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Restaurant, lodging association names hospitality winners

Hospitality and Tourism
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The South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association announced the winners of the 7th annual Upstate Hospitality Awards, "celebrating exceptional professionalism and service of top individuals in the industry," according to a news release.

An awards ceremony will take place Nov. 4 at the Embassy Suites Golf Resort in Greenville.

Nominations are accepted from association members in the Upstate, including Anderson, Greenville, Pickens and Spartanburg counties.

This year’s winners are:

  • Restaurant Front of the House Employee of the Year: LaVerne Young, hostess at the Greenville Country Club
  • Restaurant Heart of the House Employee of the Year: Phil Oostdyk, chef de cuisine at Hare & Field
  • Restaurant Manager of the Year: Kirk Watkins, director of operations at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Up on the Roof
  • Restaurateur of the Year: Steve Seitz, COO and vice president of Table 301 Restaurant Group
  • Lodging Front of the House Employee of the Year:  Emma Poppante, desk supervisor at The Abernathy
  • Lodging Heart of the House Employee of the Year:  Amal Fahmawi, housekeeping supervisor at the Greenville Marriott
  • Lodging Manager of the Year: Ricky Florentin, director of engineering at the Greenville Marriott
  • Hotelier of the Year: Bill Groves, general manager at the Embassy Suites Greenville Golf Resort & Conference Center
  • Outstanding Chef of the Year: Bryan Lindsay, executive chef at Thornblade Club
  • Outstanding Bartender of the Year: Heather Hendrix, bartender at Wild Ace Pizza & Pub
  • Hospitality Educator of the Year: Drew Archer, ProStart Culinary Arts instructor at Donaldson Career Center
  • Hospitality Supplier of the Year (small company): Trey Francis, owner of Francis Produce
  • Hospitality Supplier of the Year (large company): Tina Somers, territory manager at U.S. Foods
  • Outstanding Community Service Program (small company): Adam and Kelley Ashcraft, owners of Jonescraft Restaurant & Hospitality Recruiters
  • Outstanding Community Service Program (large company): Don Oglesby, president and CEO of Homes of Hope
  • Outstanding Community Leader (public sector): Chris Stone, president and CEO of Visit Greenville
  • Outstanding Community Leader (private sector): John Bauknight, owner of The Silo at RJ Rockers Brewing Co.

Award winners have the potential to win one of the association’s statewide Stars of the South Carolina Hospitality Industry Awards in January. More information about the Upstate Hospitality Awards is available online.

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