Think back to the last time you had to travel any distance— your daily commute to work, a business trip to another city, or a fun adventure to parts unknown. If your experience was smooth and pleasurable, even if there were hiccups, it’s probably because the service employees on the front-lines of customer care went out of their way to make it that way.
Every year, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority (CVA) hosts the R.O.S.E. (Recognition Of Service Excellence) Awards ceremony to honor service-industry employees from the Region who go above and beyond for anyone traveling through Northwest Indiana.
“We think it’s really important to give people the recognition that don’t usually get that recognition— like servers as restaurants and housekeepers at hotels. It gives them a moment to shine, builds morale, and it’s something really positive to do for this area,” said Danielle Sparavalo, Special Events Coordinator for the South Shore CVA.
This year’s event, the 13th Annual R.O.S.E. Awards, was held at Teibel's Restaurant in Schererville Wednesday evening. Of the over 130 people nominated this year, 48 finalists were selected by an independent committee for going above and beyond in the line of duty. It was Sparavalo’s fourth year organizing the event.
“It’s great. I love it— it’s one of my favorite events of the year. People get super excited about it, just to see the smiles on everyone’s faces,” she said.
The ceremony recognized excellence in one of two categories— R.O.S.E. awards are given to customer-facing, non-managerial employees; and R.I.S.E (Recognition of Industry Success & Excellence) awards for which managerial employees and previous R.O.S.E. winners are eligible.
“I think that this is the finest night in our industry,” said Speros Batistatos, President and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.
“These are the people who make hospitality happen. This is the story of their greatness and what they do for the guests in our community,” Batistatos continued.
Before arriving for dinner, the finalists were surprised at work with notification of their selection and invited for a day of pampering. A limo transported them to the State of Mind spa in Crown Point, where they had their choice of professional hairstyling service, a massage, a manicure, or a pedicure.
The spa outing was an opportunity for R.O.S.E. Award-winner Adam Moskalick, Special Events Coordinator/Graphic Designer for the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, to enjoy his first-ever massage.
"It was pretty cool,” he said. "It really put me at ease."
Moskalick said he was completely surprised by his nomination and honored to be one of the chosen winners for his work.
"It is an incredibly cool job. I get to work with fabulous people,” he said. "What is the best is that I actually get to help people enjoy events to their fullest potential."
The 12 R.O.S.E winners and three R.I.S.E. winners selected from this group were announced and celebrated during the evening meal. In recognition of their success, each winner received a decorative cutting board with their name and award etched on the front. They also left with a gift basket containing over $1,300 in gifts, including White Sox tickets and certificates to local restaurants.
Reginald Robinson, Front Desk Agent at Hilton Garden Inn in Merrillville, said he was humbled just to be nominated. He was chosen as a R.O.S.E. Award winner because of his joyful dedication to his work.
"I love every single guest that comes in," Robinson said. "To be able to interact with people like that is amazing. I come from a family where my mother always taught me to love people no matter what. It's just part of who I am, so it comes easy."
The nomination process was open to the public and solicited through the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority website over the past year. Anyone that works in a service-related business in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper or Newton Counties was eligible for consideration.
Finalist Angela Douthitt, Housekeeper at the Hilton Garden Inn in Chesterton, and her entourage really enjoyed the event.
"It felt great. It was such a fun night with great food, great family and friends that I work with, so we had a great time," Douthitt said.
The 2019 R.I.S.E Award Winners were:
- Erica Hennings, Dual Rate Supervisor at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond
- Brian Holmes, Chief Hotel Engineer at Fairfield Inn & Suites in Fair Oaks
- Zachary Mazepa, Facilities Manager at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary
The 2019 R.O.S.E. Award Winners were:
- James Arnold, Sergeant with the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department
- Adam Moskalick, Special Events Coordinator/Graphic Designer at the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting
- Victoria Caper, Security Command Officer at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in East Chicago
- Aquishea Johnson, Player Services Representative at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in East Chicago
- Dorothy Armour, Housekeeper at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary
- David King, Table Games Lead Supervisor at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary
- Kathryn Arnold, Utility Worker at the Majestic Star Casino in Gary
- Carlos Amado, Valet Attendant at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond
- Anleather “Annie” Branson, Security Ambassador at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond
- Lynell Galloway, Environmental Cleaning Services Attendant at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond
- Jane Knox-Moore, Bartender at the Hilton Garden Inn in Merrillville
- Reginald Robinson, Guest Services Representative at the Hilton Garden Inn in Merrillville
The nomination process for the 2020 awards has already begun. If you know of someone that deserves a day of pampering and celebration in return for their exemplary service, visit www.rose-awards.com today to nominate them and show your gratitude.