April 10, 2018
MEDIA:  Caroline Taylor
Communications Manager
(703) 525-2400
Photos found here. High-resolution images available upon request.
Inspiring testimonials displaying integrity and excellence of award winners were shared at ceremony
2018 Hospitality Superstar Award winners and Bob Klein Legendary Service Award winners.

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Arlington Chamber of Commerce today honored more than 80 front-line workers in Arlington's hospitality industry at the 14th Annual Hospitality Awards at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View HotelThese prestigious awards are presented each year to hospitality workers who deliver outstanding customer service, exhibit excellence in their roles, and continuously exceeding their job descriptions. 

"Tourism and hospitality are among the most important parts of our region's economy, and this year's award recipients are crucial to continuing the success of these industries," said Chamber President & CEO Kate Bates. "The Chamber is proud to honor these hardworking men and women, whose dedication to providing service of the highest quality helps make Arlington an exceptional place to live, work, and visit."

During the ceremony, Bates read inspiring  testimonials of how each Hospitality Superstar Award winner has displayed integrity and dedication in his or her work, along with examples of they have gone above and beyond their job requirements. One winner,  Akouavi Avegnon of the The Westin Arlington Gateway  lives 30 miles away from her hotel and does not have her driver's license. For 12 years, she has taken six buses each way to get to work, waking up at 3:30 a.m. each day to arrive at work by 8:00 a.m., then making the trip in reverse after work at 4:30 p.m., arriving back home at 8:30 p.m., at the earliest. When asked why she continues to commute when she may have opportunities closer to home,  Avegnon  answered, "Because I love it here. This is my home. This job has helped provide for my sons and I am forever grateful."

Youness Gachouch of the Residence Inn Arlington Rosslyn is another example of an employee who goes the extra mile.  He recently went above the call of duty when a guest was running late for a meeting and there was a shortage of taxis in Arlington. Feeling the frustration of the guest, Gachouch volunteered to use his own personal Uber account and was able to get a car at the hotel within just a few minutes. The guest was extremely happy and appreciative of the kind gesture.

The ceremony also honored 16 individuals with the Bob Klein Legendary Service Award for their 25 or more years of service in the Arlington hospitality industry. This award was renamed several years ago in honor of Bob Klein, the late General Manager of the Holiday Inn National Airport/Crystal City, who was instrumental in creating  the Hospitality Awards program and ensuring its success for the first five years. This year's winners include: Mulu Mengesha of the The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon CityMarilia Morales of the Holiday Inn RosslynTheresa Deloatch 
of the Crystal Gateway Marriott Maria Mejia of the Crystal Gateway MarriottMartha Zarceno of the Key Bridge Marriott Tsehainesh "Sunshine" Bellai  of the Crystal City Marriott
Felix Adeyi  of the Holiday Inn Arlington at Ballston ,  Blanca Palacios of the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport Ruby Ray of the Crystal City Marriott Adanech Solomon of the Crystal City Marriott David Mohammad of the Holiday Inn Rosslyn Alberto Morales 
of the Holiday Inn Rosslyn Mauricio Cortez   of the Crowne Plaza Washington National Airport Hien "Mama" Trang of the Hyatt Centric Arlington Bill Trieu  of the Hyatt Centric Arlington , and  Bounoum "Boun" Phommarth of the Hyatt Centric Arlington .


For access to this release and other statements by the Chamber, click here.
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Founded in 1924, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is a member-centric, volunteer-based, nonprofit organization of approximately 700 businesses committed to the economic and civic well-being of the community. For more information or to become a member, visit the Chamber website.