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Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau Announces 2016 Annual Award Winners & Southland Stars of the Industry

The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau, the regional destination management organization for Chicago’s 62 south and southwest suburbs, recognized its members, municipalities and organizations for their outstanding service in the hospitality and tourism industries during Fiscal Year 2016.

The awards were presented at the CVB’s Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Alsip. CVB President / CEO Jim Garrett focused on the 30 year history of the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our 30 year history is truly remarkable,” said Jim Garrett. “ We keep reaching for new highs and this past year a record 1.33 million room nights were sold while hotel revenues reach an all time high of $110 million.”

The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau also unveiled a new destination video, showcasing the region’s highlights. To view the video, please visit Youtube.com/ChicagoSouthlandCVB.


Keynote speaker Governor Bruce Rauner, spoke on the economic impact of tourism on the state and local levels. “The tourism industry is an essential part of our economic growth and our economic prosperity,” Governor Rauner said. “We can generate more good quality jobs, more tax revenue and higher growth more quickly in the tourism and conventions industry than any other sector. We want to continue to grow a strong tourism industry right here in Illinois and I'm working hard every day to do just that. If we focus on making Illinois competitive and lay a solid foundation for economic growth and prosperity, Illinois’ future will once again be bright.”


The annual Stars of the Industry Awards honor the work of exceptional regional employees.

2016 Administrative Employee of the Year: Jaclyn Bracha, DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago – Alsip

2016 Food & Beverage Employee of the Year: Armando Alvarez, Hilton Chicago / Oak Lawn & Conference Center
2016 Guest Service Employee of the Year: Daniel Greene, Comfort Suites – Lansing
2016 Housekeeping Employee of the Year: Martha Ibarra, Country Inn & Suites – Matteson
2016 Maintenance Employee of the Year: PJ Ganjanaget, Hilton Garden Inn – Tinley Park
2016 Manager of the Year: Karen Seits, Hilton Garden Inn – Tinley Park

2016 Restaurant Frontline Employee of the Year: Sue Giles, Allgauer’s Restaurant, DoubleTree by Hilton-Chicago – Alsip

2016 Attraction Frontline Employee of the Year: Roberto Castillo, Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn

2016 Restaurant Manager of the Year: Roy Witty, Andy’s Frozen Custard

2016 Attraction Manager of the Year: Angelia Martin, Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn


“From the general managers to the housekeepers and guest services departments, these are the people making a difference in the hospitality industry,” said Sally Schlesinger, CPA, Executive Vice President for the Chicago Southland CVB.

The Chicago Southland CVB also presented their annual awards highlighting the contributions of its members and partners to the tourism and hospitality industries in the Chicago Southland.

Awards of Merit: Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery for their dedication to the tourism industry by hosting travel writers, familiarization tours, participating in our National Tourism Day event and in recognition of their 20 year anniversary.

Chicago Gaelic Park for their work in making Irish Fest a regional mainstay in the Chicago Southland and in recognition of their 30 year anniversary.

Linda Morgan Award for Volunteerism: Jason Berry, for his constant engagement with the CVB throughout the past year in bringing unique first time events to the region, volunteering his time to ensure the success of the events and giving unfettered access to many facilities in the City of Blue Island.

Patricia Chase Magon Municipal Leadership Award: The Village of Orland Park for their development of LaGrange Road, turning their particular corridor into an economic driver with shops and restaurants and hosting Illinois’ first ever professional log rolling competition, which attracted visitors from all over the region to see 19 competitors throughout the US and Canada compete.

Senator Aldo DeAngelis Leadership Award: Daniel Fitzgerald, for his ongoing leadership and guidance with the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau, helping attract first time events not only to the region but the state of Illinois and in recognition of his charitable work in finding April Food Day a permanent home with the Tinley Park Convention Center.

Member of the Year: Aurelio’s Pizza, for their concerted effort to help the Chicago Southland hospitality industry. Whether it is hosting travel writers and familiarization tours or sponsoring a team to ensure the success of another event in the region, Aurelio’s Pizza showcases on a daily basis why they have been a mainstay in the Chicago Southland since the 1950s.

“Our winners today understand the value of tourism as an economic driver in the Chicago Southland,” said Jim Garrett President / CEO for the Chicago Southland CVB. “Their efforts helped make this a fantastic year in tourism, congratulations to them all.”





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