If you’ve been a guest at the Omni Hotel for an overnight stay, meeting or other function, you probably have never seen Mary DeJarnette.
But if you have made a phone call to the hotel or the front desk between 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., chances are you spoke with her.
DeJarnette is the Omni’s PBX operator and the winner of the 2012 North Florida Hotel & Lodging Association Recognition of Service Excellence President’s Award.
The award is given each year to a front-line hospitality employee who exemplifies customer service.
DeJarnette is no stranger to the ROSE Awards, having been honored in the “Guest Service: Front Desk” category every year since 2009.
DeJarnette’s slogan is “How can I assist you today?” whether it’s someone calling the hotel for reservations or information or it’s a guest who needs room service.
She helps coordinate the housekeeping and engineering department services. There are even times when DeJarnette folds towels or helps in other ways that have nothing to do with her switchboard duties.
“I’m the everything lady. I love my job. It’s nonstop and never boring,” she said.
The President’s Award winner receives, in addition to a trophy, a pair of round-trip airline tickets and two-night hotel accommodations anywhere in the U.S. DeJarnette said she’s taking one of her daughters to Las Vegas.
DeJarnette said she will be a senior citizen next year and plans to retire, opening the ROSE Award field to other contenders, but she will stay in touch with her extended family at the hotel.
”I’ve promised everyone I’ll come back to the Omni one day a week to fold towels,” she said.
Graduate students enrolled in the Florida A&M University School of Architecture made their annual trek to Jacksonville Thursday for the 2012 Jacksonville Studio, a program of the Mellen C. Greeley AIA Foundation Inc.
The exercise is sponsored by the Jacksonville chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Since 1990, architecture students from FAMU have focused their talents on Downtown, undertaking conceptual design projects including redesigning the Museum of Science & History on the Southbank (2011), a “Jacksonville Aquarium” adjacent to the Sports Complex (2006), a master plan for Brooklyn along Riverside Avenue (2004) and a new Main Library at Hemming Plaza (2001).
This year’s project was to design a mixed-use development incorporating street-level retail space with a culinary arts college on the upper floors.
Michael Alfano, associate professor of architecture at FAMU, said the project focuses on Downtown because of the significance of the urban core.
“It’s important for people to realize the importance of Downtown. It’s a tapestry of what Jacksonville used to be,” he said.
Alfano said the key component of this year’s project was to “make a place that contributes to the streetscape.”
“It’s quite a challenge,” he said.
To view the concepts for a Downtown culinary arts college, visit www.famu.edu/architecture.
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