Los Alamos County Is Top HAT Award Finalist

NMHA News:
ALBUQUERQUE  New Mexico Hospitality Association announces the finalists for the 2015 Top HAT (Hospitality and Tourism) Awards. 

Los Alamos County’s Visitors Guide has been selected as a finalist in the Best Print Advertising catagory.

Finalists will be recognized at the inaugural Top HAT Awards Gala – Rising Stars of New Mexico TRUE Nov. 10 at the Sheraton Uptown Albuquerque. Winners in each category will be announced at the event.
Finalists include:

Front-of-the-House Hospitality: 

  • Karan Ford of Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder;
  • Paul Romero of Hilton Garden Inn Las Cruces;
  • Ruban Marquez of La Fonda on the Plaza;
  • Valorie Lopez of Holiday Inn Express & Suites Gallup East; and
  • Richard Manis of Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown.
Front-of-the-House Food & Beverage: 
  • Alicia Amaya (Hilton Garden Inn Las Cruces);
  • Liz Quinones (Hotel Encanto), and
  • Andrew Garcia (La Fonda on the Plaza)
Back-of-the-House Hospitality: 
  • Kim Shutts (Hotel Andaluz),
  • Penelope Gomez (Palacio de Marquesa), and
  • Mat Bolinger (Spectra/Santa Ana Star Center)
Back-of-the-House Hospitality: 
  • Jessie Lopez (Hotel Encanto),
  • Estevan Gonzalez (Eldorado Hotel & Spa), and
  • Ryan Numair (Hotel Andaluz)
Outstanding Event: 
  • Civic Plaza Presents (Albuquerque Convention Center & Civic Plaza),
  • Las Cruces Country Music Festival (Las Cruces CVB),
  • Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta (TOURSIM Santa Fe), and
  • The PASEO (Taos Fall Arts Festival Inc.)
Outstanding Attraction: 
  • Magical Christmas (Cliff’s Amusement Park),
  • Honoring Military, Veterans & Family Gallery (Comfort Suites Gallup), and
  • La Fonda Detours – Docent Art & History Tours (La Fonda on the Plaza).
Best Print Advertising:
  • Los Alamos Visitors Guide (Los Alamos County),
  • Experience Our Tradition (Indian Pueblo Cultural Center),
  • Las Cruces Country Music Festival (Las Cruces CVB), and
  • Silver City True (Silver City Arts & Cultural District)
Best Digital Advertising: 
  • Fly to Sunshine (Albuquerque CVB),
  • PictureABQ.com (Albuquerque CVB), and
  • Las Cruces Country Music Festival (Las Cruces CVB)
Best Broadcast Advertising: 
  • New Mexico True Television (CliffDweller Digital),
  • New Mexico Tourism by Rail (Rio Metro Regional Transit District),
  • The Bachelor in Santa Fe & Northern New Mexico (TOURISM Santa Fe), and
  • Carlsbad is New Mexico True (Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce)
Most Innovative Advertising: 
  • New Lobby Lounge Naming Contest (Eldorado Hotel & Spa),
  • Town of Taos PR Campaign (Town of Taos),
  • Bring it Home (Las Cruces CVB), and
  • Stomp Your Feet (Las Cruces CVB)
Tourism Professional of the Year: 
  • Jennifer Bales (Las Cruces CVB),
  • Richard Holcomb (CliffDweller Productions, LLC),
  • Cynthia Delgado (TOURISM Santa Fe),
  • Jack Brennan (Tour of the Gila Bicycle Race), and
  • Georgia Stirckfaden (Buffalo Tours)
Hospitality Professional of the Year: 
  • Kenneth Riege (Comfort Suites Gallup),
  • Rafael Avalos (Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder),
  • Joani Jones (Crowne Plaza Albuquerque), and
  • Andrew Garcia (La Fonda on the Plaza).
“Our people have heart and are treasured,” said Jen Schroer, president/CEO of New Mexico Hospitality Association. “Every person that works in hospitality has such an important role in enhancing the visitor experience and making New Mexico a premiere tourism destination.”
Nominations are being reviewed by Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association, which will select a winner in each category. Each finalist will be recognized throughout the evening along with a feature for the winner.
Cheryl Jameson, New Mexico Magazine’s contributing culinary editor, is the master of ceremonies and more than 250 hoteliers, attractions and business owners are expected to attend the event.
“2014 marked a record breaking year for tourism, adding $6.1 billion into New Mexico’s economy,” said Ed Pulsifer, Director of Sales for La Fonda on the Plaza and board chair for New Mexico Hospitality Association. “Our finalists helped make this happen. They are all well deserving and we want to make sure that our statewide association recognizes their contributions.”
Event proceeds go to the newly established Hospitality and Tourism Scholarship Fund powered by the Albuquerque Community Foundation. 
The scholarship fund will support the tourism industry’s growing workforce by helping contribute to the success of countless students pursuing a career in one of New Mexico’s fastest growing industries, tourism.