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John Q. Hammons' General Manager Russ Smith Named NCRLA 2009 Lodging Operator-of-the-Year.

RALEIGH, N.C. & SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Hotel General Manager Russ Smith's success in delivering on the John Q. Hammons credo of exceptional service and community contribution was recently recognized by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA). Smith was honored at an annual recognition dinner as the NCRLA 2009 Lodging Operator-of-the-Year. Smith serves as general manager of the award-winning Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle and adjacent 20,000-net-square-foot conference center, operated by Springfield, Mo.-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (, the nation's leading independent builder, developer, owner and manager of upscale, full-service hotels, resorts and suites.

"Russ has been recognized as a highly accomplished operator and true leader in the Triangle market for many years and is very deserving of this prestigious honor," said Paul M. Stone, NCRLA president and CEO.

Smith is only the second recipient of the NCRLA Lodging Operator-of-the-Year award. To be nominated, operators must be viewed as highly successful among operators, employees and the community and have a proven track record as an operator and in community involvement. Nominees should have enhanced the overall image of the hospitality industry.

"Russ is a stellar example of the John Q. Hammons and Embassy Suites Hotels brands and leads through strategic action," said Bill Mead, regional vice president for John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts.

About Russ Smith

Smith joined John Q. Hammons in 1987 to open Mr. Hammons' first Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia, S.C. He has overseen the Embassy Suites in Cary since 1997. The luxury, all-suite property is regularly a top 10 winner in Embassy Suites Hotels' Total Quality Score awards, based on guest feedback. His career also includes property management positions with Winegardner & Hammons, where he opened and managed hotels in Ohio, Texas and Michigan in the early 1980s.

Smith's success has been recognized within John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, as reflected by his being named General Manager of the Year in 1995 and 1999. In addition, he was named South Carolina Hotelier of the Year in 1996. Throughout his career, Smith has been an active leader in area convention & visitors' bureaus, hotel & motel associations, and university hotel, restaurant & tourism administration programs.

Area Information

At the Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle, guests will experience comfortable accommodations in a convenient location. Surrounded by a serene, wooded landscape, the hotel is near the Weston Parkway Business Community and the Research Triangle Park and just four miles from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The hotel provides easy access to the campuses of North Carolina State, University of North Carolina, and Duke University, representing a combined student population of more than 72,000. The 273-suite property is also close to the region's great shopping and entertainment.

Making a Reservation

For more information, to make a hotel reservation, or to book a group function at the Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle, call (919) 677-1840, fax (919) 677-1841, email, or go to The hotel also can be booked under the following GDS codes: Amadeus RDUGT4, Apollo/Galileo 85755, and Sabre/Worldspan 37673.

Hotel Information

The Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle Park is built with the signature atrium style of John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts. The hotel's decor emits a contemporary flair that invites guests to enjoy the exceptional appointments and outstanding customer service that define the John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts and the Embassy Suites Hotels brands. The hotel features a variety of amenities for both business and leisure travelers and is beautifully decorated to make guests feel at home. Each guest suite features a private bedroom and spacious living room that is equipped with two televisions, refrigerator, wet bar, microwave oven, coffee maker, two telephones with data ports, high-speed Internet access, spacious work desk and in-room safe boxes. Guests may enjoy a luxurious open atrium with a water feature. The hotel offers room service, same-day dry cleaning/laundry service, and daily cooked-to-order breakfast and a nightly Manager's Reception. Guests are able to enjoy a casual meal in the Crystal Falls Lounge and Bistro in the Park. Other features include a fitness center and indoor pool.

About Embassy Suites Hotels

Founded in 1984, Embassy Suites Hotels defines the upscale, all-suite segment and today has nearly 200 hotels, with an additional 60 in the pipeline. With spacious two-room suites, engaging team members and an inviting atrium environment, guests are allowed to put their feet up and feel right at home. To learn more, visit

Hilton Hotels Corporation is the leading global hospitality company, with more than 3,000 hotels and 500,000 rooms in 74 countries, with more than 135,000 team members worldwide. The company owns, manages or franchises some of the best known and highly regarded hotel brands including Hilton([R]), Conrad([R]) Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree([R]), Embassy Suites Hotels([R]), Hampton Inn([R]), Hampton Inn & Suites([R]), Hilton Garden Inn([R]), Hilton Grand Vacations[TM], Homewood Suites by Hilton([R]) and The Waldorf=Astoria Collection[TM].

About John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts

Springfield, Mo.-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts is the nation's leading independent builder, developer, owner and manager of upscale, full-service hotels, resorts and suites, including: Embassy Suites Hotels, Renaissance, Marriott, Radisson, Residence Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Holiday Inn and Courtyard by Marriott brands. With 80 hotels strategically located near demand generators, such as state capitals, universities, airports, corporate headquarters or office parks in secondary and tertiary markets, John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts' properties are dominant in their markets. Over the course of his impressive 50-year career in the hotel business, Mr. John Q. Hammons has developed 206 hotels. For more information about John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, please visit the company's Web site at

Editor's note: Photos of the awards ceremony are available on request.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 12, 2009
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