By Monica Goeke, CAE, WHLA
Spirit of Hospitality Awards
This award celebrates employees who have gone above and beyond to help their properties operate efficiently and exceed guest expectations. These individuals demonstrate the true spirit of hospitality in their work and stand out as extraordinary examples of industry excellence.
Hampton Inn & Suites Milwaukee/Brookfield
Rooms Revenue Manager
Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center
Director of Banquets and Catering
Lake Lawn Resort
Manager of Lodging & Event Sales
The Delafield Hotel
Food & Beverage Manager
Hampton Inn Appleton
Ironworks Hotel & Hotel Goodwin
Ambassador Hotel & Ambassador Inn
Guest Services Manager
Hampton Inn & Suites Franklin
Executive Housekeeping Manager
Home2 Suites Madison Central
The Waters of Minocqua
Wisconsin Lodging Hall of Fame
Established in 2021, the Wisconsin Lodging Hall of Fame recognizes industry leaders and Wisconsin hospitality pioneers who have contributed significantly to the lodging industry and the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association. On November 7, three individuals were inducted into the Wisconsin Lodging Hall of Fame.
Cal Worrell (1949 – 2005)
Long-time general manager of the Madison Concourse Hotel & Governor’s Club, jazz aficionado, and Madison industry leader, Cal Worrell was inducted into the inaugural class of the Wisconsin Lodging Hall of Fame.
An active member of WHLA, Cal served multiple terms on the board of directors. He was very active in the Greater Madison chapter, and hosted many local and statewide events at his property. His leadership and dedication also earned him the 1995 Innkeeper of the Year award. In recognition of his impact to the industry, the Cal Worrell Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a hospitality student annually through funding by the Greater Madison Hotel & Lodging Association and The Madison Concourse & Governors Club.
In remembrance and appreciation for his commitment to the lodging industry, Brandon McConnell presented the Hall of Fame award to the current general manager of The Madison Concourse Hotel & Governors Club, Steve Zanoni.
Bob Caston (1944 – 2002)
Life-long hospitality professional and hotel visionary Bob Caston was inducted into the 2022 Wisconsin Lodging Hall of Fame. Throughout his storied career and after his retirement Bob, was a mentor and friend to many in our organization.
His career took him from Florida to the Marcus Company in 1988, where he made his mark in roles at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, Woodfield Suites, Baymont Franchise International, and the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace. After a very short-lived retirement, Bob led the 99 million dollar renovation efforts at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison, and when the property re-opened he worked as the Director of Sales.
A consummate professional, Bob is remembered fondly by all those who were lucky enough to know him through the years. For his lasting legacy to the Wisconsin hotel industry and dedication to the hospitality profession Kevin Gallagher presented the Wisconsin Lodging Hall of Fame award to Bob’s widow, Sarah Caston.
In recognition of her contributions to WHLA and the tourism industry, Lola Roeh was recognized as an inductee to the 2022 Wisconsin Lodging Hall of Fame. As an accomplished hospitality and tourism professional with over 35 years of experience, she is respected and treasured for her leadership and contributions both in Wisconsin and Nationwide.
Under her leadership, The American Club was recognized as the first and only AAA five diamond property in the state of Wisconsin. As the long-time general manager of The Osthoff Resort, she led the resort in major development projects including the construction of the conference center, spa, restaurant, cooking school, lake deck and more.
Lola served numerous terms on the WHLA Board of Directors and was the Chair in 1996. She was awarded for her efforts in both 2002 and 2012 when she received WHLA’s Innkeeper of the Year Award. Her tourism efforts were recognized by the governor when she received Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Legacy award in 2014.
In honor of her service and dedication to the industry & the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association, Connie Barbian presented the Wisconsin Lodging Hall of Fame Award to Lola Roeh.
Associate of the Year
Carmen Smalley, CMP, CHE, Instructor and Lead Faculty of the Hospitality and Events Management program at the Milwaukee Area Technical College received the 2022 Associate of the Year award. This award recognizes an individual who serves Wisconsin’s lodging industry in an exemplary manner.
Carmen has been an instructor at MATC since 2014, where she provides oversight to the Event Management program and the Hospitality Management program. A hotel sales veteran, Carmen’s unique combination of real industry experience and her encouraging educational style has enabled her to strengthen the school to career pipeline for her students and Milwaukee area hoteliers.
She currently serves as an Associate Board Director for the Greater Milwaukee Hotel & Lodging Association, and was a member of WHLA’s 2022 Strategic Planning Task Force.
Corporate Champion of the Year
Jay Schumerth, Hostmark Hospitality Group was recognized as the 2022 Corporate Champion of the Year. This award recognizes a key management individual who owns or operates lodging properties in Wisconsin for their high level of achievements.
Jay Schumerth is the Vice President of Operations at Hostmark Hospitality Group. In his role, Jay provides multiproperty oversight of Hostmark Hospitality Group’s diverse property portfolio, including the Delta Hotel Milwaukee Northwest in Wisconsin.
An active member of WHLA for the last five years, Jay currently serves as the Vice Chair of WHLA’s Board of Directors. Prior to this role, he served as treasurer of WHLA for 2 years during the most challenging time the industry and organization has ever seen.
“Jay Schumerth is a true leader in Wisconsin’s lodging industry, and we were happy to honor him with the WHLA Corporate Champion of the Year Award,” said Bill Elliott, WHLA President & CEO.
Innkeeper of the Year
Dave Sekeres, General Manager of Lake Lawn Resort was honored with the 2022 Innkeeper of the Year award. The Innkeeper of the Year Award is a time-honored tradition that recognizes an outstanding individual who exemplifies the hospitality industry in our state.
Dave has been the General Manager of Lake Lawn Resort, one of the largest resorts in the state, since 2011. With over 30 years of hospitality experience, including that from other resorts & hotels through several management companies, he was responsible, over the last decade, for the reopening, redeveloping, and reimagining of Lake Lawn Resort. Additionally, he also holds the Secretary position for the board of directors of the Lodges of Lake Lawn Resort Condominium. In 2020, Dave was responsible for expanding the Lake Lawn brand and management to include the Delavan Lake Resort under the company’s portfolio.
Locally, he is involved in many community events including the development of the Sky Circus on Ice Winter Festival in Delavan, for which he is the chairperson. Dave has been the chairperson for the city of Delavan’s Tourism Commission since its establishment in 2016. He is an Executive Committee Board Member of Visit Lake Geneva & has served as the Chairperson since 2019. Previously Dave was a member of the board of directors for the Walworth County Visitors Bureau and Vice President for the Delavan-Delavan Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.
On the state level he is an active director for the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association Board, and the chair for the legislative action committee. Nationally, Dave is a previous award recipient from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and on behalf of the industry speaks on various advocacy topics currently facing hotels & tourism in general. Previously, Dave taught various hospitality and tourism classes at Gateway Technical College in Elkhorn, WI as an adjunct professor, and currently is committee chair for the school’s Hospitality Management Advisory Committee. Dave is the DD Tech Governance Board President for the local high school, and a founding member of this new charter school. In 2022 he was selected to the Board of Directors for WCEDA (Walworth County Economic Development Alliance).
“Dave’s dedication and commitment to Wisconsin’s lodging industry and to his local community make him a very deserving recipient of the WHLA Innkeeper of the Year Award.” said Bill Elliott, WHLA President & CEO.
Board Chair Recognition
For his commitment to WHLA and service as the 2022 Chair of the Board of Directors, Brandon McConnell was presented with a mounted crystal gavel at the Awards Luncheon.
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