Hospitality Heroes Winners


Ariel Kimura-Simono, Event and Group Sales Manager at Illuminarium Las Vegas

Ariel was honored for delivering one-of-a-kind events at Illuminarium Las Vegas inside AREA 15. Ariel was tasked with transforming Illuminarium’s 360-degree projection room into a custom roller rink for Super Bowl halftime performer Usher.


Robert Harrah, Senior Slot Technician Manager at Bellagio and Park MGM

Rob was recognized for his ability to work under pressure while leading a team of slot machine engineers. Rob’s leadership has helped boost employee morale and decrease negative guest feedback.



James “Brewster” Thompson, Security Officer at Park MGM

Brewster was honored after receiving reviews from multiple guests detailing their positive interactions with him. Brewster consistently goes above and beyond, keeping guests safe while going the extra mile to create memories that last long after check-out.


Brittany Tullis, Flight Attendant at Southwest Airlines

Brittany was recognized after keeping passengers calm and safe during an emergency landing and assisting the Harry Reid International Airport security team with a wounded guest. Brittany’s managers say these are just two examples of Brittany’s kind heart and willingness to spring into action when duty calls.


Ariel Anderson, Guest Experience Manager at Bellagio Resort & Casino

Ariel Anderson focuses on recovering guest experiences that don’t go as perfectly as planned. Ariel handles occasional service lapses with genuine compassion and care, creating lifelong Bellagio guests in the process. Ariel is also responsible for leading recognition for Bellagio employees and her commitment to going above and beyond to make employees feel valued for their work inspires others to follow suit.


Patrick Rue, Engineering Manager at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

Patrick Rue is a member of the resort’s opening team and is integral in keeping guests and team members safe. His primary role is managing the Dispatch center and ensuring the resort’s safety systems are functioning properly. Pat manages all permits and ensures all safety protocols are followed, keeping both guests and employees safe.


Rodney Quijano, Security Bike Officer, Planet Hollywood

Rodney was recognized for coming to the rescue of a vendor who had collapsed while on property. He performed chest compressions on the man until help arrived, saving his life.


Stanley Lamoya and Kenette Soliman, Bike Officers at Westgate Las Vegas

Stanley and Kenette make quite a team. They were on a routine patrol of the parking garage when they encountered man in distress who said he was considering harming himself. They comforted the man and encouraged him to accept help when it arrived.


Abriana Buffolino, Events and Film Supervisor, Fremont Street Experience

Abriana Buffolino is in her seventh year with the Fremont Street Experience and has overseen more than 100 shoots and special events, including Netflix productions, private events and the hospitality side of the Summer Concert Series. Abriana is down on the street almost every day, working with security and other special events and entertainment team. She takes pride knowing that hard work helps drive visitors to the Fremont Street Experience and make it an iconic Las Vegas landmark.



Keoki Hill, Security Supervisor, Planet Hollywood

Keoki Hill joined the Planet Hollywood team shortly after its opening. As Security Supervisor, he oversees a team of security officers charged with keeping the resort’s guests and team members safe. Recently, Keoki’s quick thinking led to the interception of a suspicious individual during a convention. Keoki swiftly coordinated support from various departments to intercede, handling the incident without disruption to the show or guest experience. In addition to his vigilance, Keoki’s colleagues say his warm demeanor and the kindness he shows others is what truly makes him special.


Candace Ortiz, Guest Relations Manager at NoMad Las Vegas

Candace Ortiz has worked for MGM Resorts International for more than a decade and was part of the opening team at NoMad Las Vegas in 2018. As guest relations manager, Ortiz researches arriving VIP guests to ensure a memorable stay. She has been known to orchestrate unique ways to welcome guests, including adding personalized touches to guest rooms such as photos of family members, favorite snacks or beverages or incorporating a nod to guests’ favorite sports teams. Ortiz’s thoughtful nature and attention to detail have made a lasting impression on NoMad’s guests as well as her team members.


Erika Stokely, Lead Dispatcher at Resorts World Las Vegas

Erika Stokely has worked in fire command centers at various resort properties over the past decade. She joined Resorts World Las Vegas when the resort opened in 2021. Stokely was nominated by a colleague for her experience, expertise, and attention to detail that helps keep all Resorts World guests safe at all times.


Paola Crow, Concierge at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Paola Crow started her career as a concierge in 1999 and was part of the opening teams at a number of Las Vegas resorts before joining The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in 2010. She was nominated for the award by a colleague for her knowledge, expertise, and her outstanding customer service skills. Crow is also a member of the esteemed Les Clefs d’Or, an international association of hotel concierges representing extraordinary concierge professionals.



Emelyn Del Prado-Cando, Food Server at Sonoma Cellar inside Sunset Station

Emelyn Del Prado-Cando started working at Sunset Station as a food server the year the resort opened in 1997. She was nominated for the Legacy Award for her 24 years of service. She makes guests feel like they’re family when they dine at Sonoma Cellar and ensures they leave with a desire to make a return visit. Emelyn also trains new team members and passes on advice she’s learned over the years, helping create new generations of Hospitality Heroes.


Alonzo Langstaff & Earl Manson, Bellmen at Westgate Las Vegas Resort

Alonzo Langstaff & Earl Manson both started at what was then the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971. Over the years, both have had the chance to help out countless celebrities including Elvis Presley, Mohammed Ali, Liberace, and Barry Manilow. The two were nominated for the Legacy Award for their combined 100 years of experience.


Cindy Brown, Slot Shift Manager at California Hotel & Casino

Cindy Brown received the Hospitality Heroes Industry Award for her outstanding customer service and dedication. Cindy has worked at California Hotel & Casino for 26 years and brings a positive attitude to work every day. Over the years, Cindy’s commitment to guests has resulted in bringing repeat business to the downtown hotel and casino and boosting morale among her colleagues. Watch the video below highlighting Cindy’s inspiring story.


Vernon Green, Assistant Chef at Excalibur Hotel & Casino

Vernon Green received the Hospitality Heroes Legacy Award for his more than 50 years working in Las Vegas culinary operations. With more than 40 years of that time spent at MGM Resorts International, Vernon is known by his colleagues as a dedicated teammate who is always ready to help and dedicate his time off to volunteer. Watch the video below highlighting Vernon’s inspiring story.


Samantha Fry, Pool Operations Manager, Treasure Island Hotel & Casino

Samantha Fry started at Treasure Island in 2012 as a lifeguard at age 16 and has remained at the property for nearly a decade while earning her high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree at UNLV. She was promoted to a management position in 2016, overseeing the pool, cabanas and VIP guests. Fry’s colleagues describe her as dedicated, hardworking and an exceptional leader. She can commonly be seen delivering food and drink to sunbathers, helping clean up spills or performing lifeguard duties if needed. In her time at the pool, Fry has made two water rescues that required medical attention.


Benny Figgins, Dealer, Caesars Palace

Benny Figgins has been a dealer at Caesars Palace for 49 years. He is not only one of the few employees who have been with the casino since its opening, but he was one of the first African American dealers to work on the Strip after casinos began integrating the workforce. Colleagues say Benny is one of the most requested dealers at the resort and many guests return year after year to sit at his table. Watch the video below highlighting Benny’s inspiring story.


Bryan Funai, Concierge, Waldorf Astoria

Bryan Funai has been a concierge in Las Vegas since 1998. In the middle of the great recession, he was part of the opening team at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas and stayed with the property when it transitioned to Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas in 2018. His colleagues say his warmth and professionalism remains a constant despite the many changes he has experienced in the industry. Watch the video below highlighting Bryan’s inspiring story.