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      Educational Institute Honors Jesse Larson as Outstanding Student

      City, Oklahoma, June 11, 2008 - Jesse Larson, manager of The Glass House, Denver, Colorado, is the 2008 recipient of the Lamp of Knowledge Award for Outstanding Distance Learning Student, presented by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. Larson received the award during the AH&LA Summer Summit in Oklahoma City, during the AH&LA Stars of the Industry Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, June 11.

      Larson turned to the Educational Institute's distance learning program to help him reach his goal of becoming a manager in the hospitality industry. After getting his first taste of hospitality as a bellman at a Vermont resort, Larson moved to Colorado with the intent of becoming the general manager of a ski resort. He worked "from the ground up" at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, holding positions in housekeeping, then banquets, cooking, and bartending, before finding his niche in reservations. He then worked as a reservation manager and sales manager for a full-service hotel in Denver, before leaving to pursue a degree in economics.

      However, Larson still wanted to learn more about hospitality. He simultaneously began working for East West Resorts in Colorado and taking distance learning courses from EI, enrolling in the 12-course diploma program with financial assistance from the AH&LEF American Express Scholarship. Just as he finished his coursework, East West Urban Management was ready to hire an assistant manager for a new property, The Glass House. With his EI diploma and his eagerness to put it to work, he got the job.

      Larson relied on his EI courses as he helped develop all of the operating procedures for The Glass House. "Front desk, F&B, housekeeping, and maintenance departments have all been put into place with methods found in the AH&LEI curriculum," he stated. "The textbooks serve as a great reference guide in almost any circumstance."

      Larson cites his EI education as a key factor in giving him the confidence and skills needed to be promoted from assistant manager to manager in just over a year.

      "For me, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute had the right combination of industry accreditation and flexibility that would allow me to reach my goals," he said.

      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.

      Elizabeth Johnson - ejohnson@ahla.com