The PRLA annually honors exceptional members of the hospitality industry for their leadership, commitment, and service to the industry and community. PRLA is proud to recognize the following individuals and businesses for their innovation, dedication, and success.
Communications & Marketing Manager, Visit Bucks County
As the marketing and communications manager for Visit Bucks County, Jenna Scull creates and captures the vibrancy of Bucks County every day. Her role is an integral part of building VBC’s digital presence and engaging its users. Jenna has been with VBC for two years and was promoted to manager in July 2021. Her ability to forecast digital trends and create cutting edge content has led to impressive growth and engagement on VBC’s Instagram account. She is the resident boots-on-the-ground team member who will drop everything to produce great content at a moment’s notice.
EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
Director of Group Sales, The Inn at Jim Thorpe
Nikki Lang joined the Inn at Jim Thorpe team six years ago as a member of the housekeeping team. Since then, her positive energy and “can-do” attitude has propelled her into new roles at the Inn. While she may oversee group sales these days, that doesn’t stop her from rolling up her sleeves after her shift ends to help the understaffed housekeeping department or training new front desk staff. When asked what she likes best about her job, she’s quick to respond, “the guests.” She loves meeting people from all over and seeing them happy.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Vice President of Hospitality and Food Services, ArtsQuest
Susan Drexinger has been with Bethlehem-based ArtsQuest for nearly two decades, currently serving as the vice president of hospitality and food services. During one of the most difficult times experienced by the entire hospitality industry, Susan and her team helped keep the arts alive in the Lehigh Valley. Under her supervision, her team executed numerous outdoor events, like dance recitals, performances, and regional proms, to give attendees a safe space to enjoy the arts and create lifelong memories during the pandemic. Her philosophy is that when you approach every day and every experience with enthusiasm and care, great results will follow.
EVENT OF THE YEAR
MusikFest by ArtsQuest
Musikfest is the annual music festival and flagship event of Bethlehem’s ArtsQuest. It is the only music festival to be twice named the #1 Music Festival in North America by the USA Today/10 Best readers’ poll. Musikfest features headliners, food vendors, and free performances on stages throughout the city of Bethlehem, Pa.
Despite loads of uncertainty in the months leading up to the 2021 event, the show was able to go on. Musikfest took place on August 6–15, with a special sold-out preview night on Aug. 5. An estimated 1.3 million people attended the 2021 event to take in 500 free performances from more than 300 musical artists—paying gigs for musicians after a challenging year and half. It came together thanks to the support of the city and county, school district, and redevelopment authority, as well as 1,000 volunteers, 2,000 support members, and 150 corporate sponsors. The economic impact to the local region for the 2021 event is still being calculated, the 2019 event had a $77 million economic impact to the region. The 39th annual Musikfest is set for August 5 through 14, 2022.
WILMER S. LAPP COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
CEO and General Manager, Drexelbrook Catering and Special Events Center
Before the pandemic hit in March 2020, Domenick Savino, CEO and GM of Drexelbrook Catering and Special Events Center, was on target to have his most successful year. It all changed abruptly. His workforce went from 165 to 9 literally overnight. Shortly thereafter, Domenick reached out to Visit Delco PA with an idea of feeding frontline workers, sparking the Food for the Frontline campaign in Delaware County. Through individual and corporate donations, Drexelbrook prepared and delivered more than 5,000 meals to local frontline workers. As the pandemic dragged on, Domenick established a second campaign, Delco Feeds Delco, a donation program specifically designed to help feed Delaware County hospitality workers. A $25 donation would provide a family of four a meal and a $10 gift card to Shop-Rite. Drexelbrook partnered with Springfield Country Club to prepare over 1,000 meals. Domenick’s focus on helping and feeding his community embodies the spirit of this award.
Seeking to fully leverage his years of experience as a financial planner for the benefit of PRLA member operations’ employees, Isidore Ogoussan created a financial literacy educational program that he is currently delivering to audiences. Isidore is exceptionally suited to deliver this vital information to industry employees as he rose from busboy to general manager in just 10 years, having experienced financial conditions unique to the industry and applying solutions firsthand. Now empowered with the experience and tools of a professional financial planner, he is generously offering his time to audiences to learn and benefit from his knowledge.
MEMBERSHIP CHAPTER CHALLENGE
The PRLA chapters have engaged in a friendly competition to see which chapter and which individual could recruit the most new members. Collectively, the chapters brought in more than 50 new members during the competition. The competition also raised over $500 for the PRLA Educational Foundation Scholarship Program.
Lehigh Valley Chapter: 12 New Members
Individual Recruiter Award
JAM Catering, Philadelphia Chapter: 6 New Members
Photos by Damon Perrott, Lydian Light Productions