ACY Host awards

Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority honor employees who work in tourism in Atlantic City Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

Edward Lea

Those who spend the most time with visitors to the resort were honored Wednesday for their contributions to the city’s tourism industry.

The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority honored 27 of the top hospitality workers in the city at its 16th annual awards ceremony at Boardwalk Hall. The more than 170 nominees entered the hall's ballroom to the song “Simply the Best” and were saluted by the hundreds in attendance.

The event is designed to honor the employees at casinos, hotels, restaurants and stores who work directly with tourists. The nominees were selected by their supervisors and included all types of hospitality workers, from retail salesperson to bartender to hotel clerk.

Jacqui Carole, event chairwoman, said the thousands of hospitality workers play a vital role in developing tourism because they can give the visitors the best experience.

“Without these people there would be no presidents or vice presidents (of the local casinos and other businesses),” she said. “These are the people that make it happen. These are the people who make (the city) look good.”

Many of the nominees Wednesday said they took pride in not only representing their companies, but helping their customers have an enjoyable experience.

“It helps to build character. You take it for not only your job, but your life,” said city resident Ernest Taylor, a 31-year employee at Harrah’s. “You respect people and give them services they need and go home with a good feeling that you did your job today.”

Juana Fernandez, a waitress at the Taj Mahal for 17 years, said helping the customers is part of the job. “When a customer feels good and you can tell, you think they’re coming back because you accommodated them and worked the extra mile for what they like,” she said.

Pleasantville resident Julian Marin, a slot attendant at Caesar’s, said working with the people and watching them win is the highlight of his 20-year career at the casino. “To see people happy and get all excited when they win is a lot of fun,” he said.

The event also raises money for the authority’s foundation, which distributed $12,000 worth of scholarships to 16 students studying hospitality at area colleges.  

The authority also presented its Spirit of Hospitality Award to the Dougherty family, which owns and operates Dock’s Oyster House, Knife and Fork Inn and Harry’s Oyster House.

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