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Tammy Brown — Event Concierge
Indianapolis Marriott Downtown
Tammy Brown, event concierge at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, is a Lifetime Achievement Award winner for her 20 years in the hospitality industry. Brown describes herself as a “blue-collar, lunch-box-carrying, no-nonsense, get-er-done” kind of woman. Her fellow employees simply call her a “difference-maker.” The difference she makes is on many fronts, with many people. She gives 100 percent of herself, 100 percent of the time. One notable example among many is this: Not long ago, a group holding its national convention learned the day before the convention began that its registration packet contained incorrect information. After a call to the printer, the group was told the corrected information couldn’t be delivered by the next day. Brown volunteered to drive to the printer the next morning and pick up the materials herself. But when she did, she noticed other errors and demanded they be corrected. Eventually, she made two more return trips to the printer but, in the end, she got the material to the convention, correct and on time.
Katie Murphy — Night Auditor
Brickyard Crossing Resort and Inn
Katie Murphy, a Lifetime Achievement Award winner with more than 20 years in the hospitality industry is, according to her nominators, much more than a night auditor. They refer to her as “a concierge, bellman, mother, counselor, waitress, housekeeper, chauffer, diplomat and stand-up comedian.” Consider this example of Murphy’s devotion: because a guest’s son was burned in an accident in southern Indiana and transferred to the burn unit at Methodist Hospital, the guest began staying at the Brickyard Crossing Inn. Once Murphy learned of the guest’s situation, she befriended her. To save on gas money, Murphy drove the guest back and forth for hospital visits. She brought her home-cooked meals so she wouldn’t have to incur the expense of dining out. She even bought her a winter coat and provided other items of clothing, while also serving as a shoulder to cry on as the guest’s son would eventually succumb to his injuries. Now, that’s going above and beyond.
Steve Allen — Server
St. Elmo Steak House
With more than 25 years in the Indianapolis restaurant business and 20 years with St. Elmo Steak House, Steve Allen has been honored as a 2008 ROSE Award recipient and a Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Allen was lauded in his nomination for his especially helpful and beneficial service to his customers, especially for clients who are dining alone. For example, there was the solo guest who asked Allen for something to read. Allen inquired if there was something in particular he had in mind. The guest mentioned an obscure publication. Allen asked to be excused for a moment. He then left the restaurant, entered the nearby Circle Centre mall, found the publication and paid for him itself. In just a few minutes, he was back at that table, presenting the publication to his guest who was, needless to say, amazed. There also was the night a young lady dressed for the prom arrived at St. Elmo only to discover she’d been stood up. Since it was a slow night, the prom venue was nearby and Allen already was attired in a tuxedo, he took two hours off to serve as the young lady’s escort.
Dot Smith — Server
Le Peep Restaurant
Her nominators at Le Peep Restaurant downtown cited Dot Smith by writing she “embodies the essence of hospitality that our industry is built upon.” Also a Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Smith has been a fixture for 19 years at one of downtown’s best-known dining establishments. Her reputation for extraordinary service is such that restaurant management estimates that no fewer than 50 guests per week specifically ask to be seated in her section. In addition to providing exceptional service, however, Smith is also an ambassador for the city. Just a few years ago, she could be found circulating among the spectators assembled to watch the Circle City Classic parade. Shortly after the parade concluded, the restaurant was swamped with customers, asking to be served by “that charming woman who told us about your restaurant.” Another example: twice yearly, members of the Indianapolis-based American Legion convene for meetings and visit Le Peep. Smith has the uncanny ability to remember their food preferences from visit to visit. Le Peep’s managers frequently hear the same refrain from customer after customer … that Smith is the best server in the city. She also is a certified server trainer, which means La Peep’s new employees are learning from the best.
Joyce Ledell — Coach Operator
Joyce Ledell is a United Way leader, a school volunteer, a church volunteer and an Indianapolis Zoo volunteer. She is a union president, the first female to lead that particular group. And then, of course, there is the day job as an IndyGo coach operator. This veteran of 26 years in the hospitality industry – for which she also is a winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award – is a leader who commands attention and provides direction. In just three years, for example, her motivation and charisma inspired a nearly 600 percent increase in United Way giving by her fellow employees. Long after her son moved on from IPS School No. 14, she remains involved in planning and staffing school field trips. At her job, she is the familiar, friendly face who drives the IndyGo bus on Route 8, where customers praise her professionalism and courtesy. She knows that her passengers depend on her and she treats them as friends, not just riders. She is a champion for public transportation, especially among young people, going out of her way to show them how to efficiently use the system. She also is so outstanding behind the wheel that she was chosen to serve as a bus operator during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Dave Teepe — Stage Manager
Pacers Sports & Entertainment
It’s quite likely that most visitors and residents never see 2008 ROSE Award recipient Dave Teepe, stage manager for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. But, they see the results of his behind-the-scenes labor over and over again. This Lifetime Achievement Award honoree has worked in the hospitality industry for no less than 45 years. He has worked at venues such as Starlight Musicals, Indiana Convention Center, Clowes Hall, Market Square Arena and, since it opened in 1999, Conseco Fieldhouse. He’s is both a perfectionist and consummate professional. Representatives of the National FFA Convention, which stages daily events in Conseco Fieldhouse, laud our honoree for his effort and expertise. Said one of FFA organizers, “Each time he met with our staff, the level of confidence in attaining nothing short of excellence grew stronger and stronger. The pre-planning time and effort he put forth as we worked in transitioning the convention truly served as a foundation for us to achieve our high expectations. His assistance did not stop at the pre-planning stage, but continued through the entire time of our show. From the beginning of our move-in that started on 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning to the end of our show at 6 p.m. on the following Saturday, he worked side by side with our staff providing his professional knowledge and assistance. He was invaluable.” The work of this largely unseen individual is critical to retaining FFA for years to come. Said another nominator who has worked with Teepe producing the Heartland Film Festival, “As you know, our event brings people in from around the globe. It is people like him who allow us to portray our event and our city in the best possible light. If I had a vote for the Rose Award, I would actually try to vote for him twice.”
Trina Dingle — Box Office Associate
American Cabaret Theatre
You know what they say … that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Trina Dingle, a 2008 ROSE Award recipient and Box Office Associate at the American Cabaret Theatre, personifies that expression. At the ACT, she most often is the first person patrons encounter, whether in person or on the telephone. Her dedication has enabled the theatre to attract and retain patrons. Indeed, many now ask for her when they have ticket requests. A recent show producer specifically requested her customer service skills to help support ticket sales with groups and individuals. But, this is perhaps the best anecdotal evidence of Dingle’s dedication. In December, the weather service warned of an impending winter storm. When she learned of the weather threat, she drove to the theatre and began calling each and every one of the ticket holders for that evening’s performance, offering them the opportunity to exchange their tickets for another performance. Eventually, the performance was canceled, but not before Dingle had personally contacted all 154 ticket holders. Only then did she drive home in the midst of the snow and ice that arrived with the storm. With 25 years in the hospitality industry, including 20 years with the American Cabaret Theatre, Dingle is also a Lifetime Achievement Award honoree.
Tony Anderson — Customer Service Representative
Indianapolis Marriott East Hotel and Conference Center
Tony Anderson is honored for the extraordinary service he provides to guests, but also for how he represents his employer, and himself, in such an extraordinary way. In fact, the Marriott East is constantly receiving comments from guests about how pleasant and helpful this honoree is. Whether it is going above and beyond to help a paralytic guest or making sure an elderly guest was provided the assistance he needed to attend a conference or working through the holidays to help ensure the successful opening of 60 new guest rooms, Anderson arrives at work every day with a whatever-it-takes attitude. Although a relative newcomer to the hospitality industry, Anderson already has learned that there is nothing more valuable in making an impression on a visitor or guest than sincere, helpful service that comes adorned with a smile.
Vida Noffsinger — Front Desk Attendant
LaQuinta Inn East
In her three years at LaQuinta Inn East, Vida Noffsinger has so distinguished herself that she is honored as a 2008 ROSE Award recipient. More than a job, Noffsinger found a calling. Moffsinger has expanded her duties far beyond her role of checking guests in and out at the front desk. For example, there was the wheel-chair bound guest who discovered that the LaQuinta Inn’s new beds were too high for him to be able to access from his chair. No problem. Noffsinger took it upon herself to remove the legs from the bed. The guest wrote a letter to the hotel that no one had ever gone that far out of their way to make him comfortable. He also pledged to be a client of that hotel for the rest of his life. On another occasion, Noffsinger witnessed two young guests accidentally drop their pizza pie on the floor as they were going to their room. The pizza was inedible. No problem. Noffsinger called the pizza place, ordered another pie and then paid for it with her own money. Then, there was the elderly gentleman who slipped and fell on the ice in front of the hotel during a storm. Noffsinger helped him to his feet, brought him inside, gave him hot chocolate, helped him to his room, then went back outside to unload his luggage and deliver it personally to his room. Now that’s service.
Carol Mullins — Beautification Coordinator
Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.
Without question, the visitor experience in Indianapolis is enhanced by the beauty and cleanliness of downtown. Time and again, we hear wonderful compliments regarding the aesthetics of Indy. Carol Mullins, a 2008 ROSE Award recipient from Indianapolis Downtown Inc., where she is the Beautification Coordinator, is a major reason why. Her responsibilities include the design, installation and maintenance of the 200 planters and gardens downtown. She also coordinates the street tree lighting program and the decorative trash wraps program. When a big event comes to the city, such as the Indy 500 or an NCAA Final Four, she implements color coordinated floral plantings, white glove tours and special lighting programs. When the FFA National Convention is here, she works with their delegates on their National Day of Caring program. She has waged a personal war on graffiti, working with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Mayor’s Action Center, Prosecutor’s Office and the Department of Public Works to quickly identify and eradicate graffiti from downtown. Her work, in cooperation with IMPD, has resulted in 15 arrests and last fall, IMPD recognized our honoree with its Crime Fighter of the Year Award.
Samantha Tomlinson — Bartender/Cocktail Server
Ram Restaurant & Big Horn Brewery
Samantha Tomlinson of the downtown Ram Restaurant and Brewery may have been born with the desire to be of service to others, which is why she has been honored as a 2008 ROSE Award recipient. She began working at the Ram as a hostess, graduated to a server, moved into a shift leader position and now has become a bartender/cocktail server extraordinaire. Those who nominated her cited her willingness to arrive early and stay late, voluntarily fill in during busy times, instill teamwork in fellow employees, be cheerful and friendly at all times, help others and to engage customers in a positive, personal way. And, when need be, go above and beyond the call or normal duty. There was the time she found a wallet a guest left behind. Tomlinson, aware that the guest was from out of town, began calling downtown hotels until she located the owner of the wallet and then she returned it personally. On another occasion, when two ladies with small children wanted to leave the restaurant, but were frightened by a thunderstorm, Tomlinson took it upon herself to locate their car and drive it to the curb in front of the restaurant. Those little touches go a long, long way.
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