Lodging association honors hospitality workers with annual Black Diamond Awards
After receiving a Black Diamond Award, the only word Lennox Smith could use to describe how he was feeling was “surprised.” But based on the big smile on his face, Smith was also very happy.
Smith is a server at Stein Eriksen Lodge, and he was one of eight people in the hospitality industry honored during the Park City Area Lodging Association’s annual Black Diamond Awards. The association hosted the ceremony at the Chateaux Deer Valley on Thursday. It holds the event to show appreciation to all workers who make Park City the popular ski destination it is, said Ron Neville, president of the association.
Smith won the Food and Beverage Front of House Award. The other winners were Davon Robinson, Lodging Front of House; Nick Basso, Lodging Back of House; Fatima Taylor, Housekeeper of the Year; Collin Wilkison, Food and Beverage Back of House; Alexander Mattinson, Manager of the Year; and Ski Butlers, Vendor of the Year.
The association also awarded its Double Black Diamond Award to Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau. As the audience gave a standing ovation to Malone, Chris Eggleton, former president of the association, said the award is given to someone in the community that has had a long-standing impact in the tourism sector.
Malone has led the Chamber/Bureau for 19 years, including in the years leading up to and during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Dan Howard, director of communications for the Chamber/Bureau, said Malone is a mentor to everyone in the tourism industry in Park City and he is committed to promoting the town inside and out of work.
Malone, like most of the award winners, was shocked when his name was called. After the event, he said he was honored to be recognized by the hospitality industry. He said Park City’s tourism industry is made up of a collection of hard-working people, and that the award is “affirmation of what (the Chamber/Bureau) staff does every day.”
“My job is pretty easy. I get the opportunity to close my door and do work sometimes, but those people don’t,” Malone said, referring to the other honorees. “They are on the front lines all the time. It is impressive to be recognized along with people like that.”
Neville said the event puts people from all parts of the hospitality industry on a stage together — from butlers to maintenance teams to Chamber/Bureau presidents — to remind people that everyone is valuable. He enjoys having the opportunity to recognize impressive employees.
During the awards ceremony, the employees’ managers and coworkers told stories about them going the extra mile with guests, such as setting up a Christmas tree in a guest room and providing a unique guest experience for a bachelorette party.
Basso, equipment specialist for Silverado Lodge, received an award because he helps with maintenance problems at all hours of the day, and he even dug through the trash once to find something a guest lost.
Basso said after the event that being available all the time is part of the job. It can be stressful, but he enjoys working somewhere that people come from far away to visit.
“It’s what we do on a daily basis, keeping guests happy and just doing the job,” he said.
Smith, who has worked as a server in Park City for 16 years, also said he just tries to do his job the best he can. He was grateful to have the work he puts in every day recognized by the entire hospitality industry in Park City.
“I’ve been in this town for a long time and I know the quality of service that everyone provides,” he said. “For me to come out the winner, I’m just overwhelmed.”
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