Each year, the Colorado tourism industry nominates tourism employees to be recognized as Top 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 2022 Top Frontline Tourism Workers for their dedication and hard work in attracting visitors to Colorado. Thank you to the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association, as well as VISIT DENVER and Society Insurance for helping grow the applicant pool.
Mountains and Mesas
Aaron Hammond, Cultural Specialist at the Cortez Cultural Center: Aaron Hammond is a member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, lives in Towaoc, CO, and warmly shares his cultural and personal knowledge with visitors to the Cortez Cultural Center. He is friendly, welcoming, kind and knowledgeable, and always interested in learning and sharing. More than a few guests have raved about the one-on-one connection they've made with Aaron, thanks to his openness and genuine authenticity.
Mystic San Luis Valley
Irene Taylor, Assistant Manager of the Days Inn Alamosa: Irene Taylor has been a tourism champion for over 20 years in the San Luis Valley. Currently the Assistant Manager of the Days Inn, Irene creates a tailored experience for each guest based on their interests. From heartfelt recommendations to helping guests find other lodging accommodations when there is no room at Days Inn, the Visitor Experience is always Irene's priority. Irene works alongside the community & Visit Alamosa to stay up to date on all things Alamosa so she can promote all offerings to travelers. Irene's passion is contagious and will serve the Future of Travel for years to come.
Pikes Peak Wonders
Rafael Lara Torres, Lobby Attendant at the Broadmoor: Rafael is truly a consummate hospitality professional. He looks after his co-workers and the guests of The Broadmoor with such compassion, attention to the smallest detail and with humility. He has an amazing attendance record, has continued to improve his English speaking abilities to better serve our guests and remains upbeat and positive regardless of the situation. Although cliche, Rafael always leads by example. His areas are immaculate, well supplied and everything is in perfect order. When a new employee starts, Rafael can be counted upon to provide comprehensive training while ensuring the individual feels comfortable and supported. He will continue to provide additional guidance to less seasoned employees to assist in their growth and to help them gain confidence.
Canyons and Plains
Alicia Lafever, Interpretation Manager at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site: Alicia Lafever is making substantial updates to the Bent’s Old Fort NHS interpretive program. Since 2009, the park’s visitation has declined 25%, and Alicia has been working with the park superintendent to turn that trend around. She participated in a regional program assessment called the Tourism Toolkit, which identified the core values of the staff and the perceived desires of the public, and she has taken on the duties of addressing the immediate needs in year one of this multi-year project. She has also spearheaded local outreach efforts and has retooled school programs to ensure they are curriculum-based. Alicia was integral to the success of the 200th Anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail. It was the best attended special event in the park’s history.
Susan Wolff, Volunteer at the Colorado Welcome Center at Julesburg: Susan has been a dedicated volunteer for the Welcome Center for over 10 years. She eagerly shares knowledge about Colorado with all the visitors who come through the door. During 2021 this Colorado Welcome Center at Julesburg did not close once due to the pandemic and saw an all-time high of 375,788 visitors. She worked tirelessly through the pandemic, always maintained a positive attitude AND most importantly shared her love of Colorado with visitors.
She is the true definition of a dedicated and caring volunteer.
Denver and Cities of the Rockies
Ruben Ramirez, Head Bartender at French 75: This next nominee works as a head bartender at one of Denver’s top restaurants. He constantly has guests returning just because of him, and is incredibly knowledgeable and fun! Some of the many phrases that were used to describe this individual were: an awesome human being, pitches in where needed, genuinely pleasant and fun, and master of the menu. Many also noted that they would just go back because of him!
Chip Tallon, Curbside Attendant at the Eagle County Regional Airport: He provides exceptional Customer Service to one of the busiest mountain town airports in Colorado and constantly shows love and appreciation for every person he meets.This individual rallied his coworkers to form a dance kickline with a passenger on the curb of the airport who was traveling to meet her ill mother. Upon arriving in Colorado the passenger shared that her mother couldn’t dance anymore and that she would dance for her mom during the visit. When the passenger returned for her flight home, this individual recognized the passenger as her family was dropping her off at the airport, and they danced while her mother clapped and smiled from the car. It was a heartwarming moment to witness and was a true example of exemplary service.
The Great West
Paul Klees, Assistant General Manager at C Lazy U Ranch: Paul embodies the western spirit of hard work, commitment, and a hearty and wholesome, good-spirited approach to life. No job is too big or too small – he will wash dishes, become a bartender, take VIP guests on a spontaneous horseback ride, or comfort a frightened child riding a horse for the first time. During the East Troublesome Fire he left his family home as it was being destroyed by fire to help local families evacuate. His physical accomplishments and remarkable commitments might belie the fact that he is also a compassionate leader and a champion of the employee. He makes employee problems, his problems and works caringly and collaboratively to solve them.