Park City Area Lodging Association honors hospitality industry
Award winners are ‘The heart and soul of our community’
January 6, 2017
The first year the Park City Area Lodging Association held its Black Diamond Awards ceremony in 2015, officials were pleased to draw a crowd of about 125.
Two years later, that number more than doubled in the third iteration of the event, which was held Wednesday afternoon at Stein Eriksen Lodge. Greg Gendron, the association's president, said that is further proof the community is eager to honor the workers who go above and beyond to polish Park City's reputation as a haven of hospitality.
"We're really proud," he said. "We set this up to recognize individuals not only within the hospitality industry but within the greater Park City lodging community that typically wouldn't be recognized. You can't really go wrong in recognizing the people in the community that are on the front lines and behind the scenes. … So the success has been great."
Gendron said about 65 people were nominated for awards, and all were deserving. Whittling down the field to seven winners was a challenge for the committee tasked with wading through the nominations.
"The heart and soul of our community are these individuals," he said. "Some of them are international employees, some of them have been in the hospitality for 30 years. These are the people that are in the trenches, who make the rest of us look good — the rest of us meaning the whole entire town."
Ultimately, he said, said the winners stood out for their service to the community. They are as follows: Lodging Front of House, Patty Smith, Vail Resorts; Lodging Back of House, Gatete Theoneste, Montage Deer Valley; Food and Beverage Front of House, Jason Berrett, Stein Eriksen Lodge; Food and Beverage Back of House, Scott Lewis, The Farm Restaurant; Manager of the Year, Jessica Rodrigues, Deer Valley Resort; Vendor of the Year, Sarah Pearce, Sundance Institute; Double Black Diamond Award, Kim McClelland, Deer Valley Resort Lodging.
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McClelland, in particular, has devoted years to making Park City shine, Gendron said. The Double Black Diamond Award is given to someone who has most inspired people for the betterment of the area's hospitality industry. Attendees gave McClelland, director of lodging operations at Deer Valley Resort, a standing ovation when he was announced as the winner.
"He checked all the boxes that anyone could ever ask," Gendron said. "He's worked with the state on the Life Elevated campaign, he's been a past president of the (Park City Chamber/Bureau), a past president of the lodging association. I think everyone in the room was pretty confident that he was the right guy. Kim has done a lot, not only for this town but the individuals in this town."
In future years, Gendron would like to see even more people get nominated for awards because Park City's success takes the best efforts of hundreds of people. But he also said there's no reason to wait for the awards ceremony to honor them. He encouraged Parkites and visitors to express their gratitude for their hard work throughout the year — that's the spirit the awards are hoping to represent.
"If there was any call to action, it would be that, in the years to come, you don't have to wait until next year because we only do it once a year," he said. "Any time you see someone that's worthy of praise, make sure you stop and take the time to do that."