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Tom Chase, John Holland, Kirby Payne, Candice Sweeney
Inducted Into Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame

.AmericInn of Mt. Iron/Virginia, Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior Named 2007 MLA Properties of the Year

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA - December 7, 2007 - Tom Chase, John Holland, Kirby Payne, CHA and Candice Sweeney are the 2007 lodging inductees into the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame. They will be honored at the Minnesota Lodging Association's Holiday Party Thursday, December 13, at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest in Minnetonka. Chase is a recently-retired general manager of the Minneapolis City Center Marriott, Holland is the owner of The Lodge on Lake Detroit and Best Western Holland House & Suites in Detroit Lakes and the Best Western Superior Inn and Suites in Grand Marais and Payne is president of HVS/American Hospitality Management Company and Sweeney is director of Twin Cities market development for the American Express Company. 

Tom Chase started in the hospitality industry young, serving as a car runner and porter at the Radisson Downtown Minneapolis when he was 16. He then worked as a bellman at the Bloomington Marriott Hotel before being drafted in the U.S. Army. When he returned, he moved with his family to properties in Portland, Oregon; South Bend, Indiana and Albuquerque, New Mexico before he came back to Minneapolis. The last 18 years he was the area general manager in Minneapolis and the general manager of the Minneapolis City Center Marriott. 

John Holland was 10 years old when his parents opened the 13-unit Holland Motel in Detroit Lakes. He later took over the property, now known as the Best Western Holland House & Suites, with a total of 56 rooms. In 1983, he and his wife purchased the 20-unit Best Western Superior Inn in Grand Marais. This property is now the Best Western Superior Inn and Suites. In partnership with his daughter and son-in- law, Holland and his wife opened The Lodge on Lake Detroit in Detroit Lakes in June of 2006. In total, Holland's properties consist of 177 rooms. 

Kirby Payne began his professional career as a management trainee in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles with the InterContinental Hotels Corporation although it could be said that he actually started at 4 years old when he moved into the InterContinental in Belem, Brazil when his father was assigned as the hotelís Controller. He subsequently held various management positions with Hilton Inns, Laventhol & Horwath, Pannell Kerr Forster, Southern Host Hotels, and Groupo Quetzalli, a hotel and resort company based in Mexico City.  Immediately prior to starting his own company, Payne was vice president of the hospitality division for ManaDyne, based in Minneapolis. In that capacity, he was responsible for operating more than 30 hotels in 15 states. Presently, Payne and his company, HVS/American Hospitality Management Company, operates limited- and full-service hotels for third parties and its own affiliates; undertakes consulting assignments and provides asset management and receivership services for institutional hotel owners.  Payne, the 2002 Chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, was a 19 year resident of Minnesota who recently relocated to Rhode Island.

Candice Sweeney recently celebrated her 30th anniversary with American Express®. She began her career as the sole territory manager for merchants and key hospitality associations in Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas. She later was the field liaison for American Express with national lodging and restaurant associations for more than 20 years. After being promoted to regional industry director and to the central region management team, she has been director of Twin Cities market development for the past four years. 

The Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame was established to recognize those individuals who exemplify the professionalism and service of the industry. Inductees are nominated by their peers. Each inductee has given more than 20 years of service to the lodging industry, been deemed "a legend" by their colleagues and influenced generations of hoteliers. 

Previous inductees include Al Brodie, the past executive director of the Minnesota Motel Association and the past executive director of the Minnesota Association of Campground Owners and Henry Fisher of the Registry Hotel Corporation in 2006 and Harvey Hollenback, Earl Jorgensen, John Kahler and Roy Watson, all from the Kahler Corporation in Rochester in 2005. 

The AmericInn of Mt. Iron/Virginia and Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior in Tofte are the 2007 Minnesota Lodging Association's (MLA) Properties of the Year. They will be honored Thursday, December 14, at the MLA's holiday party at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest in Minnetonka. 

AmericInn of Mt. Iron/Virginia was honored in the "50 Rooms or Fewer" category. This property opened April 12, 1996 and features 45 guest rooms and one meeting room. AmericInn International chose this property as Lodging Property of the Year for two consecutive years, the first time in the history of the chain that a property has received the award twice and consecutively. The property is recognized as a local leader across the Iron Range in the lodging industry because of the entire staff's involvement and participation in community organizations, including the Iron Range Tourism Bureau, the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce and the Arrowhead Human Resources Association. The staff has been instrumental in the creation of the Iron Range Housekeeping Olympics, which recently celebrated its third anniversary. 

Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior was honored in the "More than 50 Rooms" category. The vision for this property began 25 years ago and was inspired by a rich 100-year tradition of hospitality. Situated on Lake Superior's edge and surrounded by the majestic Superior National Forest, Bluefin Bay is one of Minnesota's premier luxury resorts. Over the years, Bluefin Bay has earned high marks from guests, the industry and its peers, winning numerous awards, including "Minnesota's Favorite Resort" and "Favorite Romantic Spot" by Minnesota Monthly Magazine, best Romantic Resort by Lake Superior Magazine and "Best Minnesota Resort" by Minnesota Bride Magazine. The property has always been an active and supportive member of the larger community, sponsoring everything from local school sports teams and youth activities to grooming the area ski trails and building affordable housing. 

Properties of the Year are recognized by the MLA for providing outstanding customer service, continually exceeding guest expectations and distinguishing themselves as leaders in the industry. Properties are nominated for the award by their peers. Previous recipients include the AmericInn Lodge & Suites of Madelia and the Country Inn & Suites of Albert Lea in 2006 and the Hampton Inn & Suites of Bemidji, Holiday Inn of St. Cloud and Pehrson Lodge of Lake Vermilion in 2005. 

About the Minnesota Lodging Association 
The Minnesota Lodging Association is a leading provider of lobbying, education and marketing to Minnesota hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and their suppliers. It is managed by and is part owner of Hospitality Minnesota, which also manages the Minnesota Restaurant Association and the Minnesota Resort & Campground Association. Based in St. Paul, the Association is served by a staff of 14. The Minnesota Lodging Association and Hospitality Minnesota can be found on the Web at


Kevin Moe
Communications Manager

Also See: Jim Waldvogel, GM Crowne Plaza Northstar Hotel, Named Hotelier of the Year by the Minnesota Hotel & Lodging Association / February 2006


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