The reception room of Avalon Manor was filled on Wednesday night as more than 200 hospitality industry professionals came together to celebrate exemplary customer service at the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority's annual ROSE (Recognition of Service Excellence) Awards Dinner.

Close to 100 nominations for the annual ROSE Awards program were received by the ROSE selection committee this year. The exceptional front-line and managerial employees were whittled down to 40 finalists. The one dozen ROSE Award winners and three RISE Award winners are as follows:


2014 R.O.S.E. Award Winners

Meltem Ahuoglu        Ameristar Casino Hotel                   East Chicago, Ind.

Darren Dewell           Crown Brewing                              Crown Point, Ind.

Margaret Dubesa       Hilton Garden Inn                          Chesterton, Ind.

Joseph Fetty             Fair Oaks Farms                             Newton County, Ind.

Donald Frantz           Holiday Inn Express                        Schererville, Ind.

Eduardo Fuentes       Hilton Garden Inn                           Chesterton, Ind.

James Kertis             Ameristar Casino Hotel                    East Chicago, Ind.

Sam Maclin               The Free Enterprise System             Lansing, Ill.

Peter Mandich           Ameristar Casino Hotel                    East Chicago, Ind.

Robbie Martin           Hilton Garden Inn                            Chesterton, Ind.

Emily Trisler             Bellaboo's Play and                          Lake Station, Ind.

                              Discovery Center

Crystal White           Hammer's Restaurant                       Michigan City, Ind.


2014 R.I.S.E. Award Winners

Dominique Bartee    Hilton Garden Inn                            Chesterton, Ind.

Joshua Sanders       Hilton Garden Inn                            Merrillville, Ind.

Andy Solis               Best Western Northwest                  Hammond, Ind.

                              Indiana Inn


Gerry Dick, host and creator of Inside Indiana Business, and Speros A. Batistatos, President and CEO for the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, hosted the evening and announced the winners on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at Avalon Manor in Merrillville, Ind.

The ROSE Awards were created to honor the front-line employees who go above and beyond the call of duty on a regular basis. Most often, the customer has more interaction with the front-desk employee than an owner or manager. These front-line service employees are those that can have a lasting impression on the visitor.

New to the 2014 ceremony, the South Shore CVA presented RISE (Recognition of Industry Success and Excellence) Awards. The RISE Awards honor managerial employees that have risen above expectations and interact directly with customers on a regular basis, or past ROSE Awards winners who have again exceeded expectations.

The ROSE Awards are presented annually by the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority. ROSE and RISE nominations for front-line and managerial employees are accepted year-round at