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LAS VEGAS—December is going to be a busy month for Michele Diener, director of corporate sustainability strategies for MGM Mirage. It is then when most of the company’s 18-million-square-foot CityCenter complex will open, attracting tens of thousands more visitors to the Las Vegas Strip. CityCenter, which includes hotels including the Vdara Hotel, Mandarin Oriental, ARIA Resort & Casino, and The Harmon, has already earned four LEED Gold certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council.
BERLIN, GERMANY—J.W. (Bill) Marriott, Jr., chairman and CEO of Marriott International, has been named the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 13th annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF), scheduled for March 8 to 10, 2010, at the InterContinental Berlin, Germany. The IHIF Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made a difference in the hospitality industry by their actions, deeds, and accomplishments. Marriott has made an indelible mark with his commitment to environmental preservation.
The Betsy Hotel has named Dr. Deborah Briggs as vice president for philanthropy to provide strategic and operational leadership for the hotel's community-conscious efforts, that will, in the words of Jonathan Plutzik, chairman and principal partner, “build our business and make the world a better place.” As a proven leader and social entrepreneur with almost 30 years of experience bridging profit and nonprofit business, Briggs takes on the role of charitable giver and community activist in the name of The Betsy and its growing family of global guests.
TORONTO—As manager of environmental affairs for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, Sarah Dayboll has been instrumental in helping to expand the company’s Green Partnership Program. The program, which historically has emphasized energy and water conservation, waste management and community outreach, has expanded with the measurement and reduction of CO2 emissions. Fairmont has set a goal of reducing its CO2 emissions by 20 percent, when compared to 2006 levels, by 2013.
BOSTON—As director of green for The Lenox hotel and the other properties that the Saunders Hotel Group manages, Elaine Strunk is in an enviable position. The family she works for has led the lodging industry’s effort to go green for two decades, winning multiple awards along the way. Owner and manager support is a given and Strunk gets to work in a team-based environment where sustainability is part of the culture. In fact, whereas most green hotels have just one green team, The Lenox hotel where she is based has two.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE—Embassy Suites Hotels, the national brand of upscale, all-suite hotels, has honored David Hansen, chief engineer of the Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe Hotel & Ski Resort, with the company’s Spirit of Embassy Award. This award designates Hansen as a top performer within Embassy Suites Hotels. Nominated by their peers because of exemplary loyalty, attitude and service, Spirit of Embassy Award winners continually exceed expectations of both customers and fellow team members.
AUSTIN, TEXAS—The Crossings, Austin’s premier green destination and wellness spa, has named Alan Goldschneider as its new general manager. An accomplished and award-winning professional, Goldschneider brings more than three decades of experience in the hospitality industry. His wealth of expertise in opening and transitioning luxury properties has consistently earned them rankings among Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 100 destinations.
ORLANDO, FLA.—Orlando hotelier Harris Rosen was recently honored with a Legacy Award, Sustainable Florida’s highest honor, during the organization’s 11th Annual Best Practices Awards held at Rosen Shingle Creek last month. Sustainable Florida, a program of the Collins Center, is a public-private alliance of organizations and businesses that promote sustainable best management practices—those which protect and preserve Florida’s environment.
LAGUNA BEACH, CALIF.—As director of sustainability at Montage Hotels & Resorts, Mark Slymen oversees all sustainable development and operational practices at the young but growing company. Montage, which focuses on the development of ultra-luxury properties, recently earned LEED Gold certification for its Beverly Hills hotel. Working in tandem with a consulting firm, Slymen recently oversaw the process that led up to the LEED designation.
SEATTLE—When one thinks of sustainability and hotels, it is certainly not the sales department that first comes to mind. Molly Ray, manager, sustainable partnerships and senior sales manager for Kimpton Hotels Seattle, is proving, however, that by making a commitment to sustainability, one can not only sustain sales volume but grow it as well. Ray is the architect of Kimpton’s Sustainable Partnership Program (KSP).
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