Dale J. Venturini
President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association (RIHA)
After a two-year hiatus from gathering to celebrate the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) and RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF)’s Stars of the Industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a sell-out crowd of over 700 representatives from across the industry returned in style, all converging upon the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) on Wednesday, November 30th to recognize the outstanding individuals in Rhode Island’s restaurant, hospitality, and tourism industry at the 2022 Awards Ceremony.
Those who know me well know that Stars of the Industry has always been one of my favorite events to host. Despite the enormous amount of work it takes to pull off an event of this size, it has always been worth the time, energy, and effort, but especially now more than ever. After a tumultuous two-year stretch, the backbone of our industry – our servers, bartenders, hoteliers, housekeepers, chefs, valets, caterers and more – deserve a night to celebrate their incredible accomplishments.
This was our 32nd Stars event and the first time at PPAC, lending a Hollywood-esque quality to our Oscars-themed party. Close to 75 awards were given out to representatives from each corner of our industry and its partner industries. Many of the awards recognize employees of the year; others feature vendor and tourism entities, emerging leaders, and lifetime achievers, some of which are labeled as “Oscar” awards.
If the space here allowed it, you know that I would list out each award winner by name, but there are far too many! As has been in the past, a full list of this year’s winners can be found on our website at: RIHospitality.org/RIHA-Stars-Award-Winners-2022. In a state as small as Rhode Island, there is bound to be someone you know, or their brother or sister, listed there!
To me, the best part about Stars of the Industry is that the majority of our award winners are selected by customers, peers, or their bosses. The nomination process is a transparent one, and members of our Board of Directors, both past and present, have enjoyed learning why each and every nominee deserves to win. To see our Stars award winners, who were all dressed to the nines this year, accept their awards with smiles from ear-to-ear really brings a profound sense of joy and pride to my heart.
While it seemed as though we recognized everyone in the industry this year, we know there are countless more who have helped to cement our industry as one of the most important, and vital, parts of our state’s culture, community, and economy, and we thank all of you.
As we ring in 2023 with hope and optimism for hospitality in Rhode Island, please consider paying special attention to how hard everyone you see (and those at the back of the house) work to make every dining, lodging, and entertainment experience special for you, day in and day out.
Congratulations to all of our deserving 2022 Stars of the Industry award recipients – continue to shine brightly, throughout 2023 and beyond!
Happy New Year!