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CONTACT: Michele Goldberg, Director of Marketing
Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau
Tel: (413) 755-1344/E-mail: michele@valleyvisitor.com

GSCVB Names 2014 Howdy Award Recipients

Springfield, MA-- (6/9/13) - The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) honored 9 individuals (see list at end of release) from the hospitality industry on Monday, June 9, during the 19th annual Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence.  The gala dinner, held at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, attracted more than 300 tourism industry professionals.

The awards, produced by the GSCVB, recognize front-line employees in the hospitality industry who go above and beyond in the performance of their duties and provide outstanding service to their guests and customers.  By doing so, these hospitality professionals contribute to the economic vitality of the businesses they serve and the region overall.

The winners were chosen from among 48 finalists, who were honored at a reception in May.  The finalists were selected by the Howdy Awards Committee from nearly 400 nominations among seven categories.  The Committee also selected Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, to receive the Spotlight Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations for their dedication and outstanding contribution to the region’s hospitality industry.  

“We’re proud and happy to present the Howdy Awards to honor some of the most important people in the hospitality industry, the frontline workers,” said GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra.  “They are usually the first person a visitor encounters, and if they’re especially nice and go above and beyond, that visitor is likely to return to that – and other – tourism locations.  So, everybody wins…the visitor has a great experience, the location captures their business, and the Pioneer Valley economy is enhanced.  This year’s event is also exciting because of the selection of Mayor Sarno as the very worthy recipient of the Spotlight Award.”

Upon bestowing the Spotlight Award on Mayor Sarno, GSCVB Chairman Michael E. Hurwitz stated, “Mayor Sarno has long been a friend to tourism.  When called upon to lend his support to the GSCVB’s efforts he readily reinforces the importance of our industry on a local and regional level.  Truly, Mayor Sarno values tourism and sees the key role this industry plays in Springfield’s Renaissance.”

The Howdy Awards program consists of a nomination process for which any hospitality service provider in the region is eligible - regardless of whether their organization is a GSCVB member.  A trio of respected industry leaders selected from outside the Pioneer Valley judges the finalists, and selects the winners in each category.  The judges for this year's event were Janice Putnam – Marketing & Sales Manager at Mystic Country, CT, Fred Hunter – Media Consultant, Group Tour Media, Chelmsford, MA and Brian Van Gyzen – Assistant Professor, The Hospitality College at Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI.

Each hospitality award winner received the decorative etched glass Hospitality Excellence Award, a framed certificate of achievement, a Howdy Winner lapel pin, and a gift bag filled with gift certificates and other items from the region’s top tourism establishments.

Sponsors for the 2014 Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence include Yankee Candle Village, Aladco Linen Co., Baystate Health, WWLP TV-22, Eastern States Exposition, Freedom Credit Union, Global Spectrum, The Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House/The Delaney House, MassLive.com, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Performance Foodservice, The Republican, Mix 93-1 and WHYN NewsTalk 560 and Yuengling.

The GSCVB, an affiliate of the Economic Development Council of Western MA, is a private non-profit destination marketing organization that generates economic growth for Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley by marketing the region as an ideal destination for meetings and conventions, group tour, sports and leisure travel.  For more information, visit www.valleyvisitor.com.



In the category of Accommodations:

Mary Annis – Guest Service Agent
Hampton Inn Hadley/Amherst

In the category of Attractions:

William Vezina – Crew Member
Bright Nights at Forest Park

In the category of Beverage:

Victoria Torti – Bartender
30Boltwood at the Lord Jeffery Inn in Amherst

In the category of Food:

Luisa Cardaropoli – Owner
Palazzo Café in Springfield

In the category of Public Service:

Judy Butcher – Receptionist
Jewish Community Center in Springfield

In the category of Retail/Business:

Rhiannon McDermott – Customer Service Representative
Lee Premium Outlets in Lee

In the category of Transportation:

Ricky Johnson – Motorcoach Operator
Peter Pan Bus Lines in Springfield

Spotlight Winner:

Domenic J. Sarno – Mayor of Springfield


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