Official Tourism Site for the Greater Portland Region of Maine


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Official Tourism Site of Greater Portland Maine
Slide backgroundMembers GEM Award "Going the Extra Mile"
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Nominees for the 2015 & 2016 GEM Awards

Exceptional hospitality is the cornerstone of our visitor's experience and why they choose to come back or not.

Nominated employees will receive recognition with a "GEM" lapel pin and be featured on our Facebook & LinkedIn pages. One winner a year will receive the coveted G.E.M. AWARD in front of fellow peers.



   2016 GEM award

Who:  JESSICA NAEGELY / Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks

Why: It is with great pleasure that I submit a former associate, Jessica Naegely, for the annual GEM Award.  I have been in the lodging industry for thirty-six years and have had the pleasure of working with more than a thousand wonderful associates.  While many of these associates have understood and practiced Mr. Marriott’s theory that your guests should be treated with the same care as you would give a best friend or family member, I feel Jessica truly embraces this concept.

Jessica Naegely was a dining room and room-service server for our property for five years while she attended the University of Southern Maine.  One evening Jessica was asked to bring four bottles of Gatorade to an overnight guest on the concierge level.  Upon delivering the Gatorade to this guest, although she didn’t know him, she noted that he appeared very unstable on his feet and he was obviously quite ill.  She asked if there was anything she could do for him but he said with the Gatorade he would be fine. He said he had a touch of the flu and was slightly "under the weather”. Not trusting his personal assessment, Jessica called on the radio and asked me to visit the guest’s room as soon as possible.  She also waited on the floor until I arrived.  She told me that I should speak to him and see if I shared her observation and concern that he was very ill.  I knocked on the door and immediately recognized Rich K.  It happened that this guest was a regular "Road Warrior”, who travels monthly from Chicago to call on local businesses here in the Portland area.  He was and still is a Platinum Elite Marriott Rewards member and stays an excess of seventy-five nights with Marriott, happily most of those happen to be with us at Sable Oaks.  Jessica was absolutely correct he was very ill.  I asked him if I could summon help for him and he asked if we could wait a couple of hours to see if the Gatorade helped.  As it was already close to 6:30PM and selfishly not wanting to stay for two more hours, I left his room and against his wishes called the paramedics.  They transported Rich to Mercy and then to Maine Medical Center Critical Care unit, where he spent six days.  He was told by more than one doctor that if he had not received immediate care he may not have survived.

The significance to this story is that if Jessica had treated Rich K. as "just another guest” and showed no concern for his well-being, he may have died that night.  Through her proactive actions medical assistance was summoned and Rich K. to this day remains a loyal guest.  Jessica has since graduated from USM and is in her final year of law school at Suffolk University in Boston.  And when she left for law school, I told her I would be honored to have her for my lawyer if the need (hopefully never) should arise.

Jessica and I both knew we did something right when we received handwritten notes from Marriott CEO Bill Marriott thanking us for the care that we showed Rich.  We thank Rich for the kind correspondence he sent directly to Mr. Marriott.

Respectfully submitted,

Ed Palmer, General Manager - Marriott at Sable oaks

Who:  DAVID TAMULEVICH / Portland Regency Hotel & Spa

Why: David Tamulevich gave a personalized tour of the city and and was a phenomenal ambassador for not only the hotel, but the city of Portland.

I had the pleasure of staying at the beautiful and historic Portland Regency Hotel & Spa during my visit. The location of the hotel was fabulous and the service impeccable but what truly made my trip memorable was the General Manger, David Tamulevich.

He gave me a personalized tour of the city, arranged for me to see the area via boat, and was a phenomenal ambassador for not only the hotel, but the city of Portland. I even got the chance to tour the city via golf cart with him. He had been asking that I come to the area for several years now, and after visiting I feel as though the few days I spent there did not do it justice. I can’t wait to visit again soon and David’s generous hospitality has a large part to do with that. So, if you are ever in need of an ambassador and guide to the city of Portland, David is it! 

Heather C. Taylor - Manager, Marketing Communications for Historic Hotels of America

Who:  GUY ROCHEFORT / The Nonantum Resort

Why: Guy is an exceptional employee who exemplifies the Nonantum attitude, culture and sense of genuine hospitality.

"He keeps our property spotless, which is a never ending thankless task (especially when we have sticky dining room floors after an event, and children’s fingerprints on the windows after a busy summer breakfast). He steps up to the plate, always asking how can I help. He’s always flexible with scheduling. Whenever we need him to be here, he’s here. He is one of those unsung heroes. He just sees things that need to get done and get them done without being asked.”

Nicki Noble-Bean - The Nonantum Resort

Who:  AL LEIGHTON / One Longfellow Square

Why: Al is committed to Portland's music scene and overall sense of community.

Al is on the board of directors at One Longfellow Square and he is present for most if not all shows at the venue. He arrives early to ensure the room is properly set up to maximize the comfort of our guests and visiting performers. He is at the door to greet concert goers. He is a very shy and humble man but has gone the extra mile by committing himself to getting on stage at the start of each show to welcome guests and inform them of upcoming music and arts events in the community. He stays til the end of each show, working with venue volunteers to clean the space and prepare it for the next day's events. Then he returns the following evening to do it all again. He is not paid for this work but does it out of the goodness of his heart because he is passionate about Portlanders having a place where they can enjoy music and be part of a community that supports music and arts in this city.

Al, more than anyone I have met in my 23 years living in Portland is deserving of this award because he exemplifies exactly what it is that draws people to Portland. We are a warm and welcoming, charming and humble city full of hardworking, genuine, artistic and creative people. Al embodies all of those qualities and I appreciate your consideration of him for the 2016 G.E.M. award.

Liz Pettengill - Director of Marketing, Community Outreach & Rentals Coordinator

Who:  Brian Allen / Easy Day Bowling

Why: Brian approaches each day with a fresh, positive attitude.

Easy Day's state of the art bowling facilities are maintained, managed and enjoyed because of Brian's can do attitude, attention to detail and providing top tier guest service: ensuring that every guest is a top priority.

Among MANY other things Brian has created an impressive league bowling experience at Easy Day that is competitive and fun for every bowler. Brian exemplifies exactly what it means to "go the extra mile"; always willing to help out in any way possible- whether that is managing 100+ pairs of shoes for a corporate event or getting a fog machine so the bowling lanes look festive and frightful for Halloween.

Brian accomplishes tasks without prompting and is a valuable, important part of the success at Easy day.

Who:  SUSIE SHARP / Maine State Music Theatre

Why: Susie goes more than the extra mile as Audience Services Manager at MSMT. Examples: dog sitting a puppy in her office while a patron saw a show; walking an elderly patron to her car in the rain...

She is the "voice" of the theatre, speaking to almost every patron who comes through the doors (nearly 60,000 each summer), always with a smile on her face and enthusiasm in her voice. She makes each and every audience member feel like a part of the family. She inexplicably knows a patron's history - both personal and as a ticket buyer - without even needing to look up their file.

She has ACTUAL conversations with people (something rare in this day and age of internet, emails and voicemail), leading to happy returning customers year after year. She makes sure everyone has an exceptional experience.

Who:  Michael MacDonald / METRO

Why: METRO bus operator Michael MacDonald made a big impression on a recent visitor to Portland who was traveling with a group of cruise ship passengers.

They boarded a METRO bus he was driving after a scheduled sightseeing tour had been cancelled.  She was immediately impressed. "He was polite, and jovial and with a big smile, he took the time to give us all the information we needed." She described his courtesy and kindness to other passengers as well.  At the end of the bus ride, she and her companions agreed that they were happy their original tour was cancelled as "we had the most wonderful time on the No. 8 bus."

Along with other METRO bus operators, he is an ambassador for the Greater Portland region -- helping people of all ages, residents and visitors, get to where they need to go.

This visitor to Portland, who also works as a tourism professional in New Zealand, complimented Mike and shared her story in the Portland Press Herald, calling her experience riding METRO "one of the best authentic experiences ever!"

Who:  KEITH TOUNG / Holiday Inn By the Bay

Why: On behalf of the Marines of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, I wanted to say thank you for your incredible support to our Birthday Ball this year, in which we celebrated the 240th Birthday of the Marine Corps.

Your support and assistance in our Birthday celebrations over the past four events has been noteworthy. Throughout the planning, preparation and execution phases of these events, your actions have been the definition of professionalism, customer service and proficiency, and these events would not have been nearly as successful without your direct leadership. Your ability to handle numerous tasks and requirements simultaneously, while seamlessly adjusting to our request was uncanny, and put us completely as ease. Your service reflects great credit upon you, the Holiday Inn by the Bay and the hospitality profession.

The Marines of "New England and Niagra’s Own” are truly fortunate to have such patriotic Americans as neighbors here in Maine, and we are truly grateful for your professionalism, great talents and support.  Semper Fidelis!

From: Inspector Instructor, Company A, 1st Battalion 25th Marines


At the 33rd Annual Meeting on Tuesday, April 7, we announced the winner of the G.E.M. "Going the Extra Mile" Award.


With careful consideration the Executive Committee chose Aime Nizeyimana from the Hyatt Place Old Port as the winner.


Aime received an overnight and dinner provided by the Sebasco Harbor Resort.

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