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First HOSPis salute Corpus Christi tourism work

Accepting the CHERRi Award for the Texas State Aquarium at the HOSPiS May 9, 2017, were (from left) Anna Jones, sales manager; Jennifer Vela, director of sales; and Julie Gonzales, sales representative. This was first year of the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau held a HOSPi event, which is designed to honor the people and organizations that positively impact the tourism and meeting industry. Courtesy photo

Local leaders in the hospitality business were honored for their efforts in “creating excellence in tourism” in the Coastal Bend at the first-ever HOSPi awards. Short for hospitality, the HOSPis held its inaugural dinner and awards ceremony at the South Texas Museum of Art on May 9. The event was a partnership between the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Greater Corpus Christi Hospitality Association.

The awards are designed to honor individuals and groups making an impact in the tourism and meeting industry.

The 2017 categories and winners are:


An industry professional or group that continually brings business to Corpus Christi and directly generates economic impact through HOT (Hotel Occupancy Tax).

Laura Traylor– LT Convention Planning (Texas FFA and Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas)


An individual or group that has transformed the tourism market in Corpus Christi by attracting new visitors to the area.

Buc Days and the Buccaneer Days Commission


A non-industry advocate and champion for the tourism industry in Corpus Christi.

Angie Flores, chief advisor, Rep. Todd Hunter’s office


Recognizes an individual under the age of 35 who shows promising leadership and vision in the Corpus Christi tourism industry.

Deana Lara, director of sales, Best Western Corpus Christi

Heart of House Employee of the Year

Recognizes excellence in back-of-house service employees who engage indirectly with the public, customers and tourists by providing services that are experienced but not necessarily seen.

• Attraction Category: Darryl Meadows, director of event services, SMG-managed American Bank Center

Hotel Category: Judith Martinez, lobby attendant, Omni Hotel Corpus Christi

Restaurant Category: Jesse Montalva, culinary professional, Longhorn Steakhouse

Face of House Employee of the Year

Recognizes excellence in front-of-house service employees who engage directly with the public, customers and tourists.

• Attraction Category: Laura Gonzales Jasso, special events coordinator, Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Department

• Hotel Category: Delma De Leon, front desk supervisor, Best Western Corpus Christi

• Restaurant Category: Casey Lain, owner, House of Rock/Pizza Kitchen


Special award presented to an industry professional or group that has performed a remarkable and noteworthy achievement for the tourism industry.

Texas State Aquarium

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