Congratulations to the 2015 Stars of the Industry Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2015 Stars of the Industry Award Winners

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Each year the Washington Lodging Association invites its members to honor their exceptional employees by nominating them for the Stars of the Industry Awards. Now in its 17th year, the Stars program celebrated another outstanding group of winners and nominees at WLA’s Annual Convention & Trade Show on Monday, November 16.  This year’s winners are:

Presented by the Washington Lodging Association

with Stars of the Industry Sponsor



Tonya De La Cruz, General Manager, Coast Gateway Hotel, SeaTac
Tonya De La Cruz demonstrates each and every day the way in which Washington’s lodging industry offers ladders to career success. She got her start in the industry as room attendant and working the front desk. With a “hands on – can do” attitude, she has worked her way up to general manager of a 143-room hotel.  She has turned the Coast Gateway Hotel into a major player in the three-star market in SeaTac, steadily growing her occupancy rate and other industry indicators of success.



KeithColeman-IMG_6358-thumbnailGENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Keith Coleman, General Manager, Springhill Suites Bellingham and TownePlace Suites Bellingham
Kevin Coleman returned to his hometown of Bellingham in 2013 to open the 360° Hotel Group’s new Springhill Suites, and this year the company entrusted a second brand-new property to him, the TownePlace Suites Bellingham. He is active in the community and sits on numerous boards, including the Advisory Board to the Charter College Hospitality Program, the Whatcom Community College’s Hospitality & Tourism Program’s Advisory Board.


KimPeterson-2IMG_6347-thumbnailOUTSTANDING MANAGER
Kim Peterson, Director of Catering & Event Management, Sheraton Seattle Hotel
Kim Peterson, Sheraton Seattle Hotel’s Director of Catering & Event Management, handles high profile groups, countless charity galas and convention groups at Seattle’s largest hotel.  He oversees an events team and works closely and collaboratively with other departments to ensure an exceptional experience for meeting attendees and guests Described as a great leader with an eye for talent, Kim Peterson has identified and developed more than 30 managers and associates who have been promoted to larger roles in the industry.


MagdalenaCorrea-IMG_6339 (1)-thumbnailOUTSTANDING MANAGER
Magdalena Correa, Executive Head Housekeeper, SpringHill Suites by Marriott Kennewick/Tri-Cities
Magdalena Correa has played a critical role transforming three newly-built properties from construction sites to “guest ready” hotels. As The Hotel Group (THG) was getting ready to open without access to its elevators, Magdalena organized the staff in a line to deliver supplies to all five floors of the new hotel. She has also helped THG open its Homewood Suites in Issaquah and the Courtyard by Marriott Walla Walla. Her team’s dedication to their work has lead SpringHill Suites Kennewick  to be 4 out of 333 in guestroom cleanliness out of all SpringHill hotels.


BertHayward-FrankWelton-2-IMG_6390a-thumbnailOUTSTANDING LODGING EMPLOYEE
Bert Hayward, Shuttle Driver/Bellperson, Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Known as the property’s unofficial “mayor,” Bert Hayward served 20 years in the armed forces as a security forces specialist and had a career in loss prevention and security before joining the Embassy Suites Seattle Tacoma International Airport Team. His nomination notes that Bert promotes internal communication by sharing insights, issues and opportunities for improvement, and he his never seen standing still. Bert has received more “shout-outs” in the Embassy Suites guest satisfactions and loyalty tracking over the past 10 years than any other team member.


Dzenana Prozorac, Breakfast Bar Manager, Holiday Inn Express Downtown Spokane
As the hotel’s breakfast bar manager, Dzenana Prozorac generates dozens of glowing comment cards each year and is described by both her employer and hotel guests as someone who goes the extra mile. During a recent early morning power outage she prepared what she could, set up an order with Starbucks and picked up the coffee so the guests wouldn’t have to do without. Dzenana has also been recognized nationally as Holiday Inn Express Hotels best breakfast bar attendant.  Holiday Inn Express Downtown Spokane is a Sterling Hospitality Management property.


ChloeLeeMG_6314-thumbnailRISING STAR
Chloe Lee, Cook 1, Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle
As a cook at Seattle’s Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Chloe Lee creates original treats and offers complimentary bites of her own creations to our guests during happy hour time in the terrace. Her nominator wrote that her passion for food shines through in everything that she does, and it traces back to baking bread with her mother in a village near Papua Indonesia. She joined the Fairmont Olympic Hotel team after moving to America to attend culinary school.



MeganGreenawalt-IMG_6309-thumbnailRISING STAR
Megan Greenawalt, Front Office Supervisor, Springhill Suites Bellingham
Megan Greenawalt’s hospitality career began on a construction site of the 360° Hotel Group’s first Bellingham property, the new Springhill Suites. She showed her mettle while studying in Whatcom Community College’s new hospitality program and helping open the new hotel. She showed she was up to the challenges and changes that come with an opening, and her ability to meet these challenges showed that she clearly has great potential for professional growth.




Radisson Hotel Seattle Airport

Sheraton Seattle Hotel



Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle

Best Western Plus Heritage Inn, Bellingham



Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle-Tacoma International Airport



Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (B.E.S.T.)


Presented by the Washington Lodging Association

with Stars of the Industry Sponsor


Click here to view the full list of nominees.