Maui Hotel Workers Take Home Six First Place Honors at Nā Po‘e Pa‘ahana Awards

January 10, 2020, 3:41 PM HST · Updated January 10, 3:41 PM
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Kirk Togashi (in lavender aloha shirt), along with fellow finalists Kanika “Nikki” Utley and Lester Tanabe on the left. Behind them are HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann and HTLA At Large Chairman of the Board, Mike Jokovich, General Manger of the Andaz Hotel.

The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association recognized six hotel workers from various Maui properties who all won first place at the Hawaiʻi Tourism & Lodging Association’s Nā Poʻe Paʻahana Awards this week.

The event is known throughout the visitor industry as the “Grammy” event for hotel workers.

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Maui employees earned the following first place honors:

  • Kirk Togashi, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, for Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year;
  • Tylun Pung, Fairmont Kea Lani, for Chef/Restauranteur of the Year;
  • Gladee Kaiwi, Westin Maui Resort & Spa, for Front Office Person of the Year (Large Properties);
  • Gemsley Balagso, Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, for Food & Beverage Person of the Year (Medium Properties);
  • Mundy Gillcoat, Westin Kāʻanapali Ocean Resort Villas, for Engineer & Maintenance Person of the Year (Large Properties); and
  • Kyle “Kalani” Tihada, Nāpili Kai Beach Resort, for Engineer & Maintenance Person of the Year (Small Properties).

This year’s event was held on Thursday, Jan. 9 at the Coral Ballroom at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, where more than 1,000 visitor industry employees gathered to cheer on their co-workers.

“Mahalo to the HTLA for their support and recognition of our industry with this event and to all visitor industry employees who work so diligently all year round,” said MHLA executives.

Gemsley Balagso (in pink shirt), with fellow finalists Jacob Brown on the left and Justyn Wee on the right, with HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann and HTLA At Large Chairman of the Board, Mike Jokovich, General Manger of the Andaz Hotel behind them.

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