The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted its 21st Annual Recognition of Service Excellence (ROSE) Awards on Sept. 23 at the Detroit Opera House.

As we’ve recently been reminded in Detroit, hospitality is vitally important. Attendees at both the massive ELCA Youth Gathering and American Society of Association Executives conferences left raving about how they were treated during their visit. Those sorts of reviews go a long way toward ensuring that tourism and the meetings and events industry in Detroit and the state of Michigan continue to rebound.

The ROSE Awards, which Michigan Meetings + Events sponsored this year, were created to recognize those who give their all to taking care of others. The program included WXYZ's Glenda Lewis as mistress of ceremonies and entertainment by the Rodney Lamar Page Band (whose violin cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” was stellar.) About 600 guests, many of them friends and family of the nominees, attended what was a very festive event.

The nominations are provided by clients, guests, supervisors and the general public, with one winner in each of six categories. Additionally, one the event recognizes one Overall Service Champion, selected by a panel of hospitality professionals. The 2015 category winners were:

  • Attractions and Casinos: Ernie Miedema, engineer, MotorCity Casino 
  • Behind the Scenes: Denise Spernak, housekeeping supervisor, the Dearborn Inn, A Marriott Hotel
  • Hotels: Matt Galat, gallery host, Hyatt Place Detroit/Utica
  • Restaurants: Sandra Gaines, server, Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
  • Transportation: Kathy Means-Lake, customer service agent, Delta Air Lines
  • Volunteers: Gwendolyn Britton, volunteer, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

The Overall Service Champion was Michael Kane, a Detroit police officer. In addition, the William F. McLaughlin Hospitality Award for Service Excellence, the only award in the state of Michigan that honors customer service excellence in businesses, was given to the Wayne County Airport Authority.

Congratulations to them all. And thanks for working so hard to make us all look good.

Cowboys aren't known for sitting around, and the American Cancer Society’s annual Cattle Baron’s Ball aims to keep its attendees on its feet. 

The ball, held Sept. 24 at Cobo Center, drew 700 attendees and raised $1 million to support the society’s mission. It featured a strolling supper with local celebrity chefs making their signature item; a live auction; and entertainment. The event, though open to the public, is primarily a corporate fundraiser that draws its support from sponsorships. 


Meeting Professionals International, the official sponsor of Smart Monday, has added five new programs to the inaugural day of IMEX America.

Paws for a Break

MPI is teaming up with Love Dog Adventures—a Las Vegas animal-assisted therapy program. Designed as a stress-reducing activity, several dogs will be present during Smart Monday for attendees to cuddle with. These puppy sessions are quickly becoming a hot new trend and have been featured in a number of World Education Congresses. Puppy Cuddling is sponsored by Visit Norfolk.