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Orlando, Florida, January 2015 - The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA), under the leadership of president and CEO Lynn Minges, has been recognized by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) for achieving the highest percentage increase in their year-over-year sales of AHLEI products among all American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Partner State Associations (PSA) in 2014.

According to Shelly Weir, AHLEI's vice president, domestic sales, NCRLA is the second dual association (restaurant and lodging) to earn this honor since AHLEI began offering the sales award, and the only dual association in the top finishers for 2014. She added that North Carolina had made "significant strides" in promoting hospitality education and training, particularly in the area of workforce development using AHLEI's resources. She cited several new training partnerships in western North Carolina as a deciding factor in NCRLA's sales achievement. 

NCRLA has also been instrumental in coordinating key meetings with the state's Department of Public Instruction in order to present AHLEI's high school hospitality curriculum to state decision makers. Weir also noted that Ranita Bullock, NCRLA's education programs manager, has been certified to teach Guest Service Gold®, which provides even more opportunities for the association to sell AHLEI products and certifications. 

"Ensuring a strong pipeline of well-trained workers to meet the job demands of our growing hospitality industry in North Carolina is vital to our continued success. We are proud to be a part of providing quality training programs in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute," said Minges. 

Weir presented Minges and her staff (pictured above, from left: Pollen Williamson, Alyssa Barkley, Lynn Minges, Ranita Bullock) with the 2014 Outstanding PSA Award during a visit on Monday, January 12. 

Other leading partner state associations in 2014 were the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association (2nd), the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (3rd), and the California Hotel & Lodging Association (4th). 

About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI)

Established in 1953 as the nonprofit education and training arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), AHLEI's mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to educate, develop, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.

Contact: Elizabeth Johnson, Senior Public Relations & Marketing Manager / +1.517.318.2359

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