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Ceremony debuts new honor for young hospitality leader

AH&LA honors outstanding hotel employees with annual stars of the industry awards

At American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Stars of the Industry Awards luncheon, 10 hotel employees were honored for their exceptional accomplishments, service, and leadership in the lodging industry. The ceremony at the association’s Summer Summit at the Hilton Chicago included the debut of the new Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year Award, honoring an outstanding member of AH&LA’s Under 30 Gateway and late industry icon Stevan Porter, former president of the Americas for the InterContinental Hotels Group.  Annual awards were also presented to Outstanding Lodging Employees, Managers, and General Managers in three property size categories.

The creation of the Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year Award coincided with the launch of AH&LA’s membership initiative for young professionals on July 1, 2008 and Porter’s untimely death.  As a testament to his long list of accomplishments, the award recognizes a young member who exemplifies the same traits Steve embodied: superior dedication to improving the industry, leadership, fresh personal and professional perspectives, and a devotion to community service.  The first recipient, Randall Williams, Tampa-based area general manager for the Roberts Hotels Group, made history not only as the first honoree, but also as the individual who received more nominations than anyone else in Stars of the Industry history. Twenty-three people nominated him, describing him with praise including, “unquestionably serious about career growth in hotel management,” “the epitome of a gentleman and a hospitality professional,” and one who has “implemented a family-oriented concept to running daily hotel operations.”  Williams has been influential on the Under 30 Council and the Multicultural Diversity Advisory Council, also serving as one of the judges of the annual Prism award for diversity.

The Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year award winners are Victor Medrano, Best Western Westchase Mini-Suites, in Houston, Texas; Shareef Smith, Courtyard by Marriott – Downtown Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Edmund “Buster” Civerolo, Jr., Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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