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HOBART | Fifteen area employees on the front lines of the hospitality industry were honored for their work Wednesday evening at the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority R.O.S.E. and R.I.S.E. awards dinner at Avalon Manor.

"This is a festive night" to "reward and recognize those who keep our industry moving forward," said Speros Batistatos, CVA president and CEO, in welcoming the more than 200 guests in attendance.

Batistatos was joined in presenting the awards by Gerry Dick of Inside Indiana Business.

"The job that you all do … it’s never been more important," Dick said.

About 100 hospitality industry employees were nominated for one of the awards, which stand for Recognition of Service Excellence — given to staff members — and Recognition of Industry Success and Excellence — given to managers and past R.O.S.E. winners.

The 12 R.O.S.E. winners were Meltem Ahuoglu of Ameristar Casino Hotel, Darren Dewell of Crown Brewing, Margaret Dubesa of Hilton Garden Inn Chesterton, Joseph Fetty of Fair Oaks Farms, Donald Frantz of Holiday Inn Express Schererville, Eduardo Fuentes of Hilton Garden Inn Chesterton, James Kertis of Ameristar Casino Hotel, Sam Maclin of The Free EnterpR.I.S.E. System, Peter Mandich of Amerstar Casino Hotel, Robbie Martin of Hilton Garden Inn Chesterton, Emily Trisler of Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center and Crystal White of Hammer’s Restaurant.

The R.I.S.E. winners were Dominique Bartee of Hilton Garden Inn Chesterton, Joshua Sanders of Hilton Garden Inn Merrillville and Andy Solis of Best Western Northwest Indiana Inn.

"I’m overwhelmed," said Dubesa after being presented her award. "It is an honor."

The housekeeper of more than three years gave credit to her co-workers. "All of us work good together," she said.

Mandich is a bellman at Ameristar. He’s a golf professional who started at the hotel six months ago.

“My wife and I would stay there. I found it intriguing,” he said.

As other winners, Mandich wanted to give credit to co-workers, including the other Ameristar award nominees, and the bellmen, doormen, front desk, phone staff and housekeeping staffs, with whom he works closely.

“I work with some fantastic people,” Mandich said.

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