Each year, the Colorado tourism industry nominates tourism employees to be recognized as Outstanding Frontline Tourism Workers in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. These nominees are people who do an outstanding job of welcoming visitors to our state and providing them with the best experiences possible. The Colorado Tourism Office and tourism industry would like to thank and recognize these 2017 Outstanding Frontline Tourism Workers for their dedication and hard work in attracting visitors to Colorado.
Mary "Maym" Cunningham
Trial Director for the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials
Maym has served as Trial Director for the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials since 2010, which culminates her life experience and passions. The Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials is in its 31st year, attracting more than 6,000 visitors and competitors worldwide. Backed by the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Board and a group of dedicated volunteers, Maym uses her talents to intertwine visitors, competitors and volunteers, making the trials a unique experience for not only the ones involved but for the Meeker community. Her lens is personal, her perspective authentic, which make Maym an advocate and champion for promoting cultural tourism and life in the west. After all, it’s who she is.
Director of Community Building and Farm Operations, Jessup Farms, Fort Collins
An average week for Anne includes multiple tours showcasing all Jessup Farms has to offer, managing all operational aspects of the farm and hosting events focused on agriculture and community interest. Her enthusiasm shines through as she shares details and answers questions, often gaining a new volunteer or organizational partner in the process. Her ability to welcome and educate is extraordinary. Ann is also Executive Director for Sproutin’ Up, which creates community gardens and provides fresh produce to under-resourced families in Fort Collins. She weaves agriculture and hospitality together seamlessly.
Colorado Welcome Center Travel Counselor (Volunteer)
Emma Hicks has volunteered for the CWC since before its doors even opened. She was volunteering while the WC was operating out of the Old Town Barn, prior to receiving its official designation and opening in 1988. She greets every person with kindness and enthusiasm. She has a tremendous amount of Colorado knowledge and is dedicated to helping visitors have a wonderful experience. It is hard to imagine a better suited recipient of “frontline” work than a woman who has dedicated 30 years of time to Colorado tourism.
Coordinator for the Logan County Visitor Center, Secretary/Treasurer for Northeast Colorado Travel Region & Entertainment Coordinator Logan County Fair
Marilee has hosted several FAM tours from welcome centers all over the state; welcomed an average of 80,000 annual visitors; given more than 500 hours of service to NCTR in meetings and represented the region at tradeshows, expos and festivals; and has spent countless hours working with the fair board. She understands the benefits of promoting the entire northeast region and was instrumental in partnering with Colorado Life magazine to have the brand-new travel guide “Venture to Northeast Colorado” published. She continually has wonderful ideas on how to better market Logan County and the region.
Visitors Center Manager, City of Loveland
Gary treats each person that walks through the Loveland Visitors Center as if they are the most important person to have walked through the door, whether it’s a guest, volunteer or delivery person. He asks people what their names are and where they are from, inquires about their plans in Loveland so he can gather information for them, makes phone calls to help them book a stay or find hours for a restaurant, and so much more. He takes pride in his role and goes beyond his duties to make each person leave Loveland with wonderful memories. Visitors frequently send emails with their stories and gratitude for Gary making their visit so wonderful and memorable.
Front Office Associate, Holiday Inn Steamboat Springs
In spite of his young age, Brandon is well-traveled and always improves his education, he is currently finishing his Associate Degree in Business at CMC, Alpine Campus. His enthusiasm for the outdoors and fly-fishing, in particular, allow him to entertain guests with anecdotes and appreciation for their life stories. Nothing is too much trouble for Brandon when it comes to guests and their special needs, even after a long day at the front desk, he always goes the extra mile and volunteers for any special requests placed on him by guests, his peers and management. Brandon gets mentioned the most often in guest reviews and is deserving of the recognition to be an exemplary hospitality frontline member.
Lead Park Ranger, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Nick has helped establish an exceptional visitor experience at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. He played a key role in achieving the Black Canyon’s designation as an International Dark Sky Park and enhancing the annual Black Canyon Astronomy Festival — two developments that entice people from around the world to experience the astronomical crown over the canyon. Nick hires, trains, leads and coaches the frontline staff of park rangers at Black Canyon, helping them be at the top of their game for assisting visitors and always seeks to find a message for visitors that will help them discover their own deep relationship with Black Canyon and the surrounding region. Nick brings his other park experiences, from Everglades to Yellowstone, into play to be a leader in the service to people who travel through Colorado and across the globe to get here.
Driver, GO Alpine, Steamboat Springs
GO Alpine believes their service makes a large impression on visitors during the arrival and departure of their vacation experiences. Ted is an airport-shuttle driver during the winter season and has been a valued employee of the company for 11 years. Once customers have been dropped off at their destination, they receive a text that allows them to rate their ride. Ted receives the greatest amount of “Excellent” driver ratings and the most comments. GO Alpine is truly honored to have an employee like Ted representing their company, providing exceptional customer service to all of his passengers.
Lead Cashier, Glenwood Hot Springs
Trish is the friendly face that greets guests and is a role model for the employees she oversees. Her positive attitude and solution-oriented style make her indispensable — a team player in every sense. She has cross-trained in nearly every department. She is the first point of contact with guests. Her personal motto is to provide the best customer service in the Roaring Fork Valley. Trish was recently honored with the Devereux Award by demonstrating exceptional skills that align with the resort’s mission “To make people feel better.”
Pikes Peak – America's Mountain Rangers
Cherese Bennett, Laraine Bennett, Milinda Carnahan, Kent Chaney, Dave Dillard, Bill Duck, Nancy Foran, Rick Johnson, Grant Kaske, Betty Kuhlman, Erin Kunitz, Connor Maloney, Wayne Martin, Mike Muoio, John O’Brien, Caroline Ogdahl, Ramsey Ross, Al Schlafli, Duane Schormann, Stan Stevens, Chuck Struck, Tom Tillman, Brenda Wilson, Linder Winter
Since 1948, rangers have welcomed guests to Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain. In 2016, these dedicated men and women welcomed more than 480,000 visitors at the Gateway, patrolled and safeguarded the 19-mile highway, assisted with more than 22,000 hot brakes and 800 calls for assistance. They work hard supporting famed events such as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. They conduct “Meet the Ranger” interpretive presentations on a wide variety of topics and provide inspiration to children though the Junior Ranger program. Their commitment to excellence and visitor experience make them as much of a treasure as the mountain itself.
Training Coordinator, MillerCoors-Coors Brewery Tours
When Mary started as a tour rep seven years ago, her passion and hard work made her a clear leader on the team and her commitment to giving guests the best experience has only been emboldened by her promotion to the training coordinator role. Mary now uses her experience and passion to train new employees, and a better example couldn’t be set for them. With Mary showing them the ropes, her commitment is translated through them and the reason why MillerCoors receives 98% positive feedback on their tour experiences. She embodies what you picture in a frontline employee. She spreads positivity to everyone around her, is a great resource for staff and guests, and has a commitment to quality and the guest experience. She knows the company's success lies with visitors, and she goes above and beyond every day to put them first.
Front Office Supervisor, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel
Monica has the exceptional ability to make each guest’s interaction experience extraordinary! Monica has worked in the hospitality industry for 20-plus years. From cruise ships to hotels, she has found her love for her work in providing customer service that cannot be taught — it is from the heart. Monica has done tremendous work to welcome and delight guests of the hotel. “Monica was extremely nice and helpful,” said one guest. “She went above and beyond to help us out. We needed a ride to the rental car location and she went out of her way to get a van and take us directly there. You have a wonderful employee in Monica.” “Front desk staff are all friendly and efficient, Monica Wainwright was especially helpful,” states another. She has also been awarded the 1st Quarter 2017 “Far From Ordinary” Award of Excellence, where she was recognized for her accomplishments and dedication to her job and the City of Aurora.