Golden Pineapple Awards

The Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association held its annual Golden Pineapple Awards Dinner on Jan. 25 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort – International Drive. This Academy Awards-style event featured 1,000 attendees and recognized lodging employees with a VIP reception and a congratulatory toast by Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings followed by dinner and award presentations. FOX 35’s Tom Johnson served as the emcee and awards were presented by CFHLA President/CEO Rich Maladecki.

Hospitality’s front line employees were recognized for exemplary service and customer satisfaction. In addition, 10 family member scholarships of $2,000 each were awarded to deserving students of lodging employees and two allied member family scholarships of $2,000 were awarded.

The employees of the year were recognized in 13 categories:

Back Office Employee of the Year

  • Jenni Estrella, Hampton Inn Orlando International Drive/Convention Center

Bell Person/Concierge Employee of the Year

  • Jimmie Jackson, Crowne Plaza Orlando Downtown

Community Service Employee of the Year

  • Santia Munoz, Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Convention Center/Banquet Employee of the Year

  • Teodoro Martinez, Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel

Culinary Employee of the Year

  • Rehan Safdar, Hilton Orlando

Engineering Employee of the Year

  • Michael Besst, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

Food & Beverage Service Employee of the Year

  • Brian Austin, Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort

Front Office Employee of the Year

  • Kimberly Crook, Orlando World Center Marriott

Housekeeping Employee of the Year

  • Wislaine Lormil-Verger, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Resort Area

Laundry Employee of the Year

  • Mares Prestil, Orange Lake Resort

Recreational Employee of the Year

  • Barry Robb, The Villas of Grand Cypress

Security/Loss Prevention Employee of the Year

  • Brittney Burton, Sheraton Vistana Villages

Steward/Dishwasher Employee of the Year

  • Frank Alexander, Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld


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Written by Lyndsay Fogarty

Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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