Michigan Tourism 'Stars of the Industry' Honored at the 'Pure Michigan Governor's Conference-Driving Tourism 2010'

May 07, 2010, 08:00 ET from Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich., May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Twelve shining examples of excellence in Michigan lodging and tourism industries were recently 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 Thursday, May 6 at Grand Hotel. Michigan.

Award recipients come from a variety of Michigan cities and towns including:

Acme, Bellaire, Benton Harbor, Benzonia, Chelsea, Dearborn, Grand Rapids - (2 recipients), Lansing, Livonia, Mackinac Island & Marquette.

Doyle Disbrow, Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, Acme

2010 Room Attendant of the Year

As an employee of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa for the past 10 years, Doyle was named Employee of the Month for May 2009, and honored as the 2009 "Back of the House" Performer.  He consistently communicates with both supervisors and fellow staff, sharing ideas for resolution of potential problems when they arise. His supervisor states that he, "exudes positive energy every day, he takes great pride in himself, his work outcomes, and his department."  

Michael Jordan, General Manager, Shanty Creek Resorts, Bellaire

2010 Hotelier of the Year

Michael's career in tourism began 20 years ago when he became President of Apex & Meritek Travel. In that position he helped to grow gross revenues from $8 to $80 million. Later he joined Lodging Hospitality Management where he managed and negotiated contracts for 15 hotels and over 4,000 rooms. He began working for Antrim County's largest employer in February 2009. In a time of revenue downturn, Michael led Shanty Creek Resort to a period of exponential growth by increasing revenue while controlling costs. His dedication to leading a resort-wide effort to make sure customer service comes first showed in the large turn-around in guest satisfaction scores since his arrival.

Millicent Huminsky, Executive Director, Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, Benton Harbor

2010 CVB Employee of the Year

Millicent has been with the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council for over 25 years. During her time at SWMTC Millicent has served as the President of the Michigan Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus and served on the board of West Michigan Tourist Association and Beach Towns.  Huminsky has long been an industry leader and tireless advocate for increased funding for the Pure Michigan campaign.  During 2009, SWMTC sponsored events such as the Magical Ice Carving Festival, Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival at Weko Beach, Chocolate Block and Concourse on the Bluff bringing thousands of tourist dollars to Southwestern Michigan.

Bill and Betty Workman, Vacation Trailer Park, Benzonia

2010 Seasonal Employee of the Year

Bill and Betty have owned Vacation Trail Park campground in Benzonia for 42 years. They are also the owners of Vacation Trailer Sales, an RV sales business. Governor Granholm selected this campground twice for a weekend camping and fishing trip with her family. Bill and Betty have both served on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Association of Recreational Vehicles and Campgrounds.  The Workmans have also served on the Board of Directors as well as Benzie County CVB's Board of Directors. Over the span of their careers, they have served as volunteers on MARVAC's Strategic Planning and RV Show as well as numerous other tourism-related committees; always working towards the betterment of our industry and a stronger Michigan economy.

Kimberly Latka, Holiday Inn Express, Chelsea

2010 Guest Relations Employee of the Year

Kimberly has been with the Holiday Inn Express, Chelsea for over 4 years. She has been Awarded Employee of the Quarter as well as nominated for Employee of the Year for 2009 where she was second runner up out of more than 450 employees nationwide. Kimberly has been awarded the title of Guest Services Champion in June 2009 based on her gift of working with the public. Several of the staff call her "Mom" and often say, "Because of Kimberly, I feel as though we are a great big family."

Saeed Siddiqui, Hyatt Regency Dearborn

2010 Food and Beverage Employee of the Year

Saeed has been employed at Hyatt Regency Dearborn for 24 years. As a server assistant at Giulio and Son's restaurant, Saeed has been nominated for employee of the month more than 20 times and was the 2002 Employee of the Year. The management of Hyatt Regency deeply values his consistent commitment to excellence.  He volunteers to provide training to new associates, has consistently achieved perfect attendance and has had the highest performance ratings for his position over expanse of his 24 year career with Hyatt.  

Annemarie Smartz, Sales Manager, Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids

2010 Attraction Employee of the Year

Annemarie has been with Frederik Meijer Gardens for 3 years and in the tourism industry for 30 years.   She manages a group of six event coordinators who have hosted more than 2,000 events in the past year. Under Annemarie's leadership, 82% of the past year's events exceeded the expectation of the clients, making it the most successful year to date. Further, Annemarie's skills shone through when planning a private performance for the Amway and the 1,300+ guests for a concert by Sting.

Chef Werner Absenger, Amway Grand Plaza, Grand Rapids

2010 Culinary Employee of the Year

Chef Absenger has been a member of the Amway Grand Plaza team for six years. He was recently awarded the "Fine Dining Award of Excellence" by Grand Rapids Magazine. Chef Werner incorporated local ingredients into his menu long before this was a trend and is a board member with the Greater Grand Rapids Food System Council. Chef Werner was awarded Manager of the Month at Amway Grand Plaza in February 2009.  He is working on his Masters in Science and Human Nutrition and has spoken before diverse groups such as Michigan State University, New York Chiropractic College and the Culinary Vegetable Institute.

Jordan Howell, Lexington Lansing Hotel

2010 Student Employee of the Year

Jordan shows great creativity, work ethic and commitment to both his current job and future career.  He has worked with the Westin Michigan Avenue, Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resorts Villas and the Lexington Lansing Hotel. He has served in various leadership positions including V.P. of Human Resources for Les Gourmets, V.P. of Financial Operations for the Lodging & Gaming Association and is a member of the Professional Convention Managers Association.  In 2009-2010, Jordan was awarded the Starwood Foundation Scholarship.

Van Snider, Michigan Boating Industries Association, Livonia

2010 Trade Association Employee of the Year

Van has been President of the Michigan Boating Industries Association since 1990 and has served in this position for 20 years.  He has been in the boating industry in various capacities since 1974. Van has been Chairman of the Advisory Council of Marine Associations & the National Marine Trades Council. Snider founded the Recreational Boating Industries Educational Foundation and has been honored with such awards as Michigan Society of Association Executives, Strategic Association Leader Award- 2005, Marine Retailers Association of America and MRAA Legislative Award- 2006.

Annie Ferrell, Director of Sales and Marketing, Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

2010 Sales and Marketing Employee of the Year

Regardless of economic cycles, Annie represents her property in the all-important state market, as well as the national market in Washington DC.  She is a member of the Michigan Society of Association Executives, GWSAE, Financial & Insurance Conference Planners and Michigan Political History Society. Regardless of economic cycles Farrell has produced over $500,000 in sales each year since taking her position with Grand Hotel.  She recently secured new long term relationships with the Michigan Judges Association, the FBI Academy and a full house booking with the Michigan Association of Public Employees Retirement Systems.

Gary Piziali, Country Inn and Suites, Marquette

2010 Operations Employee of the Year

Gary has been a proactive employee before the hotel even opened in 2006, spending many hours with the construction crew before he was even on payroll to become familiar with the building's mechanics. He was a large factor in getting the property recognized as the "2009 Country Inn & Suites of the Year Worldwide" by Carlson Hotels and was also the recipient of the Global Hospitality Award. Gary has been nominated and named employee of the month for the second time in February of this year.

The Pure Michigan Governor's Conference on Tourism is a two day event produced by the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association and cosponsored 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 Jennifer Granholm and Congressman Pete Hoekstra.

The Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association is a 105-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 or call (517) 267-8989.

SOURCE Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association