and revenue producing departments, including sales, reservations, golf, ski sports, food and beverage, spa and fitness, club membership and conference services. In preparation for Shanty Creek's 50th Anniversary, he has extended the brand message with a new statewide campaign and created a custom print publication called "Traditions".  He has also launched a new resort-wide campaign tagged, "It's a Beautiful Day."

Jenifer Cutter, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids
2013 Operations Star of the Year

Jenifer has been with The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids for over ten years.  She was interviewed for a front desk agent position, but because of her outstanding skills she was offered a supervisory position right out of college!  She is described as not just the calm before the storm, but the calm during any storm. Because of her strong mentoring skills, many of her staff have gone on to become managers and supervisors.  She recently won a WAVE award in the lodging category. 

Elizabeth Mathison, The Dearborn Inn, A Marriott Hotel
2013 Outstanding Student Star of the Year

Elizabeth maintains a 3.9 grade point average at Michigan State University and oversees seven other resident assistants on campus.  She was also the Director of Marketing for The School of Hospitality Business' Vegas Night. Working as a student intern, she was the first-ever wedding concierge for the Dearborn Inn, where she increased event satisfaction scores by five points. Elizabeth was chosen to attend the Marriott Student Leadership Conference in Texas last year.

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, Acme
2013 Good Earth Keeping Award

Accepting the 2013 Good Earth Keeping Award on behalf of the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa was Tim Norman, General Manager. The resort was recognized as the Business Environmentalist of the Year in 2011. In their first year of their new green program, the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa composted over 25 tons of food waste, diverted over 40 cubic yards of plastics from landfills and reduced their waste stream by over 40%. Their commitment to environmental health is at the core of their corporate culture and their Environmental Management System involves employees at all levels.

The Pure Michigan Governor's Conference on Tourism is a three-day event produced by the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association and co-sponsored with Travel Michigan and Michigan State University. The conference includes many seminars related to the lodging & tourism industries, an expanded trade show and featured presentations by Governor Rick Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, Peter Yesawich, Chairman and CEO of YPartnership and Josh Linkner, CEO & Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partners.

The Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association is a 108-year old trade association that represents, promotes and educates Michigan's lodging & tourism industries. For more information on this exciting event, please visit www.milodging.org/conference or call (517) 267-8989.

SOURCE Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association