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Hospitality Awards

Each April the Lakeville Convention & Visitors Bureau seeks exceptional employee nominations from our local hospitality industry.

Award recipients are recognized at the annual Lakeville Tourism Luncheon held in May.

2019 Award Recipients

2019 Hospitality Winners

Recently Visit Lakeville Tourism and the Lakeville Area Chamber of Commerce honored five exceptional hospitality industry employees with a STAR Hospitality Award. Award recipients were chosen for demonstrating excellence in leadership, customer service, knowledge, integrity and professionalism.

Among the 2019 recipients are David Hyde, Betty Kokoschke, Don Hayes, Adam Meilike and Alma Pacheco. These dynamic individuals were honored with a beautiful engraved crystal star award and $100 gift card at the organization’s annual Tourism Luncheon held each May during National Travel and Tourism Week. “We have tremendous talent among our area hospitality professionals and are proud to showcase their talents at this annual event,” said Jeanne Hutter, Vice President of the Lakeville Area Chamber of Commerce & Visit Lakeville Tourism. “Award winners are the best and brightest, providing the lifeblood of Lakeville’s vibrant tourism and hospitality industry. It is so wonderful to have a vehicle to recognize these outstanding individuals and witness their excitement firsthand at this event.”

David Hyde, General Manager of Porterhouse Steak and Seafood, received the 2019 Excellence in Leadership Award for his professionalism, high standards of management, consistency, reliability and the ultimate example he sets for staff at the restaurant. “Under David’s leadership, our restaurant has shown consistent sales growth, low employee turnover and exceptional service reviews” says owners Bob Gillen and Kevin Schleif. “The keys to David’s success overseeing a staff of 35 can be attributed to his thorough planning and early preparation as he ‘sets the table’ for the staff so they can focus on guest experience. David takes initiative and treats the Porterhouse as if it is his own business.”

Betty Kokoschke is a crew member at McDonalds on Kenrick who began working there in the 90’s after retirement from the medical field. Owner Ivan Youssef nominated Betty for the2019 Excellence in Customer Service award because “her level of efficiency is unmatched. Betty truly cares about customers and team members. She runs two lanes in the drive-thru with ease, accuracy and personality. Betty is cheerful, precise and ready to work even though she arrives at 3 am and has a unique ability to genuinely connect with customers.” Betty recognizes a customer’s voice or car and quickly records their standing order before it’s placed all while catching up on the customer’s life. She is well known and adored by McDonald goers. “Betty is a big part of why people choose to come to our McDonalds for coffee and breakfast!”

Don Hayes has won the recognition of 2019 Exceptional Tourism Ambassador working for Gray Line Minnesota/Schmitty & Sons as a driver in the Charter Department. “Don is a diversified driver within our department with a vast skill set and is trained on the majority of our fleet including trolley, mid coaches, sprinters and school bus.” Gray Line Minnesota Charter Manager Kelsey Grossman beams as she talks about Don. “Regardless of the group he is driving, Don always provides the best customer service with a smile. As a retired middle school counselor, he has understanding and patience for our student groups.” Don developed a tour route at the U of M for new family orientation and is a tour guide to many groups who repeatedly comment about his knowledge of the Twin Cities attractions.

Adam Meilike, Superintendent of Southern Hills Golf Course, is honored with the 2019 Shining Star Award. Adam is known for always having a smile on his face, being the first to volunteer for a task, completing jobs, meeting deadlines, and taking care of business by doing whatever it takes to make the customers day. Nate Cardin, Director of Southern Hills Golf Course shared a story at the luncheon about Adam finding quickly finding a way to pull a completely submerged in mud golfer from a hole. “Adam only wished he could have not only saved this golfer, but found his ball too. He is able to creatively find solutions to problems as they arise.”

Alma Pacheco is front desk manager of the Lakeville Quality Inn. She is honored with the 2019 Everyday Hero Award for her huge impact on employees and customers. Arpan Patel, owner of the hotel expresses how proud he is of Alma. “Alma is always above and beyond and takes on additional responsibilities such as those of an assistant general manager without being asked. Alma is extremely caring and treats the hotel as if it was her own. Our employees are very loyal to her.” Alma is known to shovel out their guests’ cars after snow storms, has taken care of a guest after unexpected surgery, and speaking fluent Spanish she volunteers to translate when there is a language barrier.

For more information on the 2019 Hospitality Star Awards or to learn how to become involved in 2020, contact the Lakeville Chamber & CVB office at 952.469.2020 or Email Us

Who is eligible?

Employees of tourism and hospitality related businesses (i.e. hotels, attractions, restaurants, banquet facilities, golf courses, travel agents, etc.) that are Lakeville Area Chamber members in good standing or tourism partner of the CVB. Candidates must be currently employed at the nominating business and have at least one year of employment there. Organizations with volunteers may also submit an application for a volunteer with over three years of service.

What can you expect?

Award recipients will be recognized at the annual Lakeville Tourism Luncheon held in May.

Although recipients may say a few words at the awards presentation, it is not expected. As an employer, you will speak on behalf of your recipient and tell their “story”. Recipients receive a beautiful crystal award, lunch for themself and a guest at no charge, and a $100 VISA gift card. Photos will be taken during and after the luncheon. Victors will be recognized in local and chamber media – what a great way to honor your star employees and showcase your business!

Who selects the recipients?

The CVB Advisory Board of Directors will determine the recipients and preside over the award ceremony.

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