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      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      Wyndham Hotel Group’s Tracy Plumstead Appointed to Chair Educational Institute’s Certification Commission

      Orlando, Florida, July 2009 - Tracy Plumstead, CHA, CHE, CHDT, director of operations and marketing for Wyndham Hotel Group's School of Hospitality Operations, has been appointed chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute's Certification Commission.

      The Certification Commission is the regulating body for all of AHLEI's professional certification programs. The 15-member group approves and oversees the development and maintenance of more than 40 hospitality-related certifications.

      Plumstead is the first industry professional to hold the chairman's position, which previously was restricted to a hospitality educator. Recent changes to the commission's by-laws now alternate the chairmanship between industry and academic representatives. As chairman, Plumstead, who holds three professional certifications from AHLEI, hopes to increase awareness of the benefits of certification among her industry colleagues.

      "So many people don't realize that through AH&LA there are vast resources readily available for hospitality professionals - resources available to help them work more effectively," she said. "Professional certification is a wonderful way to raise the bar for the industry. It speaks volumes to the fact that hospitality is a true career and not just a job."

      "I'm ecstatic that Tracy has accepted the position of Certification Commission chairman," said Robert L. Steele, III, AHLEI's president and COO. "The commission monitors the integrity of the certification process, reviews policies and procedures, and recommends changes or additions to the programs. Having an industry representative at the commission's helm will help AHLEI to ensure that we continue to meet the professional development needs of the industry."

      Based in Parsippany, N.J., Plumstead holds a master's degree in hospitality management, and has worked in several management positions in hospitality. She has also earned the professional designations of Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), and Certified Hospitality Department Trainer (CHDT).

      "The CHA helped me to better understand all aspects of the hospitality industry," Plumstead explained, "and the CHE broadened my skill base for educating franchisees."

      Plumstead sees her role as certification commission chairman as that of champion of certification. "I want those in our industry to realize the considerable opportunity they have to advance their professionalism through certification."

      To learn more about the 40-plus certification programs available from the Educational Institute, visit www.ahlei.org/certification, or call 888-575-8726 or 407-999-8100.

      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

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