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Chicago Southland CVB announces 2010 Annual Award Winners and Stars of the Industry

Oak Lawn, IL - The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau - the regional destination marketing organization for Chicago's 62 south and southwest suburbs - recognized 10 exemplary members, municipalities, and organizations for their work on behalf of the hospitality and tourism industries in the Chicago Southland region during the past fiscal year.

The awards were presented at the CVB's Annual Meeting and Luncheon Wednesday, September 15 at the Hilton Oak Lawn, 9333 S. Cicero Ave. in Oak Lawn, IL.

Keynote speaker at the luncheon was Jan V. Kostner, Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. Ms. Kostner outlined the Office of Tourism's efforts to keep Illinois and the Chicago Southland region "top of mind" to potential visitors to the state and region, even during these challenging economic times.

This is the third year the CVB has conducted its "Hospitality Stars of the Industry" employee recognition program to honor the work of regional hotel employees. The Stars of the Industry program seeks nominees based on their work performance, guest comments, and supervisor recommendations. This year's Chicago Southland Hospitality Stars of the Industry are:

- 2010 Guest Services Employee of the Year: John Williams, Shuttle Driver at the Doubletree Hotel Chicago-Alsip.

- 2010 Administrative Employee of the Year: Sue Carroll, Accounts Receivable and Payroll Manager at the Hilton Oak Lawn.

- 2010 Housekeeping Employee of the Year: Ramona Gutierrez, Housekeeping Supervisor at the Doubletree Hotel Chicago-Alsip.

- 2010 Food & Beverage Employee of the Year: Jackie Swanson, Breakfast Attendant at the Country Inn & Suites Tinley Park.

- 2010 Maintenance Employee of the Year: Mario Valentin, Maintenance Engineer at the Doubletree Hotel Chicago-Alsip.

- 2010 Manager of the Year: George Gacic, Chief Engineer at the Doubletree Hotel Chicago-Alsip.

The Chicago Southland CVB annually presents four awards highlighting the contributions of its partners to tourism and hospitality in the Chicago Southland region.

The awards are a volunteer award, a regional leadership award, a municipal leader award, and a member of the year award. The 2010 winners are:

- Senator Aldo DeAngelis Leadership Award: Geoff Bates, Director and Curator of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park at Governors State University, for his vision and leadership in raising the profile of the sculpture park and advancing the arts in the Chicago Southland region.

- Linda Morgan Award for Volunteerism: Kelly Sujka, Director of Sales for the Doubletree Hotel Chicago-Alsip, for her long-term and committed volunteer service to the Chicago Southland CVB and for her service on a number of committees.

- Patricia Chase Magon Municipal Leader of the Year Award: Mayor Hank Kuspa of the City of Oak Forest, for his commitment to tourism in his community by increasing signage directing visitors to area hotels, creation of new events designed to attract visitors to Oak Forest and the Chicago Southland, and for the city's bicycle and pedestrian plan to enable residents and visitors alike to safely access commuter rail stations and regional trails.

- 2010 Member of the Year: TOYOTA PARK, for its promotion of international sports and musical events drawing thousands of visitors to the Chicago Southland each year, and for its efforts to assist the Chicago Southland CVB in promotional efforts.

"These awards are presented to individuals and organizations who provide the best service in our region and understand the value of tourism in the Chicago Southland as an economic driver," said Chicago Southland CVB President and CEO Jim Garrett.

"Each of our winners today have helped - and are continuing to help - build the Chicago Southland as an important and viable visitor destination. We thank them for their service to the region and the CVB."

For additional information on any of the winners or awards, please contact Bob Lukens, Public Relations Manager, at the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau, 708-895-8200 or via e-mail at bob@visitchicagosouthland.com.

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