Visit Salt Lake Bestows Second Annual SALT Awards

2nd Annual SALT Awards at the Capitol Theatre, presented by Visit Salt Lake

Awards Honored Salt Lake County’s Hospitality Workers

Salt Lake City (June 2023) — _Hospitality employees provide vital
support for Salt Lake County’s visitor economy and Visit Salt Lake
recognized the stars of our tourism industry at the second annual SALT
Awards were held on June 15 at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre.

The awards celebrated hospitality workers who exemplify service,
accomplishment, leadership, and tenacity (SALT), with categories in the
lodging and dining industries as well as an award that encompassed those
involved with attractions, venues, caterers, and transportation
providers.  Each award recipient was recognized with an engraved SALT
crystal award and a $1,000 check.

New this year was a “Best Boss” award for general managers, owners, or
executive-level positions. The awardee of this category had the
opportunity to have $1,000 donated in their business’s name to the
charity of their choice.

“We’re so proud of our hospitality workers in Salt Lake County,”
said Kaitlin Eskelson, president & CEO. “They’re on the front lines
every day and really are the backbone of our visitor economy. This is a
great way to honor our colleagues by celebrating their service to our

This year’s sponsors include the Penthouse Sponsor, Nicholas & Co. and
the Presidential Suite sponsor, Modern Expo & Events.

The “Dining – Behind the Scenes” award went to Haydar Abu
Khamseen, Cook II at Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops and Trofi at the
Hilton City Center. His colleagues shared: “Haydar always brings
warmth and laughter to this team, even on the hardest days. In addition
to his work, he is active in community service efforts that are unique
and far-reaching. He finds what others might think have lost their
value, fixes them up and sends them to disenfranchised communities all
over the world.”

The “Dining – Front & Center Award was awarded to Casey Bard,
Assistant Banquet Manager with Log Haven. His nominator had high praise:
“Casey’s signature calm, composed demeanor and genuine care have
earned him the trust and admiration of all their clients, constantly
receiving personalized feedback for making their most special days come
to life. He approaches every event with meticulous attention to detail,
ensuring that no aspect is overlooked and that every element is executed

The “Lodging – Behind the Scenes” Award winner was Sonia Tapia,
Executive Housekeeper at Four Points by Sheraton-Airport. Her co-workers
said of her, “Sonia was able to elevate her department to be ranked #8
out of all the of her brand’s hotels throughout the U.S. and
Canada. While juggling caring for a family of eight, she fought to get a
well-deserved raise and a bonus program implemented for her staff,
allowing the hotel to remain fully staffed in housekeeping when other
hotels were struggling.

The “Lodging Front & Center” Award was given to Lauralee Church,
Reservations Manager at Alta Chalets. Admiration for her included,
“During this banner snow year in Little Cottonwood Canyon with
multiple days of closures, Lauralee worked tirelessly with countless
guests to relocate, arrange transportation, and ensure they still had a
wonderful vacation. We have been getting gifts and letters praising her
work and thanking them for helping make their vacation a success.”

The “Scenemaker” award went to Ray Meadows, Sales Manager for Le
Bus.  Ray’s co-workers said of him, “Working many hours every day
behind the scenes to ensure that the job is done, Ray interacts with
every customer with enthusiasm and a smile on his face. His colleagues
feel that the company would not be where they are today without his
insight and direction.”

The Best Boss Award received a record number of nominations and was
given to Brittany Clelan, Vice President of Human Resources for Grand
America. Her colleagues spoke very highly of her. “Brittany instills a
genuine sense of trust and partnership in the team, teaching with
patience and kindness. She is always willing and able to dig in and get
the job done through hard work, motivation, and inspiration.”

The Overall Spirit of Service Award was bestowed upon Javier Barrera,
Cook and Former Kitchen Manager for Marriott City Center. Javier was
lauded by his team, “Javier’s dedication, leadership, and commitment
to excellence have not only significantly contributed to the success of
this hotel’s culinary department but has also elevated the overall
guest experience. In his 22 years of employment, his leadership,
professionalism, and the ability to inspire and motivate the kitchen team
have been truly remarkable.”

_# # # _

_Visit Salt Lake is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for
the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. In
partnership with Salt Lake County, Visit Salt Lake improves the area
economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure
travelers, sports events, and visitors with a strong commitment to
sustainability and stewardship of the area’s natural environment.
Through its sales and marketing programs, Visit Salt Lake’s impact on
Salt Lake’s annual $4.5 billion visitor economy equates to $1,238 in
tax relief for each household within Salt Lake County. For more
information on all that Salt Lake has to offer, go to

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