MUNSTER │ Excellence in the service industry in the South Shore region was recognized Wednesday as more than 200 hospitality industry professionals gathered for a special event at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts.
The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority ROSE Awards were created to honor those employees who regularly go beyond the call of duty.
More than 100 nominations of exceptional front-line employees were received for the Recognition of Service Excellence Awards and 35 finalists were invited to attend the annual awards banquet where 12 were chosen as “the dozen roses” of the bunch.
“These are the folks who represent the tradition of Hoosier hospitality in our state better than anybody else,” Mark Newman, executive director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, said of the finalists. “They set the example that many people in this industry aspire to achieve. They’re the reason why people come back again and again.”
The 12 ROSE Award winners included Matthew Baker, a bartender at TJ Maloney’s Authentic Irish Pub at the Radisson Hotel.
“I thought it was a great honor,” Baker said. “In our jobs we’re taking care of everybody else so for us to be thanked really stands out.
Fellow winner Margaret Ulloa, a server at Teibel’s Family Restaurant, said she was “flattered and excited” to be acknowledged for her work.
“I love what I do,” she said. “I love the people who come in. It’s nice to know that somebody recognizes you for that.”
Other ROSE Award winners included: Kimberly Uzelac, 54 Main Bistro; Gina Desadier, Ameristar Casino; Rebecca Jones, Cabela’s; Lillian Soto, Comfort Inn; Linda Fiorenzo, Hampton Inn; Ray Matheny, Hilton Garden Inn; Dawn Gomez, Horseshoe Casino; Latoya Stubbs, Horseshoe Casino; Trent Pendley, Martin Binder Jewelry; and Jill Albright, The Free Enterprise System.
Speros Batistatos, South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority president and CEO, lauded the diversity of the nominees — not only culturally but in the types of businesses represented.
“What a great testament about our industry and our corner of the state,” he said. “We are the last melting pot of Indiana. We are what this country envisioned.”