17 named 2019 Lexington Hospitality Award recipients

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - VisitLEX has announced the 17 people who are recipients of the 2019 Lexington Hospitality Awards.

The awards go to workers in Lexington's hospitality industry. VisitLEX says the $2 billion local industry employs tens of thousands from around the area.

"Right here in Lexington we employ about 15,500 people and in the contiguous counties, we're up to about 25,000 in terms of people that we employ," VisitLEX president Mary Quinn Ramer said.

The awards go with those who have positive interactions with visitors to make them feel welcome.

"They're working hard every single day to make sure that our visitors' needs are met and we just want to make sure that we take a few minutes to say thank you back to them for their passion and their commitment and their service," Ramer said.

Deirdre Lyons and Mark Lyons received the #SharetheLEX Award for their dedication toward Lexington tourism. Below is a list of the award recipients with details on their professions from VisitLEX.

  • Jerod Smith, tour guide at Wilderness Trail Distillery, who has an ability to take all of his knowledge and present it in a way that can be used by a novice or the most hardened expert;

  • Kim Standifur with TownePlaceSuites by Marriott, who comes to work each day with a bright smile on her face and is a trusted advisor for our guests;

  • Brianne Sharp, with Godolphin, LLC, who wears many hats but also serves as an excellent tour guide that is never done until the last visitor leaves and is determined to provide the best tour possible;

  • Patricia Payne, volunteer usher and ticket-taker at Lexington Opera House - Broadway Live, who creates special memories for guests at their selfie booth;

  • Marian Spencer, a 38-year employee at Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa who has dedicated her career to taking care of the wonderful travelers who visit Lexington and the hotel;

  • Pam Randolph, volunteer with Carlisle-Nicholas County Tourism, who goes above and beyond what is expected by doing everything from preparing meals to construction and maintenance on the Jailer’s Home;

  • Lee Cowherd, tour guide at Buffalo Trace Distillery, who goes out of his way to provide each distillery visitor with an enjoyable and memorable experience with his passion for sharing all things Buffalo Trace;

  • Carly Moulden, part of the hospitality team at Taylor Made Farms, who makes sure no detail is forgotten for their events and makes guests feel right at home;

  • Stanley Sobotka, a more than 31-year employee at The Campbell House Curio Collection by Hilton, who lives and breathes the hotel and frequently has guests ask specifically for his assistance;

  • Jeanna Epping, with Carson's Food and Drink, who has made a tremendous impact on their happy hour and bar crowd dynamic;

  • Jennifer Mason, with DV8 Kitchen, who lights up the room, is fast on her feet, sweet and is willing to clean up after any messy kid, all while experiencing a few personal trials;

  • Mack Hurt, who was first a cook at the Red Mile and was so loved they nicknamed their kitchen “Mack’s Snack Shack in his honor. In a later role in the security department, he greets guests with a contagious smile and makes everyone’s day a bit brighter;

  • Richard Thacker, night audit clerk at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lexington Downtown Area / Keeneland, who works an especially difficult position and is graceful in the toughest situations and has a natural teaching ability;

  • Maria Mejia, housekeeper at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lexington Downtown Area / Keeneland, who never fails to provide thorough and efficient service for guests;

  • Carrie Ellis, with Residence Inn Lexington South Hamburg Place, who is always willing to fill-in where needed and takes on additional tasks that other departments give her with a happy and eager attitude;

  • Nellie He, server at Bella Notte, who leads by example and has developed long standing friendships with many of her guests who often request her each time they visit;

  • Zhanna Khoury with DoubleTree Suites, who actively listens to the concerns of guests and is instrumental in driving guest satisfaction scores.

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