Photo courtesy Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association Photo courtesy Columbus Hospitality Management
Charles Lagarce of Columbus Hospitality Management was recently honored with the OHLA Stars of the Industry ‘Charitable and Community Involvement Award.’ This award is given for the contribution to the community during the 2020 year, including but not limited to activities related to COVID-19. The President and Founder accepted the award from the lodging association on Tuesday, September 1. He was also the recipient of the inaugural Fred Harris Memorial ‘Spirit of Hospitality Award,’ named after local hospitality professional and longtime mentor to Lagarce.
Columbus Hospitality Management is well-known in the hospitality community for their commitment to personnel and exceptional quality of service at numerous properties in Ohio and across the country. The company offices out of Grandview Yard and operates The Grand Event Center, Hyatt Place/Columbus OSU hotel, and Courtyard by Marriott Columbus OSU hotel within the Grandview Yard development.
Below are excerpts from the nominations submitted for Lagarce’s deserved recognition:
“For over 22 years, Charles Lagarce has been a central figure for many in the Hospitality Industry. His company believes that community comes first and has built its mission statement around 5 simple words, “People are the bottom line.” It’s a great catchphrase, but to those who work here this isn’t just a catchy tag line for a breakroom poster, these words are the very essence of what drives this company on a daily basis. Since the creation of this organization they have actively participated in community events and local charities such as the United Way, Goodwill, United Way, Central Ohio Food Bank, and many others. Like many of us in Hospitality they have a love for competition and used this love as a way to have fun while giving back with their annual Mid-Ohio Food Bank drive. In 2019, they collectively raised over 6 tons of food and donated 40 hours of manpower to sort everything for distribution. In 2015, they created the first Cowboys and Cocktails event, which is an event specifically created to raise money for the local Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio and the OHLA scholarship fund. To date this annual event has raised over $128,000 dollars. As much as they love giving back to their community, nothing brings them more joy than giving back to their associates. In 2014, they created the Future Leaders program, designed to help grow the best and brightest talent in their organization. In 2016, they developed the “Big Leap”, a program to help those within the organization achieve their professional or personal goals. Even if this goal took them in a different direction from the organization, because at the end of the day it’s about the people and what’s best for them and their families is ultimately what is best for us. In the early months of Covid-19 as our industry reeled over nationwide shutdowns, layoffs, and a slow response in unemployment benefits, this organization rallied around it’s team and created the “Sunday Suppers”, which was a simple concept of providing a traditional, hearty Sunday dinners for a family of 4, like many of us had growing up. In addition, they also provided grocery staples to any employee who needed them. In their day to day business operations, they live by two rules when making decisions; 1.) Is it humanistic and 2.) Is it who we are as an organization. They’ve used these two simple phrases to guide many decisions to ensure that their company culture always remains true. They believe that this is the true key to their 22 year success and they look forward to many more years of serving their guests, their team and their community.
This nominee is the ultimate example of charity and community involvement. For the past five years, this nominee has brought our hospitality industry vendors, partners, and communities together to support the most important hotel in our community, The Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio, as well as organizations with scholarship funds to train our next generation of hospitality leaders, including OHLA. Through his philanthropic efforts, this individual has distributed over $128K total in charitable contributions over the past five years to these worthy causes. Also, when COVID-19 hit, this nominee approved our Sunday Supper initiative which provided at least one meal per week for a family of four to every associate who was in need during the months of March and April, until the extra $600 of federal unemployment kicked in to assist our associates who were placed in layoff status across our company. Why does he do all of this? Well, to him, it is very simple, and I quote, “Because It’s the Right Thing to Do”. This nominees above and beyond passion for his hospitality family, families in need, and the future leaders of our industry invokes a great sense of respect of all who know him, in addition to a great sense of pride for all of those privileged to work for and with him. Thank you for your kind consideration of this nominee for the inaugural OHLA Stars of the Industry Charitable and Community Involvement Award.”