Maui Hospitality Industry Employees Earn Top Honors

January 27, 2016, 5:23 PM HST · Updated February 1, 2:01 PM
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(Left to right) Mufi Hannemann, HLTA President & CEO; Heidi Michel-Bunyard, second place winner in the Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year category; Emily Arcangel, first place winner for Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year; Celena Burkhart, third place winner for Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year; and Ben Rafter, HLTA chairperson. Photo courtesy HLTA.

(Left to right) Mufi Hannemann, HLTA President & CEO; Heidi Michel-Bunyard, second place winner in the Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year category; Emily Arcangel, first place winner for Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year; Celena Burkhart, third place winner for Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year; and Ben Rafter, HLTA chairperson. Photo courtesy HLTA.

The Hawai‘i’s hospitality industry’s 26th Annual Nā Poʻe Paʻahana Awards honored its outstanding employees today—including five recipients from Maui resorts.

Nearly a thousand employees, family members and industry representatives from throughout the state gathered for the luncheon ceremony for the “the hard-working people” awards , which was sponsored by the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association and held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

“The Nā Poʻe Paʻahana Awards give us the opportunity to recognize and thank the individuals and organizations that contribute to the success of the hospitality industry,” said Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the HLTA. “We just marked our fourth consecutive year of record-breaking visitor arrivals and spending, an achievement attributable to the exceptional service provided by the men and women we honor today. Their aloha spirit and professionalism are what make us what we are—one of the greatest destinations in the world, year after year.”

Twelve awards were presented at the event, which was emceed by television broadcasters Steve Uehara and Grace Lee of Hawaii News Now.

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(Left to right) Ben Rafter, HLTA chairperson); Emily Arcangel, 2016 Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year; and Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO. HLTA photo.

(Left to right) Ben Rafter, HLTA chairperson); Emily Arcangel, 2016 Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year; and Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO. HLTA photo.

Emily Arcangel, Regency Club concierge at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, received the top honor as the Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year.

Arcangel was selected as the winner based on her dedication to making guests feel at home at the resort, consistently going above and beyond her duties to enhance the guest experience. She’s also active in serving the community through programs such as A Keiki’s Dream, Relay for Life and Susan B. Komen Maui Paddle.

“Mālama is Emily’s core value that she constantly lives with every day,” said her supervisor, Michael Lanzo, guest services manager. “She demonstrates this by taking care of guests before, during, and after departure. She’s even offered her home to guests to ‘weather out’ numerous tsunamis and hurricane scares. Emily is very deserving of this honor.”

Heidi Michel-Bunyard of the The Westin Maui Resort was the second-place award recipient for Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year.

Crystal Lei Lane of The Westin Maui Resort and Spa received first place in the Manager of the Year
category.

Ryan Banaag of the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa received the third place Engineering/Maintenance Person of the Year award.

Third place in the Security Officer of the Year category went to Jayson Rondal of the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort on Maui.

Recipients of HLTA’s accolades are selected based on nominations submitted by their supervisors and co-workers, and are judged on the basis of outstanding and exceptional service to lodging guests, co-workers, and the community.

Na Poe Paahana Award Winners and Runners-Up

Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year
First Place: Emily Arcangel, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
Second Place: Heidi Michel-Bunyard, The Westin Maui Resort
Third Place: Celena Burkhart, Trump International Hotel

Manager of the Year
First Place: Crystal Lei Lane, The Westin Maui Resort and Spa
Second Place: Deborah Crippen, Lawai Beach Resort
Third Place: Susan Smith, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

Housekeeper of the Year
First Place: Kin Tam, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa
Second Place: Michelle Camit, Turtle Bay Resort
Third Place: Janet Li, Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club

Food & Beverage Person of the Year
First Place: Laurence San Juan, Halekulani
Second Place: Norman Nakasone, Sheraton Waikiki
Third Place: Jacob Cordeiro, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Engineering/Maintenance Person of the Year
First Place: Douglas McCracken, Sheraton Waikiki
Second Place: Stacey Agcaoili, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa
Third Place: Ryan Banaag, Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa

Front Office Person of the Year
First Place: Pamela Keppler, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
Second Place: Shermaine Salazar-Hunter, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa
Third Place: Skye Litsey, Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber

Bell/Valet Person of the Year
First Place: Lowell Sandborn, Sheraton Waikiki
Second Place: Wesley Yamamoto, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Third Place: Troy Hiura, Outrigger Waikiki

Security Officer of the Year
First Place: John Pirtle, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Second Place: Jason Kahoaka, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa
Third Place: Jayson Rondal, Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Allied Member of the Year
Alamo Rent a Car, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and National Car Rental were named the Allied Members of the Year. The companies were recognized as valuable members of the HLTA for their support of Hawaii’s visitor industry and the community.

New Awards for 2016

This year’s event revealed three new Na Poe Paahana Awards in the areas of sustainability, education and legacy.

“This year, we introduced three awards to reflect the broad and diverse influence of the hospitality industry,” said Hannemann. “Yes, our employees are the heart and soul of tourism, but there are so many others who contribute in different but no less significant ways, and these are the people and organizations we wanted to celebrate through these honors.

“The Leader in Sustainability Award is for leadership in preserving our environment, conserving energy, and other areas that enhance the islands’ natural beauty,” Hannemann continued. “Hospitality Educator of the Year is to recognize the teachers and professors who are giving young people the tools and knowledge they need to enjoy great careers in the hospitality industry here and elsewhere. The Legacy Award is for someone who has had a lasting impact on our industry, by dint of his or her contributions to or representation of the Hawaiian Islands.”

Leader in Sustainability Award: Turtle Bay Resort
Hospitality Educator of the Year: Todd Nakayama, Waipahu High School
Na Poe Paahana Legacy Award: Don Ho

The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association is a statewide organization representing hotels, condominiums, timeshares, other lodging entities, suppliers, and related firms and individuals. HLTA is dedicated to supporting Hawaii’s visitor industry through education, political action, and membership benefits, and raising awareness about its contributions to communities throughout the state.

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