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My Town: WAVE Award winners
My Town: WAVE Award winners

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The businesses and people who take the Grand Rapids experience above and beyond are being honored.

More than 60 people were nominated for this year’s Way Above Visitor Expectations (WAVE) awards.  A panel of judges whittled down the nominees to just eight who exceled in attitude, attentiveness, performance, knowledge and consistency within the local hospitality industry. 

Guests and employers nominated over 62 individuals in eight categories between April and October. A judging panel evaluated the nominees on a set of criteria, including the individual’s attitude, attentiveness, performance, knowledge and consistency within the local hospitality industry. Winners were selected in the categories of Restaurants/Breweries, Attraction/Events, Lodging 150+ Rooms, Lodging less than 150 Rooms, Nightlife, Retail/Service, Volunteer in Hospitality and Transportation.

The 2014 winners include:

  • Restaurants/Breweries: Kevin Doyle, Terra GR (formerly)
  • Lodging 150+ Rooms: Tim Russ, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
  • Lodging Less than 150 Rooms: Ben Rastello*, CTA, Holiday Inn Express Grandville
  • Nightlife: Raeanne Lupo, Brewery Vivant
  • Transportation: Jon Clark, Runabouts
  • Retail & Service: Veronica Aho, CTA, DGRI Safety Ambassador Program
  • Attractions/Events: Corey Barton, Grand Rapids Art Museum  
  • Volunteer in Hospitality: Mark Jastrzembski, Meijer State Games Volunteer

* Accepting posthumously for Ben is his employer, Catherine Novak, and his wife, Mandy Rastello.

"We are so grateful to the hospitality industry for their continued dedication to providing the guests to our city the best experience possible. The Impacting Hospitality Celebration allows us to display our gratitude and sincere appreciation by acknowledging the many service providers and Hometown Champs that have each gone above and beyond to provide exceptional service, create memorable experiences and bring new convention business to Grand Rapids,” said Experience Grand Rapids President Doug Small.

The eight winners are automatic nominees for the Stars of the Industry Awards, which will be announced during the 2015 Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference.

Nominations for the 2015 WAVE Awards will be accepted from April through October.

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