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Submitted Photo Howard Anderson, vice president of Three Rivers Hospitality, the management company for Worthington AmericInn, joins Nancy Vaske with her 2011 Hotelier of the Year award from the Minnesota Lodging Association.

Local AmericInn manager earns state honor

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WORTHINGTON -- Nancy Vaske, general manager of AmericInn Lodge & Suites in Worthington, was honored with the 2011 Hotelier of the Year award earlier this month at the Minnesota Lodging Association's annual gala awards ceremony at the Minneapolis Hilton.

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Vaske, of rural Wilmont, has served as general manager of the local AmericInn since 1994. Prior to that, she served two years as head housekeeper of the establishment.

The Hotelier of the Year award is presented annually to an individual who contributes to the community on both a local and state level, demonstrates staff development and retention, achieves business success and demonstrates sustainability and longevity -- as well as passion for the industry.

Minnesota Lodging Association President Jason Subbert nominated Vaske for the award.

"Nancy has a very long-term staff, which is a testament for how people enjoy working with her," said Subbert in presenting the award. "She is hospitality in Worthington and many people stay 'with Nancy,' not at the hotel."

Darlene Macklin, Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, accompanied Vaske to the award ceremony. She believes Vaske is the first hotelier from Worthington to be recognized by the Minnesota Lodging Association.

"It's quite an honor to receive this state award," Macklin said. "I think it says a lot about Nancy and her management of the AmericInn. I'm proud of Nancy and Worthington, as a whole, to be recognized."

Vaske is serving her second term on the local Chamber and Visitors Bureau board of directors, and is also in her second term on the board of the Worthington Chamber of Commerce. In addition, she is chairman and board liaison to the Chamber's motel advisory committee, is a Worthington Chamber Ambassador, serves on the Nobles County Historical Society board of directors and is a member of the Chamber's public relations committee.

"She's been very involved in Worthington community organizations," Macklin said. "She also sits on the Travel Southwest board of directors. She's interested in the entire five-county area."

During three terms on the United Way board, Vaske was instrumental in changing the organization from Worthington United Way to the United Way of Nobles County.

"Whenever Nancy is asked to be involved in her community, she has always been willing to step up and do whatever she can to assist," Macklin said.

Vaske manages a staff of 14 at the 42-room AmericInn in Worthington. She was quite surprised by the statewide recognition.

"I never, for once, thought I would be nominated," she said Wednesday.

Vaske said there are many motel managers working in communities much larger than Worthington, so "it was really an honor for me," she admitted.

Vaske was told of the award prior to the event -- only because they wanted to make sure she would be in attendance.

This isn't the first time Vaske has been recognized for her work in the lodging industry. In 2009, she was presented the Northcott Hospitality MVP Award for her "extensive contributions to AmericInn, notably the achievement of her revenue goals over many years and her assistance in training hotel opening teams for more than 30 hotels," according to a press release issued by the Minnesota Lodging Association.

The release stated that Vaske "exudes the traits expected in the hospitality industry ... welcoming, giving and caring."

Vaske said she enjoys being around people and taking an active role in the community.

"It's important for me to be locally involved," Vaske said.

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Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
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