Hospitality Awards Luncheon

IHLA hosts the Annual Hospitality Awards Luncheon at McCormick Place each May in Conjunction with the Annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. The event honors outstanding hospitality professionals.

IHLA is proud to give out its most prestigious awards to deserving recipients who have made significant contributions to the hospitality industry in Illinois. The Association is always pleased to induct a new class of influential leaders into the legacy of honorees who have greatly impacted the industry. 

Each year, the Award Selection Committee determines who has influenced the hotel industry in Illinois and continues to advocate for the greater good for the hotel community and those it serves. The honorees are typically very active in advocacy, associate engagement, and support of IHLA's missions.  

The J. Patrick Leahy Lifetime Achievement Award
Patrick LeahyThe J. Patrick Leahy Lifetime Achievement Award is given annually by the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association to an individual who has had a successful career of high achievement, a lifelong commitment to the hotel industry, and who has made significant contributions to the hospitality industry in Illinois.

The recipient of this Award is chosen each year by the Award Selection Committee and submitted to IHLA’s Board of Directors for final approval. The Award was first given in 2003, and the first recipient was J. Patrick Leahy, Executive Vice President of American Hotel Register, headquartered in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

Pat Leahy spent his entire life serving the hotel industry, and he epitomized the word “hospitality.” Pat contributed greatly to the hospitality industry in Illinois by serving on IHLA’s Board of Directors for more than 20 years and co-chairing the Association’s Annual Hospitality Gala for 19 years. Pat was also a founding member of IHLA’s Educational Foundation Board of Directors. During his 20-year tenure, he helped the Foundation award hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving Illinois students pursuing hospitality management degrees.

On September 28, 2007, Pat passed away after a long, courageous battle with cancer. The following month, IHLA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to rename the Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of Pat. IHLA is proud to have its highest award for Lifetime Achievement named in honor of its first recipient, J. Patrick Leahy.

Congratulations 2019 J. Patrick Leahy Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
Marc J. Gordon  | Arnie  F. Karr 

Congratulations 2019 Ambassador of Hospitality Award Winners 
Holly Agra, President, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises
Anthony “Tony” Klok, Principal, Rebel Hospitality, LLC & 2019 Board Chairman, Best Western Hotels & Resorts


   2019 Album

   2018 Album

   2017 Album

For questions about this event, please contact:
Jennifer Chase            
Managing Director, Events | 312-346-3135 x222