General Manager at Hotel in Auburn, Alabama Receives Top Award

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Opelika's Jay Prater named Marriott's 2007 General Manager of the Year.

Marriott Corporation's best and brightest were recognized in February at an awards ceremony in Tampa and several top awards went to the Auburn Opelika Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. The Opelika, Alabama hotel's general manager, Jay Prater, received the distinguished General Manager of the Year Award from Marriott. Only two general managers (including Prater) from 347 Marriott locations in the United States receive this prestigious honor every year.

In addition, the Auburn Opelika Marriott won awards for Market Most Improved and Most Improved Associate Engagement. The hotel also won an additional award for Market Share Excellence.

The GM of the Year recipients are chosen among a select few who have received Marriott's Leadership Excellence Award, which honors general managers who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in 2007. As award recipients, general mangers are known to consistently be role models of courageous leadership, professional expertise, innovation and high achievement. The award recognizes leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to the business and have made and influenced decisions that protect and cultivate Marriott's corporate culture.

"A great emphasis was placed on our high guest satisfaction and community involvement projects, especially our project with the Christian Women's Job Corp," said Prater. He and his staff at the Auburn conference center hotel worked closely with the organization, helping to equip economically disadvantaged women for life and employment.

But even with an impressive resume of accomplishments and leadership achievements, the humble general manager was still caught off guard by the announcement. "It was a shock," said Prater. "I wasn't sure they had called the right person. It's completely overwhelming, but it is nice to be recognized by your peers."

And Prater knows that his peers offer some rather fierce competition, as well. "There was an awful lot of talent in the room with all of the general managers at the ceremony, so it was a huge honor to receive this award. I am even more proud of the hotel's awards for excellence. These awards honor the exceptional service our staff provides every day at the Auburn Opelika Marriott."

In addition to having Marriott's top general manager in 2007, the Auburn Opelika Marriott's executive chef Pete Idsall was named Alabama's Top Chef of the Year in 2007 by the Alabama Hospitality Association.

About Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel & Conference Center at Grand National
Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel & Conference Center at Grand National overlooks the award-winning Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and is on par with the nation's most distinctive facilities. Located on 2,000 acres of lakefront countryside, this Auburn, Alabama hotel offers an exceptional golf and business retreat located ten minutes from Auburn University in the historically quaint town of Opelika. Situated on the shores of Lake Saugahatchee, this Auburn, AL hotel boasts private balconies, and the finest mix of business and pleasure. For more information or to make a reservation, call 334-741-9292, or visit http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/csgab-auburn-marriott-opelika-hotel-and-conference-center-at-grand-national/.

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