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Industry Veterans to be Honored at 20th Annual Lodging Conference

PHOENIX—Officials of the 20th Annual Lodging Conference will present Randy Smith, chairman and co-founder of STR, with its annual “Above and Beyond Award,” at The Arizona Biltmore Resort here during the awards presentation on Tuesday, Oct. 21. Additionally, the conference will recognize Ed Watkins, editor-at-large for Hotel News Now, and Jerry Daly, co-founder and chairman of Daly Gray, Inc., with lifetime achievement awards.

“Over the years, Randy and his team at STR have developed and produced some of the most useful forecasting tools the hotel industry has ever had,” said Morris Lasky, conference co-founder. “Not only have his reports helped the industry predict and prognosticate every turn in the hospitality real estate cycle, but his commitment to the industry at large is well-documented.

A 40-year hospitality veteran, Smith was named one of the “Twenty-Five Most Influential Executives of the Business Travel Industry” by Business Travel News in 2011 and was the recipient of the 2011 Stephen W. Brener Silver Plate Award presented by Lodging Hospitality. Additionally, he and his wife, Carolyn, were inducted into the Hilton Hospitality Hall of Honor that year.

In 2010, Smith received the ALIS Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a member and past co-chairman of the Industry Real Estate Financing Advisory Council (IREFAC) and the 2002 recipient of the group’s Everett Johnson Award. He also is vice-chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation Funding Committee and a charter member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC).

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Watkins served as editor of Lodging Hospitality Magazine for more than 40 years. After nearly five decades covering the industry, Watkins will retire from full-time industry reporting at the end of the year.

“Ed has covered virtually every event of importance that has impacted the hospitality industry for the past four decades, and I’ve enjoyed reading his columns for years,” said Lodging Conference Co-Founder Harry Javer. “He has built a solid reputation as an impeccable journalist who asks thorough, thought-provoking questions. Over the years, readers have benefited from his in-depth approach and insightful articles.”

Prior to founding Daly Gray, Inc., a communications firm that specializes in the business of hospitality, in 1987, Jerry Daly played a key role in the successful launch of the Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn and Crowne Plaza hotel brands as the senior communications officer for Promus Hotel Corporation, formerly Holiday Corporation. His work has been recognized for its results-oriented creativity, and he has received more than 50 international, national and regional communications awards, four Golden Quills and the Silver Anvil. A communications pioneer, Daly is credited with launching the first no-smoking campaign in 1970 and writing the hotel industry’s first crisis communications plan.

“Jerry has been active in all aspects of hospitality communications over the years, including everything from associate newsletters to taking companies public,” said Lasky. “His thoughtful, creative, hands-on approach to public relations has helped companies grow and professionals flourish.”

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