THESE INDIVIDUALS ALWAYS HAVE A SMILE FOR YOU
Established in 1983, National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) is an annual tradition to celebrate the U.S. travel community and honor the essential role that travel plays in stimulating the economy, cultivating vibrant communities, creating job opportunities, and elevating the quality of life for Americans every day. Here at Visit Lebanon Valley, we may operate on a much smaller scale, but we still seek to celebrate and honor travel and tourism in all aspects of our work.
Travel and hospitality are at the heart of the Lebanon Valley, strengthening the culture and identity of our community. As ambassadors for tourism in the Lebanon Valley, we are proud to celebrate all that our industry has done for the community, and we hope to continue these contributions in the future.
With that, we are taking this week of celebration as an opportunity to honor some of the standout hospitality workers in the Lebanon Valley through our first ever Hospitality Star Awards. We hope that through this initiative we can elevate the message that travel and hospitality are important to our county in so many ways, including economic growth and development, job creation, and the preservation of our heritage and quality of life here in the Lebanon Valley.
The past three years have not been easy in the food and beverage industry, but April Bowalick has risen to the challenge in her role as the food and beverage manager and catering coordinator at the Miner’s Pub. While her work in ensuring every detail of every event is impressive alone, April doesn’t stop there. She’s a leader in her role and has mastered the skill of delegation, not to mention she has kept together her team of six food and beverage professionals throughout the chaos of the pandemic—an accomplishment that does well to summarize just how important April is to the community.
Mika Cook has been representing the Lebanon Valley for the past five years in her role as the community development specialist and box office manager for Gretna Music. Mika makes it her priority to provide a welcome environment for all visitors and always maintains a warm and friendly disposition even when stress (or unruly concertgoers) arise. From helping her coworkers and taking on extra tasks to greeting patrons and always having a Lebanon Valley favorite on hand to suggest for those new to the Valley, Mika is a great representation of the best that the Lebanon Valley has to offer.
As the front desk supervisor at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Lebanon, Erica Cox goes above and beyond in all aspects of her position and even more in the service she provides for guests. From the care she takes to ensure smooth operations within the hotel to the attention and hospitality she provides to make each and every stay pleasant, Erica is at the forefront of welcoming visitors to the Valley.
As the owner and operator of Horning Produce in the Lebanon Farmers Market, Maureen Horning sets the tone for a great farmers market experience. Providing exemplary customer service and maintaining a high-quality shopping experience are just the beginning in the value that Maureen provides to the market. With a warm smile for everyone who comes by, Maureen is not just a welcome face for the market but for the Lebanon Valley as a whole.
Whether it’s serving on a board or greeting new visitors to the Valley, Susan Hostetter has long been an outstanding representation of all things good in the Lebanon Valley. With accolades too numerous to count, like her role as chair of the Mt. Gretna Historical Society or the Chautauqua Summer programs, Susan excels in fostering a welcoming and positive experience for all who visit our county.
For the past six years, Heather Kelley has been a loyal and hardworking staff member at the Whirling Dervish Bakery & Coffee Shop. As manager, Heather keeps the shop organized and running smoothly, but even more she fills the shop with her infectious laughter and joy. From making batters with shop owner Becky Gacano to serving each and every customer with a smile, Heather is an invaluable member to Whirling Dervish Bakery and Coffee Shop.
In her role as an associate at the Maple Street McDonald’s, Gina Longenecker has a positive attitude and is a joy for everyone she encounters. She faces each day with enthusiasm and always brings a friendly air to the workplace. Whether its donning bunny ears to bring cheer for the holidays or sharing a compliment with a coworker, Gina Longenecker represents the Lebanon Valley well!
For the past five years, Sasha Moyer has been an ambassador for the Lebanon Valley as a barista at Swatara Coffee Company. She’s got a breadth of knowledge about coffee and is always ready with a delicious suggestion, but even more, she has a passion for people, remembering the names of her regulars even after just one visit. For coworkers and customers alike, Sasha fosters a sense of belonging and warmth just like that of an old friend.
As the general manager for the Lebanon Valley Golf Course, Aaron Stupp has brought an attitude of gratitude that has transformed the club atmosphere. From longtime employees to course regulars, the new ideas and upbeat, customer-focused perspective that Aaron brings have been a catalyst for positive change. Once a longtime customer and now the general manager, Aaron is never afraid to try something new and is a leader in providing the best golf experience in the Valley.
Lebanon County Career & Technology Center
The Culinary and Pastry Art Programs at the Lebanon County CTC run and operate a retail Pastry Shop and a full-service restaurant, The Hilltop Cafe. Both are open to the public each week Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Students in these programs gain a real world experience. These programs are American Culinary Federation (AFC) accreditied and were the first to be dual accredited in the country. The menue changes daily and allows the students to learn a wide range of styles and cooking techniques. Themed weeks frun throughout the school year from Fab 50’s, Mardi Gras, and Star Wars.