2013 - 11 November

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Sheriff Officer Earns Hospitality Security Certification

Chalese & Marcus_2013 newsletter Sergeant Marcus Camacho of the Orange County (Florida) Sheriff's Office is the first law enforcement official to earn the Certified Lodging Security Director (CLSD®) designation from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). While the certification was originally created for security personnel working in hotels, Camacho's work with Orlando-area hotels and attractions through tourism-oriented policing services (TOPS) made pursuing the hospitality certification a logical extension of his professional development. 

"I've spent 17 years of my career working in the tourism district, and I've dealt with many issues of security and the hotel industry," said Camacho, who shares his industry-specific security research and best practices through law enforcement bulletins sent to a national mailing list of subscribers. "As I do presentations to law enforcement about global threats to the lodging industry, the CLSD will give me even greater credibility." 

Tourism-oriented policing services began in Florida in the mid-1990s, when law enforcement officers formed into specialized units whose sole responsibility was to protect and assist tourists. Law enforcement personnel in these tourism-oriented units undergo additional training in understanding the sociology and psychology of tourists, as well as the economic impact of tourism. The concept has since expanded from Florida to top U.S. destinations as well as global tourism sites. The National Sheriffs' Association offers training in this area through its Institute for Leadership and Tourism Policing. 

"Tourism is dynamic, but very different from other areas of law enforcement," he said. "It's important to be able to use the right hospitality and tourism terminology and to realize the sensitivity of certain issues when working with the hospitality industry. The CLSD provides that background." 

Eric Clay, MSc, CLSD, complex director of security services for Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, served as the proctor for Camacho's CLSD exam, and has worked with him for a number of years. 

"I think it's great that he obtained his CLSD.  A lot of hotel security directors are former law enforcement officers, so we definitely share a bond with the officers and deputies who work our areas."  However, lodging security is very different from law enforcement. I believe this certification will provide Marcus with a broader understanding of our industry and will benefit us by allowing him to see things from a lodging security perspective," said Clay.

"I am honored that AHLEI provided me with the opportunity to pursue this certification," said Camacho. "It commands a lot of respect in the hospitality industry, and when I explain what it is to law enforcement people, they think it's really impressive, too." 

About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute's mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.

- See more at: https://www.ahlei.org/Newsletters/Articles/Sheriff-Officer-Earns-Hospitality-Security-Certification/#sthash.JpWWsuEf.dpuf

Hospitality Runs in the Family of New CHA

As a 5-year-old boy, Len Leonardi Jr., CHA, remembers getting to stay up late and go to work with his father, a night auditor at a hotel in New Jersey.

"I loved the hotel business even then," said Leonardi, 42, who is now the general manager of the Legacy Vacation Club in Indian Shores, Florida.  Leonardi, who earned his CHA® this fall, has modeled his own hospitality leadership style on that of his father, who was a night auditor, front office manager, and general manager at several New  Jersey properties, including the Governor Morris Inn, a Sheraton in Piscataway, and a Choice hotel in Rutgers.

"My father had such a passion for hospitality," Leonardi recalled. "I saw the way my dad managed. He upheld high standards of quality and guest service. Beyond that, he had a special relationship with everyone on his team.  That's how I want to manage-leading by example, treating everyone with respect, and focusing on guest service."

That hospitality focus goes back a long way in Leonardi's family.  His great-grandmother had owned a small motel on Route 3 in New Jersey, and his grandfather took over that motel as his first property when he joined the family.  When Leonardi's dad was a child, he moved from property to property with his parents, growing up in the industry and getting his own start at the age of 17.  Leonardi's mother, Annmarie Leonardi, also worked in hospitality.  She was a front desk clerk at the Sheraton in Piscataway before his dad started working there.  After his dad became general manager there, she went into front office management.

"They loved working together, and my brother and I got a first-hand look at the industry from our parents," said Leonardi.  Leonardi majored in accounting at the University of Virginia and put his degree into practice in the accounting departments of various hotels and resorts before leaving the industry to go into business with his brother.

"It was always my goal to become a general manager, but I got sidetracked for a time," he said. "My brother and I worked together in construction for 12 years.  Then I went back into the hotel industry, this time using my construction background as a chief engineer and facilities person, eventually working my way up to GM." 

Having reached his goal of becoming a general manager, Leonardi next set his sights on earning the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA®) designation. It's something his dad also aspired to, but unfortunately, he died at age 49 without having the opportunity to pursue the certification.

"I know my dad would be extremely proud that I earned it," said Leonardi. He noted that he was mentored for the certification program by Andy Pampanin, CHA, who had at one time been mentored by Leonardi's father.

"I love the industry, I love being a GM, and I love being able to say that I'm a CHA," said Leonardi. "It's by far the highest recognition you can achieve in this industry, and I know it will be an asset for me.  I'm already looking forward to earning points for recertification through education and community service and service to the industry.  That's what it's all about for me."  - See more at: https://www.ahlei.org/Newsletters/Articles/Hospitality-Runs-in-the-Family-of-New-CHA/#sthash.ny4lhPa2.dpuf

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