AHATA Excellence Awards 2022 honors most-dedicated employees

This year marked the 5th anniversary of the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association, AHATA, award program.

The association was excited to host the special recognition dinner, again, after a hiatus. Dinner was followed by the award ceremony, on Saturday, December 3rd, 2022.

The 2022 AHATA Excellence Awards, honored the star employees of its member companies, which vary widely, covering every aspect of the vacation experience on the island. Every one of those member companies built their success on the hard work and relevant attitudes of their employees.

The evening highlighted the great diversity of the industry that has a direct effect on a wide spectrum of businesses and jobs, from hospitality to transfers, tours, food & beverage, to technology. Tourism touches every aspect of our life on the island and the benefits reaped are far-raching. It is thanks to tourism that we enjoy the ripple effect of economic prosperity.

The evening’s award-honorees were all selected by their companies, as most deserving. Many of them were already recognized internally. Saturday night they were recognized in front of their industry peers, in the presence of the Minister of Tourism, applauded by a room full of fans.

Shari Sield, Sales & Marketing Manager, Boardwalk Boutique Hotel

The first honoree for the evening enjoyed a strong background in tourist management and has worked in sales and marketing for the last 12 years, three of which she has devoted entirely to her present role as sales and marketing manager at a charming boutique hotel. She was selected for this honor because she continuously goes above and beyond, displaying enthusiasm and charisma, and has an unwavering love for Boardwalk!

Congratulations on a meritorious honor!

Maria Acosta, Administrator, Kini Kini Transfers & Tours

The following honoree has worked for the company for 5 1/2 years. She started out as a part-time administrative assistant and has since grown to Kini Kini’s full-time administrator, even assuming supervisory duties in the absence of management. Given that she is working a full-time job and getting her EPI degree in hospitality management, her commitment and desire to succeed have been extraordinary.

Girl, you rock! Keep up the fantastic work! Congratulations!

Edseline Tromp, Housekeeping Manager, Holiday Inn Resort Aruba

This devoted employee started out in the housekeeping department 37 years ago as a room attendant. She steadily advanced through the ranks, from Housekeeping Floor Supervisor to her current position as Housekeeping Manager, thanks to her proactive approach and excellent work ethics. She is always “in motion,” is extremely passionate about her job, and devoted to Holiday Inn.

Congratulations! Your perseverance has paid off, let’s celebrate the true queen that you are!

Gwendolyn Lake, Sales Representative, JL Penha Aruba

We recognize a most loyal person who has spent the last 35 years working at Penha, always displaying a consistently happy attitude, outstanding customer service, and great team play, being helpful to colleagues. Gwen is an invaluable asset for the company and a great ambassador for the island.

We want to express our gratitude for her continued commitment, over the years.

Maria Kock – van der Biezen, Financial Controller, Tropical Bottling Company

Twenty years ago, Maria began her career at Tropical Bottling working as an accounting clerk, she advanced through the ranks of the organization, and now she is the Financial Controller. She is reliable, committed, and precise in her work. She is also a great mentor to those who report to her and a great team player. She stands out at work for her meticulousness.

Continue your excellent work! Congratulations on your well-deserved honor!

Joan Tromp, Senior Room Attendant, Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa

This honoree is no stranger to well-deserved recognition. She began working at Manchebo as a room attendant through a contractor 19 years ago and was hired and then promoted to Senior Room Attendant in 2008. She has received numerous ‘employee of the quarter awards’ over the years, as well as the ‘cleanest rooms award’ 4 times in a row. She is an outstanding employee who is punctual, motivated, and a true team player. She personalizes each guest’s experience and adds a magical touch to their stay, while maintaining the same enthusiasm she had on her first day on the job.

Congratulations!  And thank you for setting such a wonderful example for us all!

Diana Betancourt, Bartender, AZIA Restaurant & Lounge

Eight years ago, a very charismatic and innovative individual started working for Gianni’s Group as an assistant bartender. She relocated to AZIA three years ago, where she was able to pursue her passion for crafting cocktails. Her distinct spirit of service and magnetism keeps both new and returning customers coming back for more. She is the recipient of the AHATA Excellence Award for this year because of her willingness to share her knowledge with others and her remarkable commitment to the development of everyone in her team at AZIA.

Congratulations and appreciation for your superb effort!

Andres Diaz, Front Office Supervisor, Ritz-Carlton, Aruba

Andres has quickly proven his dedication and determination to go above and beyond, at the Ritz Carlton. He is one of the top three Front Desk sellers, which have improved the company’s revenue. In addition to receiving this year’s AHATA Excellence Award recognition, his commitment to excellence, flexibility, hard work, and dedication won him a promotion.

We wish you continued success as you keep up your excellent work! Congratulations!

Amin Rosario, Operations – Tour Guide Supervisor, Fofoti Tours & Transfers

Three years ago, a true team player started working for Fofoti. Amin is a productive and effective team member and has demonstrated exceptional qualities in his work. He shows outstanding initiative throughout the company during COVID and always had an optimistic perspective, which served as an example of his resiliency. He was just promoted to his present supervisory position thanks to his passion for the work and for the industry.

Heartfelt congratulations to you!

Jovino Wolff, Senior Food & Beverage Operations Manager, Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino

Today we honor someone who has performed amazingly at the Hyatt Regency for 25 years, in the Food & Beverage division. He has held a variety of positions, including Assistant Manager and Manager. He is a dedicated worker who is passionate about both his home island of Aruba and the resort. He has won many accolades and is committed to the company. He has model work ethics and is always searching for ways to go above and beyond what is expected of him. His motto is “Hyatt and Food & Beverage are part of my DNA.”

We salute you and offer our congratulations.  Keep up the wonderful work!

Marc-Anthony Ranis, Restaurant Supervisor, Po-Ke Ono restaurant

This next honoree is a very dedicated person that began working as a server at Infini two years ago and managed to accomplish impressive personal growth from a server position to managing two establishments in just two years. His work ethic are exceptional, his positivity contagious, and his attention to detail and service are unparalleled. He is a creative and solution-based thinker and a true coach who is constantly working on improving his team’s performance, making them work harder while also giving them a pat on the back when necessary.

Thank you, for your dedication and your impeccable output!

Nathali Sanchez Ibarra, Housekeeping Supervisor, Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort

In 2015, a hardworking and dedicated lady started working as a room attendant, as a contractor for Divi Phoenix. In 2017, the company hired her, directly. She has a sharp eye for detail, is a wonderful team player, and has been consistent through the years. She continually seeks out opportunities to learn new skills to advance to a managerial position while also investing time in training her room attendants and making sure they are comfortable and happy.

We are all rooting for you to receive a promotion and we appreciate everything you’ve done to help your department succeed.

Mirla Reyes, Airport Store Supervisor, Colombian Emeralds International

She has eleven years of expertise working with Colombian Emeralds with a determined, upbeat attitude. She guarantees that sales goals are accomplished by working with the management team in charge of the airport store. She is also in charge of overseeing inventory levels and customer service. Her coworkers refer to her as the “watch expert.” Her energy, optimism, and desire for continuous improvement are the ingredients for success.

Greetings and keep up the incredible job!

Simeon Yara Tique, Housekeeping Supervisor, Marriott Aruba Surf Club

This next hardworking award recipient has been a contractor houseman at Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club since 2009, and he was promoted to full-time associate three years ago. He is a true team player, honest, with a sincere desire to help, making him one of the most admired employees. He is proactive and helps in all ways possible around the complex from sunrise to sunset. He received the Marriott Complex Supervisor of the Year award for 2021 during the first quarter of this year.

Congratulations and thank you for all you do for the team and the property’s daily operations!

Jonathan Geerman, Sales Executive, ECO Destination Management services

A talented honoree employed with ECO Destination Management Services for around two and a half years. Within just 10 months, he went from being a sales coordinator to a sales executive thanks to his positive attitude and work ethics. He has shown exceptional initiative, has been a helpful team player, he excels at providing customer care, and truly understands clients’ requests. He always goes out of his way to fulfill the company’s objective and vision of providing great services with creativity, passion, and integrity, exceeding the expectations of the clients.

Congratulations! Your work is priceless!

Hector Ramirez, Kitchen Supervisor, Papiamento Restaurant

He has maintained his exceptional performance for the past 16 years at Papiamento Restaurant with great excitement and passion for cooking. He is the ideal recipient of this award due to his complete devotion and perseverance. He is excellent in a range of tasks that boost production, and has great knowledge of overseeing kitchen operations. Additionally, he offers advice, encourages cooperation, and makes training recommendations.

Kudos! Congratulations on your commitment and unwavering efforts!

Jennifer Brooks, Front Desk Clerk, Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort

She is incredibly inventive in coming up with ways to continually provide tourists with top-notch service while making them smile. For eight years, she has worked as Amsterdam Manor’s front desk clerk. Her empathy and continual true care for guests have won her many hearts. She is well known for being highly considerate and serving guests with the utmost respect.

Sincere congratulations on being recognized!

Egmar Irausquin, Creative Director, Elite Production & Entertainment

A highly intelligent and imaginative person who always makes sure to give each occasion a particular touch. He is the one who not only generates ideas but also gives them life while doing so with pleasure. He was in charge of the AHATA Excellence Award’s entire production and visual elements! He joined Elite six years ago and is the Creative Director and works with his team to produce one-of-a-kind experiences using art and technology, going beyond what each client expects.

We value the artistic contribution you’ve made to Aruba’s tourism industry, congratulations!

Jhoanel Caraballo, Assistant Manager Landscaping, Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort

This is someone remarkable, who joined the Renaissance as a security officer 17 years ago and has since risen through the ranks to his current position. He has received numerous awards throughout his career and remains one of the property’s most valuable team members. He embodies passion and dedication, and he shows it in his daily tasks. As a result of his exemplary actions, he leads an engaged, consistent, and highly motivated team. His daily motivation and drive inspire everyone who works with him.

Congratulations and thank you for what you do; you are an invaluable resource in our industry!

Caroly Kelly, Merchandiser, Diamonds International

A very warm, sociable, committed, polite, and open-minded person who has spent the last 15 years going the extra mile to assist Diamonds International on Aruba and on other islands! She oversees the store’s displays, sampling, demonstrating, and handling the Point Of Sale programs. She consistently makes her coworkers feel unique, stimulates them, smiles and brightens their day in some way.

Keep up the fantastic work, and best wishes for continued success! Congratulations!

Madeline Gower-Fernandez, Senior Concierge, Bucuti & Tara beach Resort

She has worked at Bucuti and Tara Resort for more than 13 years as a member of the front desk staff. As a most dedicated concierge she is the epitome of service, always searching for ways to raise the bar. She is the go-to person for suggestions and solutions. She also imparts sales training and educates new members of the concierge team. She receives the highest commendation because she prioritizes the needs of her team and the guests.

Congratulations and sincere appreciation!

Imelinda Faro, F&B Hostess, Courtyard by Marriott

She has maintained an unshakably upbeat attitude for the past 20 years, always being cordial with both visitors and fellow employees at the hotel. She goes far and beyond to make each guest feel special and at home in the Courtyard. She has a wonderful heart and frequently assists the elderly through charitable endeavors. Because of the exceptional efforts she makes at work and in her own time, as well as the excellent job she does as a true Aruban Ambassador, she is an inspiration to all of us.

Congratulations and thanks for everything you’ve done for the company and the community!

Wendell Pablo, Driver/Tour Guide, El Tours

Ten years ago, EL Tours hired this unique person as a Jeep Tour Guide, and thanks to his extensive tour-guiding experience, he immediately established himself as an important member of the team. He is the company’s most experienced driver, providing customers with transfer and tour services. He also supervises field operations and is a well-regarded trainer for new guides. He has established himself as a trustworthy and committed team member who always goes beyond the ordinary for his coworkers, clients, and the business.

Congratulations! Your perseverance and determination are very admirable.

Janith Agunbero, Marketing Director, Eagle Aruba Resort

Four years ago, this exemptional person began working at Eagle Aruba. In everything she has done as the activities’ manager, she has shown remarkable zest. She is dynamic, and by organizing a range of successful themed events, such as the popular Carnival nights, she has given the activities department life and shape.  She just received a promotion to Marketing Director because of her emphasis on client satisfaction and attention to detail.

Thank you for your commitment to your profession and congratulations. Keep working hard because the possibilities are endless!

Sandy Ras, Senior Shift Engineer, La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino

This hard-working honoree started his journey at La Cabana in 2008 as an accounting intern, months later he was hired full-time as a Pool & Beach Attendant.  He has been able to advance to his current position in the engineering department thanks to his passion, dedication, flexibility, and tenacity. Sandy is the recipient of “La Cabana’s 2021 Associate of the Year.” He effectively demonstrated his leadership skills when he took over the Environmental Manager’s responsibilities and far exceeded all expectations. He ensures a safe and healthy work environment for all La Cabana’s employees and guests and is always eager to share his knowledge.

Congratulations! Your accomplishments are noteworthy!

Anneke Leverock, Sales Account Executive, De Palm Corporation

For the last eight years, she has worked with De Palm Tours as a Senior Account Executive and is in charge of event décor for incentive groups. She has a limitless capacity for creativity, she maintains her calm under pressure, and is ever-eager to assist her coworkers. Her knowledge and extensive network are valuable to the company, and she is a true island champion for our tourism sector.

Heartfelt Congratulations!

Virtudes Payano, Room Attendant, Hyatt Place Aruba Airport

Her enthusiasm, loyalty, and love for her job have been evident since she began working for Hyatt Place three years ago. She is always eager to collaborate with people and assist other departments. She has the unique ability to make people feel at ease while treating them with the utmost respect.

A big heartfelt congratulations for this recognition, you deserve it!

Valerie Peterson, Financial Controller, Divi Village I, Divi Dutch Village & Divi Village Golf Aruba Resort

This honoree has worked at Divi for 38 years, as a pillar of commitment and discipline! She started at her department at the age of 21, and has since advanced to the position of Financial Controller, where she oversees five companies. She is trustworthy, diligent, and an incredibly responsible and fun person to work with. Thanks to her leadership, her department stayed operational during the pandemic. Despite challenges and budgetary constraints, she was able to guide the business in the right direction, for which Divi Resorts is very appreciative.

Congratulations on receiving this well-deserved accolade and thank you for your years of dedication!

Edgar Arias, Chef, Bohemian restaurants

We hereby recognize a culinary expert who started as a cook with Les Bon Vivants 14 years ago and advanced to Chef at Bohemian Restaurant. He has proven to be a meticulous, exact, and motivated, an employee with drive and initiative, continuously developing his abilities, technical know-how, and innovative thinking. He sets an outstanding example by being loyal, committed, cooperative, adaptable, and team oriented. He has developed into one of the team’s most important players.

Thank you for always giving your all, and congratulations on your recognition!

Jonathan Baarth, IT Manager, Radisson Blu Aruba

This knowledgeable IT person, has worked at Radisson Blu, since opening in 2020. He is typified by his remarkably composed demeanor and collaborative problem-solving leadership style. He has helped the business establish all connections to all portals in accordance with brand guidelines. He has done this perfectly well, and is always ready to assist.

Congratulations on receiving this worthy recognition!

Trevin Hudson, Engineering II, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

This multitalented person began his career six years ago as a Cook for Ruth’s Chris Kitchen at the Aruba Marriott. He was transferred to the Engineering Department two years ago and quickly demonstrated excellent troubleshooting abilities. He is an excellent team player, mentoring interns and other associates by teaching them how to service different equipment. He recently oversaw the installation and programming of a new leak detection project.

Congratulations! Thank you for all your help and the energy you put into your work every day!

Nathaniel Mc Farlane, Fleet Captain, Pelican Adventures

He is passionate about his work and exemplifies the company’s values of professionalism, friendliness, security, sustainability, and seamanship. Eight years after starting as a captain for Pelican Adventures, he is now the Fleet captain. He is in charge of leading the entire marine operations team, ensuring that the boats are in excellent condition, and training the crew to provide exceptional customer service and an enjoyable sailing and snorkeling experience.

We appreciate your ongoing efforts and desire to support the entire crew. Congratulations!

Jeanrick Quandt, Front Office Manager, Brickell Bay Beach Club & Spa

This honoree is a driven Front Office Manager who gives each guest outstanding service and manages daily operations such as check-ins and check-outs, smoothly. He provides first-class service to each visitor who stays at the resort, guaranteeing that they enjoy a wonderful trip to Aruba. He has been an important member of the Brickell Bay team for the past seven years and is ever-determined to keep looking for ways to offer excellent service.

Thank you for being such a great ambassador for our island, and congratulations on your well-deserved honor!

Jessica Theysen, Restaurant Manager, Infin restaurant

Both staffers and customers respect Jessica in her role as front-of-house manager. She possesses an unrivaled work ethic, and her energy and dedication are contagious. No one embodies the value of “family” more than she does, and Infini Restaurant recognizes her as the indispensable component holding the Infini family together, from the start.

Congratulations on receiving this award and recognition!

Carrick Maduro, Sous Chef, Divi & Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive Resorts

In 2006, this energetic and incredibly productive individual started his professional journey as second cook at the Tamarijn’s Kitchen. In 2016, he advanced through the ranks to become the sous chef, a position he hold now. He has transformed the Divi & Tamarijn All Inclusive restaurant from a small establishment to a fine dining restaurant. He is a brilliant multitasker and works incredibly well under pressure, two qualities that are essential for a great chef. It is amazing to witness his talent and charm as he works with, and motivates, team members of all ages.

Congratulations! Thank you for all the work you do to make our tourism industry successful.

Reuella Reeberg, Human Resources Manager, Marriott Aruba Ocean Club

Twelve years ago, this committed person began working at Marriott as a part-time front desk agent. As a result of her unceasing efforts and dedication to her job, she rose to the position of Human Resources Manager. In her current role, she is in charge of all permanent and temporary employee recruitment, as well as the work permit procedure and the planning of associate relations’ events.   She is the Marriott Complex’s Manager for the year 2021.  She looks out for the welfare of every employee at the Marriott Complex, demonstrating her ongoing devotion and passion for her profession!

Thank you for your important contribution to the company’s success and congratulations!

Esther Ras, Program Manager, ECO Premier Transportation

This amazing honoree joined the ECO team full-time in 2016 after serving on the on-call team for many years. She began as an assistant and advanced to management, where she is currently in charge of ECO’s MICE on-call staff. She has demonstrated her on-going ability to learn, adapt, and grow. She consistently seizes the opportunity to support and inspire others in delivering high-quality programs. She has become indispensable because of her “can-do” attitude, her sympathetic demeanor, and welcoming smile.

Thank you for devoting yourself to your work. Congratulations on your accomplishments!

Sharitza Vrolijk, Director of Operations, The Mill Resort & Suites

She started working in the hospitality industry when she was 18 years old, and her experience in a variety of positions has helped her develop as the Director of Operations at The Mill. The property’s performance scores reflect her positive attitude and the support she lends to the achievement of all departments and staffers. She has been an important part of the property for the past ten years and has repeatedly shown her dedication, passion, and loyalty to the industry and the company.

Thank you so much for your professionalism, and congratulations on this recognition!

Nikita Alexander, Production Coordinator, Santa Lucia Landhuis & Cunucu

This devoted person has been ready to dedicate herself to the job and put in the hours required to perform all tasks since the very first day she began working at Santa Lucia Landhuis & Cunucu, two years ago. She has developed and picked up a lot of knowledge about different aspects of maintenance, housekeeping, and customer service. She radiates friendliness and is always eager to assist visitors. She values commitment and is of the opinion that “teamwork makes the dream work.”

Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition and keep shining!

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December 21, 2022
Rona Coster