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The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) has announced 50 Finalists for the upcoming 2022 Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence. 

 

The Howdy Awards, as they are also known, celebrate workers in visitor-facing roles across Western Mass who deliver outstanding guest service, create loyal customers for their businesses and help make a positive impact upon the region’s hospitality economy.  

 

“Every guest interaction is a chance to create quality customer service impressions, which reflect back on Western Mass as a region,” said Howdy Committee Chair Michael Hurwitz from Uno’s Pizzeria & Grill. “We’re tremendously proud to have so many outstanding, hard-working people on our visitor front lines. Customers come back when they are treated well and that’s why we originally created these awards in 1996. We want to recognize the hotel desk clerk who always has a pleasant smile, the food server who gets your order right every time or the bartender who always remembers your favorite beverage, because they’re the ones who create strong, positive reviews and memorable word of mouth impressions.”  

Hurwitz added that the 2022 awards will feature winners in categories including Accommodations, Food Casual, Food Tableside, Beverage, Public Service, Retail, Transportation, Attractions, Banquet, and People’s Choice. 

“Customer service has never been more important in the tourism sector,” said GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra. “With review apps like Yelp, Expedia and others playing such an important role in how businesses are perceived, it’s vital that customers feel they’ve been welcomed and treated well.” 

The 2022 Howdy Awards will be celebrated on May 16 at 6 p.m. at the MassMutual Center, and will also include the presentation of the Spotlight Award to Nate Costa and the Springfield Thunderbirds ownership group for keeping professional hockey in Western Mass. 

 

The 50 finalists are: 

Accommodations 

Felicia Fernandez, front desk clerk, Hampton Inn and Suites, Hadley; 

Austin Ginman, front desk agent, MGM Hotel, Springfield; 

GenesisRamos, front desk clerk, Residence Inn, Chicopee; and 

Felicia Laurin, housekeeping supervisor, The Inn on Boltwood, Amherst. 

 

Attractions 

David Dunston, show staff, Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield; 

Laura Litterer, owner, Full of Grace Farm, Hadley; 

Steve Ferraro, director of Operations, Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield; 

Sabrina Brizzolari, director of Event Services, Mass Mutual Center, Springfield;  

Gary Laprade, tour host, Sports Travel and Tours, Hatfield; 

Pearl Wesley, ranger, Springfield Armory, Springfield; and 

Sharon Ferrara, Welcome Center manager, Springfield Museums, Springfield.  

 

Banquets 

Shanique Fair, catering sales manager, MGM Springfield; 

Will Diaz, event planner, Log Cabin, Holyoke; and 

Brenda Lee Glanville, director of Sales & Marketing, Summit View Banquet House, Holyoke. 

 

Beverage 

Terry Ryan, bartender, Collins Tavern, West Springfield; 

Rob Dullea, bar manager, Fitzwilly’s, Northampton; 

Jessica Santinello, bartender, Maple Leaf, Westfield; 

Matthew Jerzyk, bartender, Max’s Tavern, Springfield; and 

Amanda Reed, bartender, the Ranch Pub House, Southwick 

 

Food Casual 

June Leduc, general manager, Delaney’s Market, Longmeadow;  

Silvana Cardaropoli, customer service, Palazzo’s, Springfield; 

Humberto Caro, manager, Starbuck’s, Monarch Place, Springfield; and 

Erica Rosado, breakfast attendant, Tru by Hilton, Chicopee. 

 

Food Tableside 

Kelsi Donohue, server, Bnapoli Italian, West Springfield; 

Donna  Nardi, server, Cal’s Restaurant, West Springfield; 

Matthew Canata, counter clerk, EB’s, Agawam; 

Darlene Robinson, server, Gregory’s Pizza, Wilbraham; 

Bernadette Beaudry, server, Johnny’s Roadside Diner, Hadley; 

Benny  Beans, server, Lattitude, West Springfield; 

Amy Silvestri, general manager, UNO’s Pizzeria & Grill, Springfield; and 

Michael Moriarty, server, Villa Napoletana, East Longmeadow. 

 

Public Service 

Serena Curley, concierge, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield; 

Latrina Haynie, phlebotomist, Baystate Lab, Springfield; 

January Russell, insurance agent, Bluestone Insurance/Horace Mann, Agawam; 

Heather Wyman, office manager, Cordes Orthodontics, Westfield; 

Paul Barden, Meals on Wheels, Greater Springfield Senior Services, Springfield; 

Tricia Zoly, nurse, Holyoke Council on Aging, Holyoke; and 

Harold Anderson, program director, Valley Eye Radio, Springfield. 

 

Retail 

Yates Greenhalgh, cashier, Big Y, Wilbraham; 

Kerri O’Connor, manager, Athleta, Longmeadow; 

Patrick Hamel, service advisor, Gary Rome Hyundai, Holyoke; 

Tiarra Henderson, framing specialist, Michael’s, West Springfield; 

Maria Lepage, sales and leasing consultant, Gary Rome Hyundai, Holyoke; 

Sabrina Pretti, customer service, Insa Inc., Easthampton; 

Carolyn Owens, cashier, Walgreen’s, Springfield; 

Janet Graves, retail sales associate, Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield; and 

Stephen Ross, sales associate, Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield  

 

Transportation 

Jose Guzman, valet parker, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield; 

Barbara Eckert, booth attendant, Civic Center Garage, Springfield; and 

Tom McLeer, PVTA bus driver, PVTA, Springfield 

 

The Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence are sponsored by Eastern States Exposition, Aladco Linen Services, Mass. Convention Center Authority, Freedom Credit Union, Performance Foodservice, People’s United Bank, MGM Springfield, MassMutual Center, Baystate Health, Yankee Candle Village, Modelo Especial, The Republican, MassLive, WWLP TV-22 and IHeart Media. 

 

The GSCVB, an affiliate of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass, is a private non-profit destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting Western Mass for meetings and conventions, group tours, sports and leisure travel.   

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — After a two-year delay caused by the pandemic, the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) announced that the 2022 Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence will be held on Monday, May 16 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

“We are both thrilled and confident that our event will go off smoothly in May,” GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra said. “After all the adversity our industry has endured and overcome since March 2020, we’re very eager and excited to salute the most welcoming, professional, and guest-friendly people in this region’s hospitality sector, as nominated by the very people they’ve impressed. And of course, we’ll be saluting our tremendous resilience and determination at the same time.”

The Howdy Awards were first celebrated in 1996, designed to acknowledge the essential role that superior customer service plays in creating positive visitor encounters, and encouraging return trips, glowing online reviews, and positive word of mouth. Thus, Wydra pointed out, the 2020 event would have formally marked the prestigious program’s 25th anniversary.

“Right now, we’re also making our final call for nominations,” she added. “Anyone can nominate a candidate who’s demonstrated outstanding customer service in the categories of Accommodations, Beverage, Attractions, Banquet, Food Casual, Food Tableside, Public Service, Retail, and Transportation. It’s easy to do on the GSCVB website, and we encourage people to make nominations in multiple categories; you are not limited to only one candidate.”

Nominations for the 2022 Awards must be received by Tuesday, March 1. Enter online at www.explorewesternmass.com/howdy-awards.

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