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Michigan Recognizes Hospitality Stars of the Industry 2022

By Kathy Gibbons

Michigan hospitality industry professionals were recognized by the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) for being top leaders during its annual Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner held recently at St. John’s Resort in Plymouth.

“It’s a wonderful occasion to be able to celebrate the achievements of some of the finest in our industry,” says MRLA President and CEO Justin Winslow. “These individuals have made an impact on the guest experience, their coworkers, and respective organizations.”

The awards are designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate professionalism and creativity while going above and beyond to contribute to a positive image of the state’s hospitality industry. Honorees are nominated by their peers and must have been employed in the hospitality industry for at least two years and working for a restaurant, hotel, or other supporting business that is an MRLA member. A panel of industry leaders selected the 2022 winners. 

Joe Raimi of Project BarFly-HopCat was chosen to receive the Hospitality Star of the Year award, bestowed on a visionary owner or general manager who has maintained high standards of hospitality over his or her career. Raimi was chosen for his dedication to the industry, expertise, and focus on striking a balance between property and staff investment and long-term profits and viability.

Other awards are as follows:

North Star: Employee of the Year: Scott Firman, Grand Traverse Resort & Spa

Restaurant Manager of the Year: DJ Atkins, Restaurant Partners Management Group

General Manager of the Year: Stefanie Congdon,The Landmark Inn

Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year: Elayna Creed, State Room MSU

Women in Hospitality Leadership: Rachel Conley, JK&T Wings

Heart of the House: Raul Brito, Mission Point Resort

CVB Star of the Year: Experience Grand Rapids

Sustainability Recognition Award: Alexis Stand, Zingerman’s Creamery

Guest Relations Hotel Star of the Year: Frank Silsbee, Sleep Inn & Suites

Front of the House Restaurant Star of the Year: Jessica Wilterink, Anna’s House

Bartender Star of the Year: Michael Bryan, AHC Hospitality 

Engineering & Operations Star of the Year: Sean Gray, Saint John’s Resort

Room Attendant Star of the Year: Lisa Green, DoubleTree by Hilton Port Huron

Sales and Marketing Star of the Year: Jillian Rop, 6PM Hospitality

Resort of the Year: Hotel Walloon

HR Professionals of the Year: Missy Williams and Brianna Wesley, Suburban Inns

Allied Partner Award: Adesso