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Awards of Distinction Finalist Spotlight: Hospitality Service

Publish Date: 2020-05-06

What about your business / organization is inspiring to you?

Adam Pregno, Marriott International: Marriott, the company I work for, is inspiring to me because as a company our belief is to take care of our associates and our associates will in turn take care of our guests.  This has been the company’s motto since day one and holds true till today.

Tom Bauer, Hospitality Volunteer: I love paying it forward. I am fortunate that I am able to donate my time, treasure and talent, as some put it. I didn't grow up with much, but over the years I have done okay. Volunteering is my favorite way to pay it forward. For example I have so enjoyed volunteering for Special Olympics NY. I have been a Captain at winter and summer games here in Dutchess. It’s always great to be a part of such a caring organization as SONY.

Djan Paunovic, Terrapin Restaurant: The people - both our guests and our team. I feel like this nomination is a reflection of the entire team at Terrapin, not just me. Every single person on our staff goes above and beyond to make our restaurant the place that it is, welcoming to everyone from locals to out-of-town guests. We have great leadership and a really dedicated team, many of who I've worked with for nearly a decade (that's not that common in the restaurant industry). And our guests are just as loyal. It's great coming into work and creating experiences with my co-workers and our guests; it's like having a second family. 

How is your business / organization handling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Adam Pregno, Marriott International: Right now every aspect with-in the organization is looking at ways to keep associates employed and taken care of during this time. We are working with local health care professionals offering deeply discounted rates for first responders in addition to the National Guard. Our hotels are rolling out profit improved plans to ensure our owners see how we are being creative to save costs.  But most important is the safety of our associates and guests. Many measures are taken to ensure we get through this pandemic and come out strong when this is over.  

Tom Bauer, Hospitality Volunteer: Everything is pretty much closed up, but I have signed up through Dutchess County government to help out at Dutchess Responds with the MRD, Medical Reserve Corp.

Djan Paunovic, Terrapin Restaurant: Carefully. Our priority right now is keeping our team and our guests safe. We've moved to take-out only as most restaurants in the area have. Luckily, we have a great supporter base in our customers. It's been amazing to see the love from our guests and customers as so many changes take place so quickly. It shows how important relationships really are. We're seeing our guests support us in ways we've never imagined - keeping our staff that can't work right now afloat through donations to a "virtual tip jar," buying gift cards to use when we're back to regular service, sharing info on what we're offering with their friends and families, embracing our new take out model to feed their families. It's a tough time right now for everyone, so it means a lot to see the people we're used to serving stepping up to help us through this. We miss them! 

What are your hopes for the future of travel in Dutchess County?

Adam Pregno, Marriott International: My hope is people will frequent local businesses and have a staycation in Dutchess County! Give back to all the local establishments as many have been going through hard times right now. I for one will not be traveling out of state to Disney with the family this year. I commit to spending my vacation money locally and stay at a local family fun location. 

Tom Bauer, Hospitality Volunteer: I hope we can start to travel around the county and play the golf courses, visit the new restaurants and wineries, and just return to the "new normal" as quickly as possible. I know Dutchess County will bounce back, stronger and better than ever from this pause to our lives. We should take this time and re-evaluate our priorities.  I'm sure many of us have been doing just that. I want to thank ALL the first responders throughout Dutchess, the nation and the world for their tremendous sacrifice and effort to get us through the pandemic.

Djan Paunovic, Terrapin Restaurant: Dutchess County is one of the most beautiful places anywhere and I feel so lucky to live here. As more and more people realize what an amazing place we have here, I look forward to welcoming them and sharing a piece of the Hudson Valley with them. The craft beverage industry is thriving in Dutchess County right now, and it's great to be able to introduce our guests to so many delicious local options. I hope that we'll be able to welcome plenty of new faces and that local businesses will continue to grow and thrive, all while maintaining respect and appreciation for the incredible natural resources and beauty that surround us. 

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