August 2009, Orlando, Florida—Tracy Plumstead, CHA, CHE, CHDT, director
of operations and marketing for Wyndham Hotel Group’s School of Hospitality
Operations, has been appointed chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging
Educational Institute’s Certification Commission.
The Certification Commission is the regulating body for all of EI’s
professional certification programs. The 15-member group approves and oversees
the development and maintenance of more than 40 hospitality-related certifications.
Plumstead is the first industry professional to hold the chairman’s
position, which previously was restricted to a hospitality educator. Recent
changes to the commission’s by-laws now alternate the chairmanship between
industry and academic representatives. As chairman, Plumstead, who
holds three professional certifications from EI, hopes to increase awareness
of the benefits of certification among her industry colleagues.
“So many people don’t realize that through AH&LA there are vast
resources readily available for hospitality professionals - resources
available to help them work more effectively,” she said. “Professional
certification is a wonderful way to raise the bar for the industry. It
speaks volumes to the fact that hospitality is a true career and not just
“I’m ecstatic that Tracy has accepted the position of Certification
Commission chairman,” said Robert L. Steele, III, EI’s president and COO.
“The commission monitors the integrity of the certification process, reviews
policies and procedures, and recommends changes or additions to the programs.
Having an industry representative at the commission’s helm will help EI
to ensure that we continue to meet the professional development needs of
Based in Parsippany, N.J., Plumstead holds a master’s degree in hospitality
management, and has worked in several management positions in hospitality.
She has also earned the professional designations of Certified Hotel Administrator
(CHA), Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), and Certified Hospitality
Department Trainer (CHDT).
“The CHA helped me to better understand all aspects of the hospitality
industry,” Plumstead explained, “and the CHE broadened my skill base for
Plumstead sees her role as certification commission chairman as that
of champion of certification. “I want those in our industry to realize
the considerable opportunity they have to advance their professionalism
To learn more about the 40-plus certification programs available from
the Educational Institute, visit www.ahlei.org/certification, or call 888-575-8726
Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American
Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute’s mission is
to support AH&LA by becoming the preferred provider to the lodging
industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries both
domestically and internationally by developing and providing quality resources
to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals.