Gwinnett's top hospitality industry professionals receive awards

BUFORD -- In December, 145 of Gwinnett's hospitality industry professionals attended the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau's Annual Tourism Awards and Holiday Luncheon at the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center -- and many of them walked away with awards.

"Throughout the year, these businesses work with their clients, but we also look at what they're doing with the local community to represent Gwinnett County as a whole," GCVB's Executive Director Lisa Anders said. "These awards have become a pretty big deal because people in the hospitality industry don't get recognized everyday unless something is wrong."

At the luncheon, 13 individuals and organizations went home with awards, including Malinda Foster, the director of sales at the Courtyard by Marriott Mall of Georgia, who was recognized as the industry professional of the year.

"Malinda Foster's nomination was interesting because she was nominated 17 times by different people, including competitor hotels. That's rare," Anders said. "The hotel business is very competitive. We heard from people who work with her, for her and against her."

Another highlight at the ceremony was for Norcross Cluster Schools Partnership. Each year, the GCVB and the entire hospitality community adopt a charity to support and this nonprofit was chosen.

To help Norcross Cluster, the group ran a book drive with the goal of collecting 1,000 books. Between all of the hotels, restaurants and other businesses, they collected more than 2,000 books.

"Reading is a big thing for me, so I was so happy it was such a great success," Anders said. "It goes to show that Gwinnett's hospitality community goes above and beyond every year for others."

For more information about Norcross Cluster, visit www.norcrosscsp.org.