Brevard Tourist Development Council Announces Hospitality, Tourism Award Winners

By  //  June 9, 2015

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This

tourism tax revenue expected to top $15 million

Left TDC Director Eric Garvey and TDC Chair Laurilee Thompson along with Rob Varley (far right), 2014 recipient of the Portrait of Excellence Award, present the 2015 prestigious award to Dr. Anthony Cantanese, President and CEO of Florida Institute of Technology. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Tourist Development Council Director Eric Garvey, left, and TDC Chair Laurilee Thompson, second from left, along with Rob Varley, far right, present the 2015 “Portrait of Excellence” award to Dr. Anthony Catanese, President and CEO of Florida Institute of Technology. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Tourist Development Council announced the winners of the 2015 Hospitality and Tourism Awards: Stanley Francis received the Hospitality Specialist of the Year award and Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) received the Solomon “Portrait of Excellence.”

These awards celebrate the best of the best among the people and businesses representing our leading industry in the name of tourism.

Francis is the Guest Service Agent at the Best Western Hotel and Suites Cocoa Beach and has been at the property for more than 25 years. Assistant General Manager Jamie Teijeiro said that Francis has a consistent level of care, commitment and passion.

“He has a great sense of humor and is well respected by all,” said Teijeiro.

Florida Tech was honored for their partnership with the TDC in arts and sports, and for their extraordinary contributions to enhance our quality of life.

Dr. Anthony Catanese, President and CEO of FIT, accepted the award. He noted that he is proud Florida Tech’s museums, programs and sporting events as they continue to draw people to the Space Coast.

“We do engage in tourism and we’re proud of that,” Dr. Catanese said.

Stanley Francis, Guest Service Agent  for the Best Western Hotel & Suites, Cocoa Beach, was awarded the Hospitality Specialist of the Year by Eric Garvey. “We’re here to serve and not be served,” he remarked before giving a big thumbs up as he walked away with all his prizes. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Stanley Francis, Guest Service Agent for the Best Western Hotel & Suites, Cocoa Beach, at left, was awarded the Hospitality Specialist of the Year by Eric Garvey. “We’re here to serve and not be served,” he remarked before giving a big thumbs up as he walked away with all his prizes. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

“It was great to get together with such a diverse group of community leaders who are all involved in one way or another with the tourism industry,” said Eric Garvey, Tourist Development Council Executive Director.

“Joining us also were high school students from who are involved in hospitality programs. The highlight of the event is the recognition of a group of hospitality specialists nominated for their passion and commitment to providing outstanding guest service.”

Hospitality is a noble profession dedicated to serving others. Typically on the low end of the pay scale, hospitality workers embrace the notion that kindness is its own reward (Proverbs 11:17).

LEFT TO RIGHT: Rob Rodgers, Canaveral Port Authority-Operations; Romeo Tran, Courtyard by Marriott, Cocoa Beach; Sandra Buehler, Holiday Inn, Titusville; Susana Clark, Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront; Sharon Schomaker, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Melbourne; Bob Socks, Titus ville Chamber of Commerce;  and Lhea Kelts, Residence Inn by Marriott, Melbourne. Back row( L-R )– Jack Houareau, Radisson Resort at the Port;  Christopher Cotton, Doubletree by Hilton, Cocoa Beach; Cesar Vera, International Palms Resort, Cocoa Beach; Stanley Francis, Best Western Hotel & Suites, Cocoa Beach; and Ron Larsson, Courtyard by Marriott, Melbourne. (Terry Wood from Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach was not available). (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

HOSPITALITY AWARD WINNERS: Left to right – Rob Rodgers, Canaveral Port Authority-Operations; Romeo Tran, Courtyard by Marriott, Cocoa Beach; Sandra Buehler, Holiday Inn, Titusville; Susana Clark, Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront; Sharon Schomaker, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Melbourne; Bob Socks, Titus ville Chamber of Commerce; and Lhea Kelts, Residence Inn by Marriott, Melbourne. Back row, left to right, Jack Houareau, Radisson Resort at the Port; Christopher Cotton, Doubletree by Hilton, Cocoa Beach; Cesar Vera, International Palms Resort, Cocoa Beach; Stanley Francis, Best Western Hotel & Suites, Cocoa Beach; and Ron Larsson, Courtyard by Marriott, Melbourne. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

“It is a special type of person who values making others happy above themselves and money,” said Garvey.

“I refer to this as having “a heart for hospitality. Yes, we have training programs which provide instruction and tools. But it all begins with the heart – the passion and commitment to serve others.”

As the name of each hospitality specialist was called, a video vignette produced by local Merritt Island High School students showed the energy and enthusiasm each bring to their work place.

Through the broad smiles came the satisfaction each receives from their work making the guest experience a great one.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Mark Grainger with Florida Air Tours; Astronaut Winston Scott;  Dr. Cantanese, President and CEO of FIT and Palm Bay Mayor William Capote. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

LEFT TO RIGHT: Mark Grainger with Florida Air Tours; Astronaut Winston Scott; Dr. Catanese, President and CEO of FIT and Palm Bay Mayor William Capote. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

“Our tourism business is booming and we have many programs that I want to share with you,” said Garvey.

“But for this update, I want to stop and stay focused on the great hospitality workforce we have here on the Space Coast. I’m reminded of the important work we do to continue to grow the tourism business to provide greater job opportunities for those with “a heart for hospitality.”

Garvey said in his remarks at the annual Space Coast Tourism Day Luncheon that “business is booming.”

He predicted that hotel room tax revenue will increase by 50 percent over the next four years. The 5 percent tax is collected on local hotel rooms and other short-term rentals.

Garvey said about three-quarters of that increase will be generated by additional stays at local hotels and the other one-quarter by increased enforcement of the collection of the tourism tax, such as those involving short-term rentals of condos.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Stan Budesa, Sales Director at Radisson at the Port; Matt Kent, General Manager of Best Western Hotel & Suites, Cocoa Beach; and Joe Panakia, General Manager of Radisson at the Port.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Stan Budesa, Sales Director at Radisson at the Port; Matt Kent, General Manager of Best Western Hotel & Suites, Cocoa Beach; and Joe Panakia, General Manager of Radisson at the Port.

He complimented Brevard County Tax Collector Lisa Cullen and her office for their enforcement efforts. Brevard County’s tourism tax revenue exceeded $10 million for the first time in the budget year ended Sept. 30.

Garvey expects the figure to top $15 million in the budget year that runs from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018.

Dave Spain, Comfort  Inn & Suites, Cocoa Beach; Wendy Ellis, Space Coast Advertising; Michelle Martindale, Comfort Inn & Suites, Cocoa Beach; and past TDC member Tom Wasdin. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

Dave Spain, Comfort Inn & Suites, Cocoa Beach; Wendy Ellis, Space Coast Advertising; Michelle Martindale, Comfort Inn & Suites, Cocoa Beach; and past TDC member Tom Wasdin. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)


Click here to contribute your news or announcements Free