The Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau was joined by Governor Daniel J. McKee, Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi and elected officials, partners and community leaders from across the state for its annual meeting yesterday at the Crowne Plaza. The celebration focused on building the future during this period of transition, growth and opportunity. The event’s “Buy Local RI” theme was a fitting celebration of the local businesses that contribute to our statewide economy and a nod to the revival of the iconic Rhode Island Foundation campaign.
“2023 was the year that everything changed,” said PWCVB President and CEO Kristen Adamo, pointing to the PWCVB’s heightened role as a destination marketing organization. She highlighted the team’s integration into the fabric of the community.
“We are looking ahead with the support of a strategic five-year road map that helped us redefine our goals and set our sights on the future,” she continued. “This was also the year that we changed who we are and how we approach our work, especially to adapt to the changing travel habits in the market,” Adamo added. “Under the leadership of our sales and services team, we’ve launched a new campaign to incentivize smaller, single-property events booking during the hotels’ need period. And, with the development of the Tourism Improvement District, we are well-positioned to further ramp up efforts in marketing and sales to bring lucrative sports, meetings and conventions business to our region and bolster the state’s economy.”
The event honored Anika Kimble-Huntley and Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi with the James McCarvill Leadership Awards, named for the late RI Convention Center Authority Executive Director. Kimble-Huntley was recognized for her creative marketing, leadership and collaboration with the state’s tourism regions. Speaker Shekarchi was honored for being a champion for tourism and backing legislation that supports the industry.
David DePetrillo, former Director of Tourism for the State of Rhode Island, was inducted into the PWCVB Hall of Fame for his lasting legacy on the industry, helping to propel it to become one of the state’s largest employers and revenue generators. The Partner of the Year Award was given to Providence Ghost Tour for its captivating storytelling that celebrates Providence’s history. Peter Campisani of the Omni Providence Hotel was named Hospitality Sales and Service Partner of the Year for his collaboration in building the success of the market.
During an emotional posthumous recognition, PWCVB leadership honored the late John Gibbons, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Sports Commission (a division of the PWCVB) who passed away in June. He had a profound impact on the tight-knit team he worked with and left a lasting legacy on the sports landscape in Rhode Island. His family joined the PWCVB to accept the Sports Champion Award, now renamed the John Gibbons Sports Champion Award in his memory.
The PWCVB also honored 26 frontline industry workers, nominated by the leadership at their organizations, with Hospitality Hero Awards. They are:
· Raymond Andreozzi, Banquet Captain at Bally’s Twin River
· Josh Antuna, Archery Host and Expert at Archery Games Providence
· T’shon Ayala, Support, Barback and Food Runner at Res American Bistro
· Allison Barry, Cultural Affairs Manager at The Department of Art, Culture and Tourism
· Laurie Bembry, Guest Agent at Clarion Hotel
· Ashley Bizier, Moonshine Events Director at Moonshine Alley
· Jennifer Blanchet, Shuttle Driver at Hampton Inn & Suites Providence Downtown
· Biane Braz, Cook at G Pub
· Christopher Burt, Cook at Wicked Good Bar & Grill
· Phil Cannistraci, Tour Guide and Transportation Driver at Experience Rhode Island
· Anthony Cardaci, Food Runner at Rooftop at the G
· Naylah Clerjuste, Front of House Manager at Angelo’s Civita Farnese
· Sarah Hartland, Server at Gracie’s
· Fallon King, Assistant Manager at Caffe Nero
· Krystle Lindberg, Deputy Finance Director at City of Providence
· Roberto Mattiello, Casino Cafe and Grille Bartender at Bally’s Tiverton
· Richard Ryan, Group Sales Manager at Crowne Plaza
· Helen Richter, Barista at Ellie’s
· Jacqueline Salera, Bartender at Bally’s Twin River
· Sal Santiago, Housekeeping Manager at Courtyard Providence Downtown
· Jeremiah Santos, Cook at Sarto
· David Schiavone, Server at Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse
· Officer Lincoln Sisson and K9 Kyra, Explosive Detection K9 at Amica Mutual Pavilion andRhode Island Convention Center
· Cindy Sousa, Accounting Manager at Fairfield Inn & Suites
· Lynne Webster, Server at Mill’s Tavern
· Jean Claude Wehbe, Purchasing and Account Payable Manager at Providence Marriott Downtown
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