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A number of heartwarming testimonies displaying integrity and excellence
were given at the 11th Annual Hospitality Awards.
March 18, 2015 (Arlington, VA) - The Arlington Chamber of Commerce honored over 80 front-line workers in Arlington's hospitality field at the 11th Annual Hospitality Awards on Tuesday, March 17 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. The event focused on those who make Arlington County a wonderful place to live and visit through their hard work, dedication, and outstanding customer service.

"The efforts of these individuals ensure that visitors keep coming back to Arlington," said  Arlington Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Kate Roche , "and we are thrilled to celebrate their contributions to the hospitality and tourism industry today."
2015 Hospitality Award Winners

During the awards presentation, incredible testimonials were given that represented the excellence and dedication of the award winners and their continuous efforts to go above and beyond their job requirements to provide superior customer service to their guests. One winner, Jonathan Alderson of the Residence Inn Arlington Ballston, met a recent guest and his two teenage sons after they moved into the hotel for 45 days after their house caught on fire. He arranged everything they needed and made their transition as easy as possible.  He even completed all of the paperwork with the relocation company so the guests did not have to worry about the payment and billing of their room. 


Barbara Stella Jacobs accepting her award with 2015 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Chair Kevin Shooshan (left) and Hotel
General Managers Committee co-chair
Dori Familiant (right)
Barbara Stella Jacobs of the Crystal City Marriott is another example of someone who goes "above and beyond" to assist guests.  When her hotel received a call from concerned parents  after their daughter's flight had been cancelled and she was stuck in the airport with nowhere to stay, this nominee helped arrange accommodations for her and had her escorted to her room to stay the night. The parents were so glad to know that their young daughter was in good hands thanks to the initiative and kindness of Ms. Jacobs. 


Lucio Rodriguez of the Holiday Inn Rosslyn was just leaving after a long day at work when he found out that a hotel guest left his personal items in the safe in his room and his flight was leaving within the hour. This nominee decided he needed to help out the guest in need, locating the items and delivering them to the guest with just minutes to spare. The guest was overwhelmed with joy to know that he went out his way to help.  


These are just a handful of the many examples of the Hospitality Superstars in Arlington whose selfless deeds for the sake of others keep guests returning to Arlington's fantastic hotels and restaurants. The winners are not managers, who are often recognized in this type of awards ceremony, but rather the employees whose work directly effects the customer on a daily basis.

The ceremony also honored 25 individuals who have served in the Arlington hospitality industry for 25 or more years through the Bob Klein Legendary Service Award. Of all of the awards, the awards for legendary service, 25 years or more, are often the most inspiring.  The award was renamed The Bob Klein Legendary Service Award several years ago in honor of the General Manager of the Holiday Inn National Airport who was instrumental in creating this program and its success for the first five years. The award winners included Pedro Mendoza, Jennifer Scott, Hahn Vu and Theoun Chay of the Hyatt Regency Crystal CityFidel Castellanos of The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City, Fidel Andrades of the DoubleTree by Hilton Washington DC-Crystal City, Blanca Rodriguez-Acosta and Hien Tho of the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel, Barbara Moore and Ever Aguilar of the Holiday Inn Arlington at Ballston, Vino Mohan of the Holiday Inn Rosslyn, Thanh Ly, Isaac Armstead, and Claude Dawkins of the Crystal Gateway MarriottJuana Cruz de Saravia of the Westin Crystal City,Teka HabtemariamBlanca Vasquez, Vieng Chanthachack, Sheila Ennison, Gloria Urrutia, and Joydene Smith of the Crystal City and Crystal Gateway Marriott hotels, Joanne HemsleyGardenia Benjamin, Maria Zavala, and Juan Lopez of the Americana Hotel, and Gerald "Jerry" Gminder of the Crystal City Marriott. 


Dori Familiant, General Manager of the DoubleTree Crystal City hotel and co-chair of the Arlington Chamber Hotel General Managers Committee opened the ceremony. In addition to Mr. Familiant, Chris Raines, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Rosslyn and co-chair of the Arlington Chamber Hotel General Managers Committee, and Kevin Shooshan of The Shooshan Company and 2015 Chair of the Chamber assisted with the presentation of the awards.


Tourism and the hospitality industry are among the most important business sectors in our community, and those being honored are key in continuing the success of the industry. The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is proud to honor the "Superstars" of our important hospitality industry.

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Founded in 1924, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is a member-centric, volunteer-based, non-profit organization of over 700 businesses committed to the economic and civic well being of the community. For more information or to become a member, visit