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Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston Honors
Hospitality Employees for their Extra Efforts

Lifetime Achievement Award Given to Donald J. Henderson

November 2011
- For more than 17 years of his 40-plus years in the hospitality business, Donald J. Henderson has worked to expand the partnership between the hotel industry and the community. His successes have not only been inspiring but changed the face of the city.

On Friday, Nov. 18th, the industry said Thank You.

On the night when the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston hosted its seventh annual Hospitality on Parade gala at the InterContinental Houston Hotel to pay tribute to all the men and women who keep the lights on, the rooms clean, the food prepared and the services prompt and award individuals who have gone far beyond their job descriptions and made a special difference to hotel guests, the community and the industry, his own name was called. Henderson was given the Association’s highest honor, its Lifetime Achievement Award.

The surprise came at the end of the awards ceremony when HLAGH President Stephanie Haynes announced the special recognition.

Also this year, the annual awards committee went to the boss’ office for the first time.

Beginning what will be an annual award, the Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Houston (HLAGH) presented the General Manager of the Year Award to Joe Palmieri, General Manger of the Hilton Americas – Houston.

In presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Henderson, Pres. Haynes noted the special award is only given when individuals are nominated who meet the extensive criteria and is not awarded every year. Mr. Henderson, she said, has devoted more than 40 years to the hospitality industry with jobs that have taken him from New Jersey to Michigan, California to Texas. He came to Houston 17 years ago as Vice President and Managing Director of the Hyatt Regency Houston.

Serving as Chairman of the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston (1997-1998) and Chairman of the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau (1998-2000),  Mr. Henderson was responsible for the re-engineering of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau in the aftermath of the departure of its Chief Executive Officer. For his efforts, he was recognized for service by the City of Houston as well as the Bureau designating him as Chairman Emeritus, one of only two individuals recognized as such over the Bureau’s history.

Mr. Henderson is a member of the Downtown Management District, where he currently serves as President and Chairman, the Greater Houston Partnership, and Central Houston. He was at the heart of efforts to structure tax incentives and gather the business community support for the development of Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center, the George R. Brown expansion, and the Hilton Americas. In addition, he is currently Chairman of the Culture Tourism Collaborative for the Greater Houston Partnership and is a Founding Board Member and Special Events Chairman of the Texas Bowl.  He was a Board Member and Vice President of the Organization Committee for Houston of the 2011 NCAA Final Four Basketball Championship.  Chairing numerous committees for the Bureau, Mr. Henderson was an integral member of the team that solicited and secured Super Bowl 2004 and served on the Host Committee for the Bowl as well.

Since arriving in Houston in January 2008, first-time General Manager of the Year award recipient Joe Palmieri has made a significant impact not only on the Hilton Americas but the local community as well.  He volunteers by serving in leadership positions on local and state boards including the Catch A Dream Foundation, Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston and Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau as well as the 2011 Chair of the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association.

In being nominated by his employees, it was noted that he participates in each and every  event where his hotel team members are involved.  He encourages employee participation in the community and supports a number of causes, including the Gulf Coast East Texas Blood Center,  American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Star of Hope Mission.  He can be seen on the line encouraging his teams to excel.

His focus on the employees led to the Standard and Poor’s upgrading the Hilton America-Houston’s service rating to an A++++ in September 2011.  In 2010, Mr. Palmieri led the way for the Hilton Americas – Houston to be certified as the first Green Seal certified hotel in the state of Texas as well as completed an $11 million renovation in 2011.

During the evening gala, seven additional awards were given to individuals and a team of individuals chosen from more than 30 individuals and company nominations, divided by their job categories and activities within the industry. Candidates for the awards were nominated by their peers and employers, and the winners were chosen by a panel of industry leaders outside Southeast Texas. The awards recognized men and women whose day-to-day contributions give hospitality its meaning as well as awards going to a company or individual allied to the industry through its work and participation with the Association and to two students from the Conrad N. Hilton College for their exemplary work as students and hotel interns.

Winners List:
Lifetime Achievement Award - Donald J. Henderson, President and CEO of DJH      Consulting, LLC
Allied Partner - Sonya Yeglin, Style Consultants, Cintas
Food & Beverage - Scott Chapman, Food & Beverage Director, Marriott Energy Corridor
General Manager of the Year - Joe Palmieri, GM of Hilton Americas, Houston
Guest Services - Fidel Caballero, Senior Rooms Operations Manager, Marriott West Loop
Houston Spirit - Strike Force, Courtyard/Residence Inn Houston Medical Center
Operations - Ronald Poole, Security Officer, Hilton Americas - Houston
Sales / Marketing/ Convention Services / Catering Award - Jason Purifoy, Director of Group Sales, Westin Houston Memorial City Hotel
Outstanding Lodging Students - Aftim J. Nassar and Maged Ayyad, seniors, Conrad N. Hilton College

The awards gala was held at the InterContinental Houston near The Galleria.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Haynes with the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston at (713) 437-5266.

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Mark G Hanna
Customer First

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Also See: Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston Elects 2011-2012 Board with Tom A Mathews as Chair / July 2011

The Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Houston Honors Hospitality Employees For Going Beyond Their Jobs; Douglas Horn Recipient of Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award / November 2010

Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston Elects 2010-2011 Executive Board; Tom Rosepink Elected as Chair of Board of Directors / July 2010

The Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Houston Honors Hospitality Employees For Going Beyond Their Jobs / November 2009

The Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston Elects Jim Mills, GM of The Houstonian Hotel as its 2009-2010 Board of Directors Chair / June 2009

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