Maui Hospitality Workers Honored at Poʻe Paʻahana Awards
Hawai‘i’s hospitality industry honored the best-of-the-best of its employees at the 27th Annual Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana (the hard-working people) Awards.
Nearly a thousand employees, family members, and industry representatives from throughout the state gathered for the luncheon ceremony, which was sponsored by the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association and held at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort on Thursday.
A total of 14 awards were presented at the event, emceed by Hawaii State Senator Glenn Wakai, Senate Tourism Chair and HLTA Director of Communications Alexandra Roth.
Lisalani Baybayan, Regency Club Concierge at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, was awarded the Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year. Baybayan was recognized for her personal acts of aloha, which include crocheting luggage tags for guests and picking up mail boxes for guests without transportation, as well as volunteering with the Charity Walk for 25 years.
This year’s event introduced a new award for Restaurateur of the Year, which went to Roy Yamaguchi.
Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO, said, “Roy Yamaguchi has been a pioneer in developing and popularizing Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine, one of the key attractions for visitors to our shores. He has not only masterminded the growth of his restaurant empire in Hawai‘i, but expanded the Roy’s name across Asia and the mainland. Roy demonstrates that, with bold and creative leadership, we have much to offer the world in so many fields and that’s why we’re honoring him today. The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, which he helped co-found, has become a marquee culinary event that visitors and residents look forward to every year.”
This year’s Na Po‘e Paahana award winners and runners-up are as follows:
Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year
1st Place – Lisalani Baybayan, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
2nd Place – Alyssa Lende Kane, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
3rd Place – Rosie Newton, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
Manager of the Year
1st Place – Precy Burbano, Mauna Lani Hotel & Bungalows
2nd Place – Eric Au, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
3rd Place – Kenneth Duane Sparkman, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
Housekeeper of the Year
1st Place – Eddie Macoco, Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort and Spa
2nd Place – Nenilia Eugenio, Trump International Hotel Waikiki
3rd Place – Irene Abordo, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
Food & Beverage Person of the Year
1st Place – Mark Gonsalves, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
2nd Place – Yuen Nam Wong, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
3rd Place – Alona Watson, The Westin Ka‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas
Engineering/Maintenance Person of the Year
1st Place – Danny Chounramany, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
2nd Place – Myron Yamamoto, Mauna Lani Hotel & Bungalows
3rd Place – Michael Sakaida, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
Front Office Person of the Year
1st Place – Sherrie Smith, Waikiki Resort Hotel
2nd Place – Iwalani Segovia, Ala Moana Hotel
3rd Place – Nancy Jones, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Bell/Valet Person of the Year
1st Place – Kawika Maeda, Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
2nd Place – Ross Ramelb, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
3rd Place – Ernesto Cabrera, Maui Beach Hotel
Security Officer of the Year
1st Place – Jose Castellanos, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
2nd Place – Curtis Aiwohi, Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort and Spa
3rd Place – Jarrett Hew, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Allied Member of the Year
Oʻahu Publications, Inc. was named the Allied Member of the Year. The company was recognized as a valuable member of the HLTA for its support of Hawai‘i’s visitor industry and the community.
Leader in Sustainability Award
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, for their exemplary sustainability practices including innovative solutions to reducing the hotels energy and water usage.
Hospitality Educator of the Year
Jerry Agrusa, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, for his strong engagement with the HLTA and enduring support of Hawai‘i’s future hospitality leaders.
Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Legacy Award
Society of Seven, for playing an instrumental role in Hawaii’s visitor industry through the field of culture, arts, and entertainment for 5 decades.
Woman of the Year Award
Barbara Campbell, Outrigger Enterprises Group, for her leadership within the hospitality industry, community and HLTA’s Women in Lodging & Tourism committee.
Restaurateur of the Year
Roy Yamaguchi, for his significant contributions to Hawai‘i’s culinary industry and the community.
Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO, said, “We’re very proud to recognize the people who are the heart and soul of our visitor industry. They number in the tens of thousands across the state, and those we’re saluting today represent the finest among them. I’ve said many times before that while visitors are attracted by the four Ss—sun, sand, sea, and surf—it’s really another S, the spirit of aloha, that makes the greatest impression on people. The Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana honorees embody the aloha spirit at work and in the community, and we owe them a tremendous debt for their contributions to the success of our industry.”
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.
The Allied Member of the Year was Oʻahu Publications Inc. “Through the strong leadership of its President & Publisher Dennis Francis, OPI has been an outstanding advocate of the state’s number one industry. They understand that tourism is an industry that we can’t take for granted and they have been at the forefront in advocating for solutions to combat homelessness, ” said Hannemann. “As an active member of HLTA, OPI’s numerous publications have covered the HLTA’s events and achievements on every island in the state, including the Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Awards, Charity Walk, Citizen-Scholar Awards, and General Membership Meeting. They are also a partner in both HLTA’s Annual Citizen-Scholar Awards and Hospitality Industry Pau Hana (HIP) events, and have participated in countless community service events with the association.
The recipient of the HLTA Women in Lodging & Tourism Hawai‘i Chapter’s Woman of the Year award was also announced at the ceremony. Barbara Campbell, Vice President of Retail Development and Leasing for Outrigger Enterprises Group, received the honor.