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The Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau (LCVB) honored the tourism industry’s finest at this year’s annual meeting and awards ceremony on Oct. 9. Celebrating its 21st year, the event recognizes the many people on the front line of the hospitality industry that have made Louisville a successful destination. More than 600 distinguished guests and tourism professionals attended the event held at the Marriott Louisville Downtown.

The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the Recognition of Service Excellence (ROSE) Award winners. These awards are given to exemplary front-line employees in the hospitality industry in the areas of attractions, accommodations, behind the scenes, dining, transportation and volunteers. There were 46 nominees this year, and a record number of votes were cast to pick this year’s winners.

The 2013 ROSE Award winners are:

  • Accommodations: Andy Embry, 21c Museum Hotel
  • Attractions: Sandra Blakeney, Actors Theatre of Louisville
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Hassan Abdi, Hyatt Regency Louisville
  • Dining: Marsha Whiteside, Hard Rock Café – Louisville
  • Transportation: Ras Thomas, Yellow Cab
  • Volunteers: Ruth Marchand, Louisville Regional Airport

Each honoree was greeted on stage by Mayor Greg Fischer and LCVB President Jim Wood. Each winner received a custom glass award by local artist Casey Hyland, along with several other gift items that included a bottle of Four Roses bourbon and a personalized Louisville Slugger bat.

The Dan Mangeot Award was presented to John Shake. The Dan Mangeot Award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of tourism and has a history of supporting the hospitality industry throughout his or her professional lifetime. Shake is the longtime General Manager of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville and is well-known throughout the region for his work on behalf of tourism in Kentucky.

The Unity Award was presented to restaurateur Tom O’Shea. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the promotion of diversity in the hospitality industry.

The Meeting Planner’s Choice Award was given to Linda Edwards from the Kentucky Exposition Center and Kentucky International Convention Center. This award is presented to an individual employee that embodies the spirit of hospitality and has provided an unforgettable experience to meeting and event organizers.

In addition, Ambassador Awards were presented to 35 individuals that have significantly contributed to the Bureau’s sales initiatives by helping to bring convention business to Louisville.

“It is an honor to publicly thank the many men and women who work tirelessly to make Louisville a special place to live, work and visit,” said Jim Wood, president and CEO, LCVB.  “They are the many reasons our city stands out among other destinations in hospitality and service. They are making a difference and contributing to the economic vibrancy of our city by creating a positive experience for our visitors.”

The travel and tourism industry is the third largest service industry in Louisville, supporting 31,000 jobs and creating an economic impact of $1.4 billion with 12.7 million visitors annually.

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