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Chicago Southland CVB announces 2012 Annual Award Winners and Stars of the Industry

The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau, the regional destination marketing 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 the past fiscal year.

The awards were presented at the CVB's Annual Meeting and Luncheon Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at the Hilton Chicago/Oak Lawn at 9333 South Cicero Avenue, Oak Lawn, IL. Bruce Rauner, Chairman of Choose Chicago, delivered the keynote address. Rauner summarized the successes of Choose Chicago and discussed future plans for the organization.

The Annual Stars of the Industry Awards honor the work of exceptional regional hotel employees and were presented to winners by Chicago Southland CVB President/CEO Jim Garrett, Chicago Southland CVB Chairman Roy Patel and Illinois Office of Tourism Deputy Director Jen Hoelzle. This year's Chicago Southland Stars of the Industry are:

2012 Administrative Employee of the Year: Evelyn Baader, Administrative Assistant at the DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago/Alsip

2012 Food & Beverage Employee of the Year: Denise Sisler, Breakfast Hostess at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Chicago Southland

2012 Guest Services Employee of the Year: Luke Aulwurm, Guest Service Agent at the DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago/Alsip

2012 Housekeeping Employee of the Year: Antonio Valle, Shampoo & Floor Attendant - Shuttle Driver at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Tinley Park Convention Center

2012 Maintenance Employee of the Year: Freddy DiBiase, Chief Engineer at the Hilton Chicago/Oak Lawn

2012 Manager of the Year: Monica Yanez, Front Desk Manager at the Sleep Inn - Lansing

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

The 2012 winners are:

Tourism Award of Merit: The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition for bringing attention to the communities along the 25 miles of Lincoln Highway that runs through the Chicago Southland. In partnership with local communities, the coalition has developed nine interpretive murals and three interpretive gazebos.

Tourism Award of Merit: The Oak Lawn Rotary Club for their vision and passion to create the 9/11 First Responders Memorial at Oak Lawn/Patriot Station in downtown Oak Lawn. The memorial features steel from the World Trade Center and is a testament to the courage and commitment of first responders as well as a destination driver for the downtown area.

Linda Morgan Award for Volunteerism: Dr. Terri Winfree, Vice-President of Community & Economic Development at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights. Dr. Winfree has volunteered countless hours in support of the CVB, including volunteering to Chair the Executive Board Nominating Committee the past several elections.

Senator Aldo DeAngelis Leadership Award: John Daly, Village Administrator for the Village of Orland Hills, has lead, supported and pushed the CVB forward since starting on the CSCVB Board of Directors in 1995. Daly has served on the Executive Board since 2000 in a variety of roles including Chairperson.

Patricia Chase Magon Municipal Leadership Award: The Village of Matteson for their dedication to maximizing the value of tourism for the village and regional economies. The village has utilized its new community center to bring in new events to the region and strongly supported the refurbishment of the Holiday Inn Chicago Matteson Conference Center as part of its Interstate 57 Gateway.

2012 Member of the Year: Chicago Gaelic Park in Oak Forest. Every Memorial Day weekend, over 50,000 people come to Chicago Gaelic Park for Irish Fest, and those visitors have a tremendous impact on the local and regional economies. Chicago Gaelic Park also offers a variety of cultural and sporting events throughout the year. They have also hosted several sporting events the CVB has brought to the Chicago Southland and continue to support efforts to increase the visibility of the region.

Our winners today understand the value of tourism as an economic driver in the Chicago Southland and they are continuing to help make the region an important visitor destination, said Chicago Southland CVB President and CEO Jim Garrett. These awards highlight the best service in our region and are presented to the individuals and organizations that make a difference in the hospitality and tourism industries.

For additional information on any of the winners or awards, including high-resolution images, please contact Scott Bort, Public Relations Manager, at the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau, 708-895-8200 or via e-mail at scott@visitchicagosouthland.com.

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