Lepore, Panaggio, Cooke, RWP Zoo honored at PWCVB annual meeting

KIMBERLY GREENE (left), chairman of the board of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau and Martha Sheridan, PWCVB president and CEO, congratulate Larry Lepore, general manager of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and the RI Convention Center. Lepore was inducted into the PWCVB’s Hall of Fame at its annual meeting. / COURTESY PROVIDENCE WARWICK CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU
KIMBERLY GREENE (left), chairman of the board of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau and Martha Sheridan, PWCVB president and CEO, congratulate Larry Lepore, general manager of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and the RI Convention Center. Lepore was inducted into the PWCVB’s Hall of Fame at its annual meeting. / COURTESY PROVIDENCE WARWICK CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU

PROVIDENCE – A healthy local hospitality industry was celebrated Wednesday evening at the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau annual meeting.

The group tallied a fiscal year-end occupancy rate of 74.2 percent in Providence and touted eight hotel projects under development in the area as well as gains made by T.F. Green Airport.

Additional feats from fiscal year 2018 noted by the PWCVB Wednesday evening include a net $73.7 million in direct spending from events booked by the PWCVB such as meetings, conventions and sporting events in Rhode Island during that period. The direct spend figure includes lodging for both event attendees and organizers, transportation around the area, food and beverage, retail and space rental, and business services.

The bureau also also said it secured 238 “definite” bookings which translate to 112,464 future hotel room nights.

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Roughly 275 people attended the event which saw the Roger Williams Park Zoo named the PWCVB Partner of the Year.

Leonard Panaggio was honored with a Special Recognition award for her role in the early development of the PWCVB.

Lawrence Lepore, general manager of the R.I. Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, was inducted into the PWCVB Hall of Fame for his management of the two facilities.

In a statement, Martha Sheridan, PWCVB president and CEO, said of Lepore: “Both the Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center are meant to be revenue generators for the entire state.  Larry has always understood this, working with us and with our clients to bring business in that, in turn, benefits the entire hospitality community and increases tax revenue.”

For his role developing the Firecracker Baseball tournament, which includes more than 120 participating teams, Mark Cooke presented the Sports Champion award.

In addition, 24 employees from the local tourism industry were honored with Recognition of Service Excellence, or ROSE, awards Wednesday evening. They are:

  • Thomas Leveille, houseperson at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Crossings
  • Hector Melendez, houseman at the Dean Hotel
  • Mike Lamantia, video production manager at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center
  • Dan Harrington, tour guide and driver with Experience RI Tours
  • Megan McNulty, front desk supervisor at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Providence/Warwick Airport
  • Amani El-Machiah, server at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse
  • Tim McLean, waiter at Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse
  • Quinn Bryan, bartender at The Guild
  • Robert McCray, bell captain at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina
  • Shellie Napolitano, breakfast attendant at the Hampton Inn & Suites Providence/Warwick Airport
  • Faith Ruiz, front desk agent at the Hilton Providence
  • Elizabeth Son, breakfast host at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Warwick
  • Roselyn “Guiliana” Young, gondolier at La Gondola
  • Sara Taborda, lead room attendant at the Marriott Courtyard Lincoln
  • John Hirschboeck, project director at the Newport Daffodil Festival
  • Katya Dasilva, cafeteria attendant at the Omni Providence Hotel
  • Alyssa Mariano, human resource coordinator at the Providence Biltmore Hotel
  • Antonio Acuna, server and bartender at the Providence G Pub
  • Zachary Pisano, banquet captain at the Providence Marriott Downtown;
  • Fernando Cepeda, overnight lobby attendant at the Renaissance Providence Downtown
  • Eileen Renaud, office manager at the RI Convention Center
  • Jesse Emerson, bartender at the Rooftop at the Providence G
  • Kathryn Dacier, bartender at Twin River Casino
  • Myla Madriaga, cook at Twin River Event Center
  • Carole Degnan, waitress at Wicked Good Bar & Grille

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.