Suburban Hotelier of the Year
Eric Bates – Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort

Eric Bates, General Manager of Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort, began his career in the hospitality industry when he was just 16 years old, starting out as a Bellman and Banquet Houseman. Since 1992, Eric has produced outstanding accomplishments while managing multiple teams, locations, and responsibilities of several executive positions at one time. In 2012, Hotel Management Magazine named Eric on its list of 25 GMs to Watch. The attributes of GMs to Watch include: Caring for their employees as well as their guests equally, being a good communicator with staff, and realizing the importance of motivations. GMs to Watch are people who are both good leaders and good managers. Above all else and most importantly, Eric enjoys having the opportunity to positively affect the lives of guests, owners, and associates on a daily basis and has instilled this outstanding leadership quality in others for decades. 

Suburban Housekeeping Employee of the Year
Maria Delgado – Hyatt Regency O’Hare

Maria Delgado’s biggest strength is her integrity. She is consistent, proactive, and constantly keeps the best interest of her peers in mind. For the past 32 years, Maria has come to work at Hyatt Regency O’Hare with a positive attitude and stays focused on making sure her team is prepared for the day. Without being asked, she will take on tasks in order to lessen the work load of someone else. She never hesitates to report issues in the room, help others without being asked, or come to work when called in on a day the team is in a bind. Maria does not live close to the hotel and has to take a bus and two trains to make it to work every day. She wakes up a little past 4am every morning, is on the train no later than 5am, and enters the building just after 6am. No one ever has to ask her to do something or work harder, or do a little extra. Maria fully understands the value of hard work and leads by example every day. Her commitment to quality is admirable, and her selflessness is inspiring. Maria accepts any task with a smile and looks to take on more in order to make the hotel look good. She is the Heart of Hyatt and everyone is so proud to have her on their team.

Suburban Maintenance Employee of the Year
Delbert Craven- Hilton Rosemont

Delbert (Del) Craven has been the Chief Engineer of the Hilton Rosemont Chicago O’Hare since August 2015. His tenure within the hotel industry dates back to 1989, becoming employed at the Hilton Chicago upon completion of their Masterplan Renovation. Del ended a 26 year stint at the Hilton Chicago serving as the Assistant Chief Engineer for 10 years. Hilton utilizes its acronym (H.I.L.T.O.N.) to depict the cultural values of the company. Del reflects these values on a day-to-day basis, and the words correlated to this acronym are a perfect way to illustrate Del’s passion and commitment to the overall success of the hotel. This outline exemplifies that Del truly lives the Hilton Values without exception or remorse: Hospitality – Quite often, Del puts jurisdictional restrictions to the side to help the guests of the hotel. Integrity – Del is entrusted to manage all financial processes pertaining to payroll and expenses within the department. Leadership – Del leads a team of six operating engineers. Upon assuming his current position, Del was tasked with increasing productivity while building team morale. Teamwork – The concept of team bonding is engrained in Del’s leadership style. Ownership – Del’s single most admirable trait is that he cares. Now – As we know, the hotel industry is a 24/7 operation centered on guest comfort. Whether it is a difficult guest or a last-minute request, Del is on it! Hilton Chicago O’Hare Rosemont is proud to have a down to earth, hard-working, creative, and super spirited Chief Engineer, like Del Craven, at the helm of building operations.

Suburban Department/Division Head of the Year
Brad Ott - Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center

If you ever have the opportunity to meet Brad Ott, you will truly be inspired by his enthusiasm and passion for his role in hospitality. Whether it’s in golf, the health club, or the hotel Restaurant, Brad takes a hands on approach to every task and obstacle. The Director of Club Operations is a huge position with multiple moving parts under it. Brad has dedicated countless hours to coaching and inspiring his team. Brad is the type of person that takes time to have personalized conversations with everyone on the team. There is a deep passion for learning that is within him. He’s never too proud to ask for help when it comes to Food and Beverage since it’s a new area for him. Brad is not only an exceptional leader, he is also a strong role model. He dedicates himself to family and personal passions, which gives him a stronger understanding of his team. Want to take a wine class? Brad will sign you up. Need to take time off to be with family? Brad will not only give you the time off, he’ll check in to make sure you don’t need anything. Want to go back to school? Brad will happily point you to tuition assistance programs within Hilton and Portfolio to help you fund it. Brad Ott can always provide you with the true demonstration of hospitality. He is more than deserving of every kind of recognition there is. 

Suburban Manager of the Year
Kerry Murtaugh - Hyatt Lodge at McDonald's Campus

Kerry is a very successful Sales Manager at the Hyatt Lodge who has won Leader of the 4th Quarter of 2016 as well as Leader of the Year for 2016. Kerry builds genuine relationships with her clients and sees that they are well taken care of from the start of the sales process all the way until they walk out the door. Her drive and determination to meet and exceed her quote is evident every day. Kerry has one of the most challenging markets, the specialty market. This market requires a lot of time and effort to educate the clients on the hotel policies and practices. Kerry is a friend to many in the hotel and is very well respected by her peers. It is her honest approach and genuine concern that makes her so likeable throughout the hotel. When Kerry loses a piece of business, her first thought is that the employees are losing hours and pay. She thinks of the Housekeeper or the Server or the Front Desk Agent. She truly sells the hotel for all involved! Kerry loves to work with children. She joined the Hyatt Thrive Team in reaching out to the community. She volunteers to teach first graders at a nearby school through Junior Achievement. Kerry lives the purpose of the company every day, whether it is a client, an associate, the owner, or the community: “She Cares for People so they can be Their Best!”

Suburban Administrative Employee of the Year
MaryAnn Basso - Chicago Marriott Naperville

MaryAnn joined the Chicago Marriott Naperville as a Sales Coordinator in 2013 and has consistently been voted by her peers as Employee of the Month multiple times. Rain or shine, MaryAnn always has a bright smile and a contagious high energy attitude. MaryAnn’s proactive style and commitment to excellence has become instrumental to the successes of the Sales Department. MaryAnn takes the sense of ownership of the business seriously, which allowed the hotel to implement a highly successful marketing program. MaryAnn has been the driving force to engage the team at the Chicago Marriott Naperville to reach further into the community and help those in need. Through their support to Feed My Starving Children, the team has been able to pack over 37,440 meals for the needy children of Guatemala and Haiti. MaryAnn has built a team of associates to volunteer at the Hesed House, where meals were served and clothes were folded for residents of Aurora. In 2016, MaryAnn organized a team of ten associates to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and collectively raise $3,565 for the cause. MaryAnn also managed a team of associates to support the Military Missions, Inc. Holiday Card Drive. During the month of December, 2016, the team wrote encouraging messages and signed 161 Holiday cards for the program. Simply put, MaryAnn is not only a great professional, but also a humble and caring individual who chooses to positively impact her coworkers and the community in which she serves.

Suburban Food & Beverage Employee of the Year – Heart of the House 
Edgar Garcia - Embassy Suites Chicago-North Shore/Deerfield

Edgar is a Line Cook in the kitchen at Embassy Suites Chicago however, you can find him in the restaurant and holding conversation with guests during the evening reception. Edgar is seen as a leader at the property. Embassy Suites Chicago had a difficult period of the year without an executive chef. Edgar took the initiative to ensure guests did not see that challenge. He was the glue for the kitchen team. He kept the morale high and the environment positive. The executive committee and other managers on the team are confident that they can rely on Edgar to execute flawlessly. A top quality of Edgar is his outgoing personality and desire to be in front of guests. He takes great pride in the food he creates and prepares. He will check in with tables in the restaurant to ensure they are enjoying their meal and if not, he fixes it just to their liking. In addition, he has developed a schedule for the food and beverage team to sample items from the menu during evening reception. Edgar encourages the kitchen team to be creative in developing a dish that they would like to see on the specials menu. These items are sampled during the reception and discussed based on the feedback received from the guest. Because of these achievements and leadership qualities held by Edgar, his peers and management nominations won him Employee of the Year! 

Suburban Food & Beverage Employee of the Year – Front of the House
Oscar Satin - The Drake Hotel Oak Brook

Oscar Satin is a Restaurant and Banquet Server for The Drake Hotel Oak Brook. Oscar has been part of the team since it opened on day one! Oscar is always smiling and cheerful. When his shift starts, you can feel the positive energy throughout the entire hotel. Oscar always approaches a table with such grace. He is very professional while smiling and adding his personal touch. At the end of that short encounter, the table is laughing and The Drake experience has begun. Guests have gotten up from their seats to give him a hug and take pictures with him. Some guests call him the “Mexican George Clooney”. Since The Drake opened, every Thursday it has the same party of four for lunch. They come because of great food and Oscar. The Drake is very lucky to have Oscar on their team. He brings smiles, joy, laughs, positive energy, and positive attitude to The Drake Family. Thank you Oscar!

Suburban Guest Services Employee of the Year
Juanita Seaton - Hilton Orrington/Evanston

Juanita Seaton has been a dedicated PBX Supervisor at the Hilton Orrington/Evanston hotel since June 1995. For the past 22 years, Juanita has been a constant positive force who never fails to greet guests and team members with the warmest smile. Even over the phone, you can hear the smile in her welcoming voice to make any guest feel right at home. Juanita takes great pride in what she has accomplished and her continued successes at the hotel. She is constantly recognized for her passionate and dedicated hospitality. Juanita made a memorable impact on one particular guest who noted their experience on TripAdvisor with a perfect 5 score: “Wow! I just came back from a 5 day stay at the Orrington, and I’m ready to go back there. The hotel service was outstanding. This example says it all: Someone from the hotel staff (Juanita) called during my stay to find out if I wanted my room made up since I’d put a ‘Do not Disturb’ sign on my door. I was ill and didn’t want service and mentioned that to Juanita. She was very sympathetic and asked, ‘Would you like us to get you anything at the store?’ I felt like I’d gone back in time to when things were personal and service was excellent. In future calls, she asked how I was feeling.” Juanita’s actions have earned her two Team Member of the Month nominations of which she won both and a nomination for Team Member of the Year, which she also won. Juanita is a steady super star who, for 22 years, has come to work (on a two hour commute to and from) with a smile on her face that is caught by every guest. 

Suburban First-Level Supervisor of the Year
Anthony Walker – The Westin O’Hare

Anthony (Tony) Walker is a true asset to the Westin O’Hare. His passion and pride for his role as a Banquet Supervisor in the hotel as well as his attention to detail is second to none. He continually strives to deliver the best possible service to guests and present the best meeting space to them. He strives to meet the guests and associates’ needs. Tony has always been the go-to person when it comes to repeat groups or any new group’s banquet room set. He is truly the expert when it comes to banquet sets. He has done an exceptional job over in assisting associates that are new to their position by helping them gain the knowledge to do their job well. Another area where Tony’s helpful nature truly shines is with the Anixter Center On-the-Job Evaluation (OJE) program. The Anixter OJE program is a group that hosts on the job evaluations for people with disabilities. They come on property for an eight week evaluation and work in a couple of heart of the house areas within the hotel, and Tony’s area (Banquet House Attendant) is one of those areas. He always goes above and beyond what is expected of him to be a good role model and mentor to the program participants. His passion and caring attitude to help individuals become better prepared to work in their communities has affected many lives in a positive way. Most recently, Tony won Leader of the Quarter for Westin’s Be Westin Awards for 1st Quarter 2017. Tony is a true leader and shows his commitment to the community, hotels, and guests in everything that he does!

Suburban Bell-Staff Employee of the Year
Senyo Yakor – Hotel Arista

Senyo Yakor is a Bellman extraordinaire at Hotel Arista. He is the model of what a Bellman should be. He is always willing to help with a smile. He is always attentive to guests’ needs and does whatever he can to help them. Senyo handles each guest like they are his best friend and is so glad to see them. His name has been mentioned in comment cards again and again. He works hard when he is at work and always looks to meet guests, get to know them, and pass on any information he can offer to enhance their experience. He has scraped snow off of cars during the winter so that the guest doesn’t have to do it when they get their car. Returning guests call him by name and are always saying how glad they are to see him again. It’s easy to see how Senyo has received an employee of the month award!