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One of Massachusetts’ finest tourism industry traditions took place this week at the 24th Annual Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence was held in Springfield on May 20, 2019. The event attracted 300+ tourism industry professionals, who gathered at the Aria Ballroom at MGM Springfield to cheer on their colleagues and take pride in a job well done.

Organized by the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB), the Howdy Awards honored 12 individuals from the hospitality industry, chosen from a pool of 57 finalists. These are front-line employees in the hospitality industry who go above and beyond in the performance of their duties and provide outstanding service to their guests and customers. By doing so, these professionals contribute to the economic vitality of the businesses they serve and the region overall.

GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra said, “We’re proud and happy to present the Howdy Awards to honor just some of the most important people in the hospitality industry, the frontline workers. They are usually the first person a visitor encounters, and if they’re especially nice and go above and beyond, that visitor is likely to return to that – and other – tourism locations.”

The finalists were selected by the Howdy Awards Committee from more than 400 nominations across nine categories. The Committee also selected the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to receive the Spotlight Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations for their dedication and outstanding contribution to the region’s hospitality industry. Finally, The People’s Choice Award, which is driven by social media via the Howdy Awards Facebook page, was also presented.

The Howdy Awards program consists of a nomination process for which any hospitality service provider in the region is eligible – regardless of whether their organization is a GSCVB member. Three respected industry leaders selected from outside Western Mass judged the finalists, and selected the winners in each category. The judges for this year’s event included Michael Quinlin of the Commonwealth Marketing Office, Cindy Brown of Boston Duck Tours and Steve Mills of Constellation Brands.

Each Howdy award winner received a decorative glass Hospitality Excellence Award, a framed certificate of achievement and a custom gift bag filled with gift certificates and other items from the region’s top tourism establishments.

Sponsors for the 2019 Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence include MGM Springfield, Yankee Candle Company, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, WWLP TV-22, Aladco Linen Co, Baystate Health, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Freedom Credit Union,, Performance Foodservice, Williams Distributing, IHeart Media, Eastern States Exposition and The Republican.

The GSCVB, an affiliate of the Economic Development Council of Western MA, is a private non-profit destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting Western Mass for meetings and conventions, group tours, sports and leisure travel.

For more information on the GSCVB, visit or like us on Facebook at and follow us on twitter using handle @XploreWesternMA. Engage with us using #westernmass.



Robin Brown, Director of Sales
Inn on Boltwood, Amherst

George Church, Guide
Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge

Banquet & Meetings:
Colin Shevlin, Lead Server
The Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, Holyoke

Cindy Liverpool – Bartender
The Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, Holyoke

Food – Casual:
Louanne Lortie, Owner
Lou’s Bagel Nook, Hampden

Food – Tableside:
Brianna Robles, Server
Red Robin, Holyoke

Public Service:
Lea Rivkin, Patient Advocate
Baystate Health System – Springfield

Tammy Campbell, Retail Associate
Kringle Candle Company, Bernardston

Michael Cruise, Director of Customer Care
Peter Pan Bus Lines – Springfield

Spotlight Winner:
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield

2019 People’s Choice Winner:
January Russell, Horace Mann Insurance, Agawam
& Patrick Bienvenue, The Student Prince, Springfield