The 2021 Hoosier Hospitality Winners are:
- Haley Anderson - Columbus Area Visitors Center (Bartholomew County)
- Reigan Fields - Residence Inn by Marriott, Indianapolis (Marion County)
- Mike Grabowski - Embassy Suites by Hilton (Hendricks County)
- Cara and Tim Hall - Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot (Allen County)
- Sarah Janner - Holiday Inn Express (Howard County)
- Gio Lorenzo - Hilton Garden Inn, Indianapolis (Marion County)
- Jim McDaniel - Ohio County Tourism Board President (Ohio County)
- June Ortiz - Fruitshine Wine (Carroll County)
- Jamie Allen Ridenour - Hampton Inn & Suites (Howard County)
- Karen Shockley - Holiday Inn Express & Suites (Bartholomew County)
- Sharon Townsend - Hampton Inn (Jackson County)
- Annette Trotter - Turner Coaches (Vigo County)
- Jose Vidal - Home2 Suites (Johnson County)
- Tricia Wilson - Dollie's Farm (Johnson County)
- Lisa Wodrich - Lemon Tree Mediterranean Grill and Third Coast Spice Café (Porter County)
Haley Anderson - Columbus Area Visitors Center (Bartholomew County)
Haley Anderson is one of Columbus, Indiana's biggest advocates. As the Columbus Area Visitor Center Downtown Community Coordinator, Haley welcomes and provides hospitality to visitors from around the world. She works tirelessly to maintain an active and vibrant downtown in her community. This year, Haley redesigned Columbus' Ethnic Expo into four smaller events to maintain COVID safety while keeping the traditions alive. She partnered with four cultural organizations to produce Juneteenth Celebration, Chinese Expo, Ganesh Festival and Fiesta Latina. Through close community partnerships, Haley provided a vehicle for authentic representation of historically underrepresented groups. Every day, Haley demonstrates a passion for the people in her community.
Reigan Fields - Residence Inn by Marriott, Indianapolis (Marion County)
Reigan Fields serves as the Assistant General Manager at the Residence Inn by Marriott Indianapolis. She is also a full-time student and newly married to a marine. Her husband is deployed to Afghanistan. Reigan ensures that first responders and active military have an enjoyable stay at their "home away from home." She even planned a reception for service members to show much they are appreciated. Reigan not only shows compassion for every guest, team member but for every person she encounters.
Mike Grabowski Embassy Suites by Hilton (Hendricks County)
Mike Grabowski serves as the Director of Sales and Marketing at Embassy Suites by Hilton Plainfield Indianapolis Airport. Mike delivers an excellent first impression to every guest with incredible attention to detail and a great attitude. During COVID, the entire staff was let go for several months, leaving Mike as the only employee maintaining customer calls, cancellations, or date changes. Through this, Mike served as a one-person show, working with every client to retain its business and positive relationship with Hendricks County Tourism. Mike is an excellent mentor to the next generation of hotel sales professionals, defining customer service excellence through example while leading with personal guidance and advice informed by years of experience in the industry. His service-first mentality and work ethic are perfect examples of Hoosier Hospitality.
Cara and Tim Hall - Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot (Allen County)
Cara and Tim Hall own Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot. They put their own modern twist on helping visitors enjoy recreation, exercise and family time. When COVID shut down many operations and events in Promenade Park for its first full season in 2020, the Halls worked hard to keep Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot open and offer safe outdoor activities on the riverfront. Visit Fort Wayne turned to them to promote safe, outdoor attractions for visitors. Through park construction and the pandemic, Tim and Cara Hall have always met challenges with hospitality and community top of mind. The Halls always eagerly help Visit Fort Wayne host travel writers, guests and individuals. They've also made access to rural sites on the river to further accessibility and offer more ways for visitors to experience the area's natural beauty.
Sarah Janner - Holiday Inn Express (Howard County)
Sarah Janner serves as the housekeeping supervisor at the Holiday Inn Express Kokomo. She provides exceptional service in every department, helping co-workers even on her days off. Her nominator shares a story of Sarah's kindness, saying, "I remember a time when a guest missed the hot breakfast by 10 minutes. Sarah took it upon herself to make sure that the guest received something. She prepared a goody bag for the guest and delivered it to the room personally." Sarah cares for each guest to guarantee an individual experience.
Gio Lorenzo - Hilton Garden Inn, Indianapolis (Marion County)
Gio Lorenzo's nominator says he is the light and warmth of the Hilton Garden Inn, Indianapolis South. Gio can make a guest smile by remembering their name, whistling or singing his favorite tunes. Many guests at the hotel have checked in because of family medical emergencies or procedures. Gio is always compassionate and truly cares for these guests going through difficult times. During the last 18 months, Gio has never allowed his stress or anxiety to show. He loves taking care of others, and it shows with every interaction he has.
Jim McDaniel - Ohio County Tourism Board President (Ohio County)
Jim McDaniel has served as the Ohio County tourism board president for the last five years. Donating endless hours, Jim shares his time and heavy equipment to implement projects to draw tourists to the county. Jim's out-of-the-box thinking has raised Ohio County Tourism to new heights. Through his leadership, the Visitors Center is currently being transformed into a community space for locals and small businesses. When tour groups return, it will serve as a stop for motor coaches before exploring Ohio and neighboring counties. Through his leadership and vision, he strives to make our organization better for tourists and locals. With the closing of small businesses due to COVID, the center is also being used for events, markets, and gatherings.
June Ortiz - Fruitshine Wine (Carroll County)
June Ortiz is not just a server at Fruitshine Wine in Monticello. She is a "wine fairy guru," as one group nicknamed her. A desk plaque sits on the bar with "Wine Fairy Guru" to recognize her "promotion"! She is always going beyond to make every customer feel welcomed. People come in asking for June to lead the wine tasting because of Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews. June takes pride in knowing each customer appreciates her hospitable demeanor. Cheers to the "Wine Fairy Guru!"
Jamie Allen Ridenour - Hampton Inn & Suites (Howard County) Photo Unavailable
Jamie exemplifies what it means to show Hoosier Hospitality. As the Front Office supervisor Of the Hampton Inn & Suites Kokomo, Jamie is always bright and energetic, offering a smile, hello or joke to every guest. The Hampton recently had a long-term guest due to damage in her house. The nominator said she was an older lady and needed help with certain things. Jamie heard her discussing the fact that she couldn't find her favorite toothpaste. So, Jamie went out to different stores to find it and brought it to the hotel. Jamie puts others first every day and goes above and beyond to make guests feel welcome. Jamie's passion for her community shines through her local recommendations for guests.
Karen Shockley - Holiday Inn Express & Suites (Bartholomew County) Photo Unavailable
Karen works with all her heart to make sure that every guest has a great stay at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Columbus-Edinburgh by making sure each room is spotless. She has spent more than 12 years in the tourism industry doing just that. As the Executive Housekeeper, Karen also looks for opportunities to make a guest's stay memorable. During COVID, a newlywed couple was staying at the hotel. Upon check-in, they told the front desk they had issues getting their wedding together because of the pandemic. They had to change the wedding date several times as well as caterers. Once Karen heard this, she knew she had to make their stay the best possible. She went out to get chocolates, wine, and two wine glasses. Then she made the delivery to the newlyweds' room.
Sharon Townsend - Hampton Inn (Jackson County)
Sharon Townsend lights up the lobby at the Hampton Inn in Seymour. Guests are greeted with her smile and "Hoosier Hospitality" as soon as they walk into the lobby. The hotel lost power for nearly four hours one day. Sharon pitched in to check people in the "old-fashioned way." Sharon spoke with the guests, would tell them jokes and entertain any small children. She made sure the guests had the best experiences during this unique check-in process. Sharon is always asking guests about their road trips and vacation. She uses this knowledge to pass along recommendations to other travelers coming through the area.
Annette Trotter - Turner Coaches (Vigo County) Photo Unavailable
Annette Trotter has been working for Turner Coaches for 31 years. Annette made it a point to give back to the Hoosier State by making 39 of her 63 trips since returning to the roads on July 28, 2020, to Indiana destinations! She takes that to heart. She works long hours, sometimes weeks without a day off, doing whatever is necessary to keep the company running. Annette comes in early to clean the coaches inside and out. She is currently studying to get her CDL so that she can escort all her trips and step in to drive when needed. In her 31 years with Turner, she has only had to miss two trips. On a recent trip to Harrison County, her motor coach broke down right before leaving for the day, leaving them stranded for 3 hours. Annette remained calm. When the trip didn't arrive home until late that night, Annette gave everyone her phone number and didn't go to bed until she made sure that every one of those on the trip made it home safely.
Jose Vidal - Home2 Suites (Johnson County)
Jose Vidal is the Executive Housekeeper at the Home2 Suites in Beech Grove. He's always the first in and the last to leave. Jose's attitude reflects in the cleanliness of the property. You can find Jose on the front line guiding his team through projects. Keeping the lobby clean during the winter months is always a challenge. Jose will stay after his shift to make sure the lobby is clear of salt and snow. "This is my home. I can't let anyone walk in here with a messy lobby," said Jose. With Jose at the helm, cleanliness scores and brand standards are always high.
Tricia Wilson - Dollie's Farm (Johnson County)
The warm and welcoming spirit behind Dollie's Farm is owner, Tricia Wilson. A family once brought an elder friend to the farm to pick flowers for her deceased son. Tricia took it upon herself to drive the grieving mother on a golf cart to gather the best flowers. Tricia then gave the woman two free bouquets. Tricia went above and beyond to make the mother feel special. Tricia is always donating flowers or gift baskets to make the community better. From charity fundraisers to festivals, Tricia's nominator called her the "perfect Hoosier Hospitality ambassador to everyone she meets." She always has planned a full slate of events ranging from goat yoga to musical events.
Lisa Wodrich - Lemon Tree Mediterranean Grill and Third Coast Spice Café (Porter County) Photo Unavailable
The pandemic has been devastating to some restaurants, but Lisa Wodrich has gone above and beyond to make a difference. Lisa owns two restaurants in Porter County, Lemon Tree Mediterranean Grill and Third Coast Spice Café. She also serves on the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board. She is a part Chesterton Branding Leadership Team and came up with two initiatives to bring visitors to the town. The first initiative is "Gnome Place Like Home." Chesterton businesses hide gnomes, and visitors can hunt for the gnomes. The second initiative is the Upsadaisey Market, an upcycling market modeled after her successful Chesterton's European Market, which is still thriving after 20 years. It is apparent Lisa does not take visitors for granted. She understands how visitors contribute to the success of the area.