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ORLANDO, FLA.—On Saturday, December 11, at a black-tie holiday gala, the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association (CFHLA) presented Marty Belz, president and chairman of the Peabody Hotel Group, with the 2010 CFHLA “Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award for Community Leadership.” Each year, this prestigious award is given to a local leader for their contribution to tourism through community service. This award is the “highest honor” bestowed upon an individual by CFHLA, in recognition of their achievements and contributions to the Central Florida hospitality industry, as well as the community at large. The award is named after the founding father of CFHLA, Charles Andrews, and exemplifies perseverance and dedication to a cause.
TORONTO—Gap Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip recently announced the appointment of ecotourism industry veteran Megan Epler Wood as director of Planeterra, the global nonprofit dedicated to sustainable community development through travel and voluntourism. Epler Wood will share duties with newly named associate director Paula Vlamings. “I have known Megan for many years and have such deep respect for her and for her commitment and leadership in defining and building on her vision for sustainable travel,” says Poon Tip. “She is the best person on Earth to lead Planeterra and expand its programs’ influence.” Epler Wood takes over duties from Richard G. Edwards, who led Planeterra through a two-year period that saw the organization double in both size and in its resulting impact on communities around the world.
LEAVENWORTH, WASH.—The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that works to protect wildlife habitats across the globe, recently honored Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort owner and CEO Harriett Bullitt at the group’s 50th anniversary gala in late October. The Conservancy recognized Bullitt and 18 other “Conservation Heroes” including Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and former Washington state governor Mike Lowry. The event also featured famed anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall as the evening’s guest speaker. Goodall spoke of the 50 years since her first visit in 1960 to the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania to study primates and the importance of continued conservation efforts. “Harriet Bullitt knocks holes in the walls that separate us,” said Eliot Scull, a member of the Conservancy’s Washington board.
LAS VEGAS—Earlier in her career, when she was specializing in accounting and finance, Katarina Tesarova never imagined she would end up working in a position having to do with sustainability. Today, Tesarova can proudly say she led the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification process for CityCenter, the largest private development in the United States. She was responsible for the LEED compliance process during the four years of design and construction. The $8.6 billion development has since earned six LEED Gold certifications, making it the largest new construction LEED certified project in the world. When starting with MGM Resorts International in 2005, Tesarova’s previous experience in hospitality was working for a small international travel company.
LAGUNA BEACH, CALIF.—Montage Hotels & Resorts announced that Hermann Elger has been appointed general manager of Montage Beverly Hills. Last year, the hotel earned Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for New Construction rating system. “We’re thrilled to welcome Hermann to Montage Hotels & Resorts,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder and CEO, Montage Hotels & Resorts. “His international experience in luxury hotel management and genuine passion to deliver memorable and extraordinary guest experiences made him a natural fit for this position.” During his time with The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, the property was the company’s most acclaimed resort; it still holds the distinction of being the world’s only AAA rated, three-time Five Diamond resort. Elger is a graduate of the University of Denver School of Hotel Management.
SILVER SPRING, MD.—Lodging franchisor Choice Hotels International, Inc. announced that its president and CEO Stephen P. Joyce is the 2010 Community Partner Award recipient from ServiceSource, Inc. for his charitable efforts directly benefiting the organization’s Foundation. ServiceSource, Inc. is a regional not-for-profit organization that provides employment and rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities and, in turn, the affiliated ServiceSource Foundation works to raise money in support of the people and programs at ServiceSource and its affiliate organizations. Joyce received this prestigious award because of his involvement and leadership as a founding member of the Foundation. “I am honored to receive the Community Partners Award from the ServiceSource Foundation,” Joyce said. “I have been involved with ServiceSource for many years and am incredibly grateful for the great work the organization does.”
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—Hawaii is a long way from White Plains, New York, headquarters of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, but that is the distance Jennifer Bauchner traveled to take on the role of director, rooms and sustainability, North America Operations for Starwood. Bauchner, who is the first person at Starwood to have her current title, previously worked in several management positions at two resort properties in Hawaii. Bauchner has been instrumental in helping Starwood not only launch a Sustainable Meetings Practices program (to be rolled out globally in 2011) but also an aggressive plan to reduce energy and water consumption at every one of Starwood’s 1,000 hotels by 2020. Specifically, Starwood is targeting a 30 percent reduction in energy use per available room and a 20 percent decrease in water consumption per available room.
PORTLAND, MAINE—If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Peter Cooke has good reason to be pleased with his work with Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection. In creating their own state green lodging certification programs, at least seven states and two cities have borrowed from the Maine Green Lodging Certification Program that Cooke runs. What makes Maine’s program attractive is its simplicity—it is points based—and the fact that so much research has gone into developing the criteria for inclusion. Maine is also the only state green lodging certification program in the United States to actually measure yearly savings and reductions in environmental impact connected to program participation.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK—During the busy summer season, when 3 million people visit Yellowstone National Park, Xanterra Parks & Resorts’ Beth Pratt oversees the environment-related training of approximately 3,000 employees. During the winter season, that number drops to 300. No matter the time of the year, however, the director, environmental affairs has her work cut out for her. She also oversees the other green initiatives at the national park that has nine hotels, 17 foodservice facilities, three stables, a marina, 13 retail stores and a fleet of hundreds of vehicles.
NEW YORK—Having grown up in Holland, a place Cecile Epperson describes as a leader in environmental awareness, she has always been mindful of recycling and energy and water conservation. “It is a way of life there,” she says. “We bicycled everywhere.” As director of wellness and sustainability at The New York Palace Hotel, one of the world’s finest hotels, Epperson gets to share her enthusiasm for environmental responsibility with 1,000 employees from more than 85 countries. She has had her title since October 2009.
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