Columbus Hospitality Workers Honored as Heroes

In a surprise ceremony at Convening Leaders 2023, PCMA Foundation and The Above and Beyond Foundation recognized three Columbus front-line hospitality workers with grants.

Author: Curt Wagner       

3 honorees with oversized checks

Tom Barnhardt (from left), Julius Jones, and Viridiana Perez Lopez were each awarded $3,000 grants along with their Heroes of Hospitality award. (Whatever Media Group)

PCMA Foundation and The Above and Beyond Foundation (TAABF) honored three Columbus hospitality employees Jan. 10 during a surprise ceremony at PCMA Connect. The Heroes of Hospitality Award is given to “front-line workers who embody the heart of hospitality through an extraordinary single act of service that is truly above and beyond.”

The honorees each received $3,000 grants during the presentation, in which the individuals who nominated them spoke. The honorees and their organizations are:

Tom Barnhardt, guest service ambassador at the Greater Columbus Convention Center — Barnhardt, wrote the convention center’s human resources manager Kasandra Cook in his nomination form, helped secure a guest’s future when he found a letter the guest had dropped at the facility that contained her application for an academic scholarship. Barnhardt noticed the impending deadline and mailed in the application, then contacted the guest and told her. The grateful guest thanked him and later reported that if not for his action, she would not have received the scholarship. “It’s easy to perform one great task but when this behavior is the norm, and when you can see consistent outstanding service — well, this is just who that person is,” Cook wrote.

Viridiana Perez Lopez, inspector at the Graduate Columbus Hotel — Deisy Ocampo, housekeeping manager at the Graduate, wrote that Lopez “deserves this grant because she inspires her coworkers to make a difference every day.” She always has the best interest of hotel guests in mind and offers extra help and service.

Julius Jones, banquets at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown — “My job as the banquet director would be much more difficult without [Julius] to lean on as a resource,” wrote Braden Williamson, who nominated Jones. During a summer heat wave the hotel’s air-conditioning went out, so Jones worked with the kitchen to offer frozen treats at break stations and to make sure all water bottles were refrigerated for guests to cool down. He also made sure iced coffee was offered to guests along with traditional coffee options. “The guests … were blown away by the ingenuity and hospitality,” Williamson wrote.

Curt Wagner is digital editor at Convene.

Become a Member

Get premium access to provocative executive-level education, face-to-face networking and business intelligence.