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Cape resort manager named Best Tourism Boss

By Staff | Aug 28, 2015

Eric Ashton is a hands-on boss, the type of man who rolls up his sleeves to lend a hand in all duties.

Besides providing great leadership and sound judgement in his daily role, the general manager of the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village has been known to work as a bellman and a housekeeper. He also parks cars, loads luggage, escorts guests to rooms, takes towels to guests and helps in the restaurant.

For these efforts and more, Ashton was recognized as the Best Tourism Boss winner at the 2015 Elaine McLaughlin Outstanding Hospitality Service Awards at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa Thursday. The 15th annual awards ceremony celebrated hospitality professionalism and extraordinary customer service that businesses provide to Lee County visitors each year.

“I was very shocked and proud to receive the award,” said Ashton. “I have an incredible team, which makes my job so easy and so much fun. I want to thank the VCB, the community and Lee County, all of which were so supportive.”

Ashton was nominated by several resort employees. Nomination remarks included: “He is always available to help where needed, and after hours too;” “Calm, cool and collected all the time;” “Knows everyone by name and takes time to talk;” “Fosters respect by his actions, from front line to managers;” “He is a true leader in his field.”

The nominators said that, because of Ashton, it’s a pleasure for them to come to work every day.

Ashton’s award-winning leadership skills were applauded along with many others at the E Awards, produced by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. In fact, 636 nominees were recognized after numerous nominations came into the VCB office from around the world.

First class service and “over-the-top” hospitality role models were selected in six categories: restaurant, transportation, accommodations, attractions, other services and Good Samaritan. Best Tourism Boss and the prestigious Honor of Distinction award were rewarded to two others.

The 2015 category winners were Jason Barrett of Lee County Port Authority (transportation), who captured the same award last year; Chef David Rashty of Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina (restaurant); Nicole Logan of Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fort Myers East at the Forum (accommodations); Bill Hammond of Endless Summer Charters (attractions); Nicole King of Keiser University (other services); and Capt. Skip Laney and Capt. Brian Holaway with Captiva Cruises (Good Samaritan). Al and Kathy Durrett, co-owners of Fish-Tale Marina captured the Honor of Distinction.

Honorable mention plaques and overall winner trophies were distributed to the 2014 customer service leaders.

Steve Sanabria was another employee of Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village recognized at the awards. He was chosen as an honorable mention for Good Samaritan.

“We are celebrating your hospitality professionalism and the extraordinary customer service you provide to visitors to The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel in Lee County,” said Lee VCB Executive Director Tamara Pigott. “Without your dedication and enthusiasm in talking about our beautiful destination to visitors and local residents, we would not be able to provide the hands-on, personalized, customer service that makes us different from so many other counties. You work with over 5 million visitors each year, and your goal to provide superior customer service to your guests, customers and visitors is what sets us apart from destinations around the world.

“The E Awards would not be successful without the significant contributions of many, including the judges, our amazing sponsors and the team efforts of the owners and managers of the many companies represented here today.”