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Russ Smith, GM of the Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle,
Named Lodging Operator-of-the-Year by the North Carolina
Restaurant and Lodging Association

RALEIGH, N.C. & SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- February 13, 2009 - Hotel General Manager Russ Smith’s success in delivering on the John Q. Hammons credo of exceptional service and community contribution was recently recognized by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA). Smith was honored at an annual recognition dinner as the NCRLA 2009 Lodging Operator-of-the-Year. Smith serves as general manager of the award-winning Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle and adjacent 20,000-net-square-foot conference center, operated by Springfield, Mo.-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (, the nation’s leading independent builder, developer, owner and manager of upscale, full-service hotels, resorts and suites. 

“Russ has been recognized as a highly accomplished operator and true leader in the Triangle market for many years and is very deserving of this prestigious honor,” said Paul M. Stone, NCRLA president and CEO. 

Smith is only the second recipient of the NCRLA Lodging Operator-of-the-Year award. To be nominated, operators must be viewed as highly successful among operators, employees and the community and have a proven track record as an operator and in community involvement. Nominees should have enhanced the overall image of the hospitality industry. 

“Russ is a stellar example of the John Q. Hammons and Embassy Suites Hotels brands and leads through strategic action,” said Bill Mead, regional vice president for John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts. 

About Russ Smith

Smith joined John Q. Hammons in 1987 to open Mr. Hammons’ first Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia, S.C. He has overseen the Embassy Suites in Cary since 1997. The luxury, all-suite property is regularly a top 10 winner in Embassy Suites Hotels’ Total Quality Score awards, based on guest feedback. His career also includes property management positions with Winegardner & Hammons, where he opened and managed hotels in Ohio, Texas and Michigan in the early 1980s. 

Smith’s success has been recognized within John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, as reflected by his being named General Manager of the Year in 1995 and 1999. In addition, he was named South Carolina Hotelier of the Year in 1996. Throughout his career, Smith has been an active leader in area convention & visitors’ bureaus, hotel & motel associations, and university hotel, restaurant & tourism administration programs. 

At the Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle, guests will experience comfortable accommodations in a convenient location. Surrounded by a serene, wooded landscape, the hotel is near the Weston Parkway Business Community and the Research Triangle Park and just four miles from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The hotel provides easy access to the campuses of North Carolina State, University of North Carolina, and Duke University, representing a combined student population of more than 72,000. The 273-suite property is also close to the region’s great shopping and entertainment. 


 John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts
Scott Tarwater, 417-873-3591




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