A special thank you to the Concord-Epsom Elks lodge for hosting our Awards Luncheon this year!
Watch for yearbooks at our visitor centers! For those who don’t realize, our AMBIEs Awards Luncheon serves as our annual meeting. I’ve included below all the highlights from the events including the speeches. As the best meals go, lets start with dessert! Here are the top peer awards that were nominated and voted on by GSAs. View our full photo album at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/pyUGss6jydYsS83i6
JUDI WINDOW ‘IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN NH’ AWARD
The Judi Window It’s Always Sunny in NH Award is given to the person who best exemplifies the “It’s Always Sunny in NH” spirit, serving guests, even in difficult situations, with a smile and a positive outlook.
This GSA exemplifies a sunny, joyful, and happy Granite State Ambassador perfectly. She has so much joy, is always laughing and encourages others to laugh with her. She never makes a negative comment, and she makes everyone feel happier just by being in her presence. She is willing to do any task and always does it with a smile. This GSA knows so much about our state and continues to learn. She is very quick to compliment her fellow GSA’s and will happily caboose tours at the State House and assist with students who may need assistance. She can be found volunteering at the State House or at special events.
This year’s winner is Christine Stacey, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Class of 2015! Congratulations Christine!
The Service Award is given to the GSA that serves the GSA program, volunteering their time with enthusiasm. They are someone who shares their training and expertise with others while continuing to learn about the state of New Hampshire through GSA special events, tours, and specialized trainings.
This GSA is always a pleasure to work with on any shift, and he has such an easy-going manner with everyone he meets. He knows the state extremely well and shares that information with an abundance of patience when helping visitors to the state, and also when mentoring new GSAs. He takes all the time in the world listening carefully to what the person wants, but he is also ready with a variety of suggestions for each visitor. He is a quiet presence who gives so much each time he works a GSA shift, whether it is at Hooksett North (often on Saturday mornings), various shifts at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, special events, or helping at GSA trainings.
I am pleased to present the 2019 Service Award to Duncan McIntyre, Isles of Shoals Class of 2009
HOSPITALITY FROM THE HEART AWARD
This award is given to the GSA who spends endless hours trying to go unnoticed and gives generous contributions to other GSAs from their warm heart. This year’s winner is no exception.
This GSA is always helpful and willing to give of herself to other GSAs and our guests. She has also been great about spreading the word about the organization and bringing in new GSAs. She is representative of Hospitality from the Heart, both with our volunteers and guests all over the state. She volunteers at many special events, where she is incredibly positive and welcoming to everyone. She also volunteers at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
I’m honored to present the Hospitality from the Heart Award to Maryellen McGrath, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Class of 2012.
GSA OF THE YEAR
This award is given to a GSA extraordinaire, providing outstanding service to New Hampshire’s Tourism Industry. He or she is recognized for excellent service to the community and dedication to the GSA mission. The GSA of the Year is making a difference by volunteering at centers, providing guests a unique experience with endless spirit and enthusiasm, and helping other GSAs by training and mentoring with patience.
This person is an amazing and dedicated GSA, and she is first in line to step up to help with the
harder projects. She is incredibly prepared and resourceful, and donates her time in many
different ways as a GSA. She is a regular at the Canterbury and Hooksett Welcome Centers, as
well as the Concord Chamber. This GSA helped solicit multiple items for our annual auction, as
well as donated many items herself. Each year, she volunteers to represent the Merrimack
Valley for our GSA Certification trainings. With her own time and at her own expense, she
reaches out to all of the chambers in the region, drives to their locations and picks up 100 copies
of their books, writes up information pages on the region and has them printed, all in addition to
driving to all of our certification trainings and presenting as part of the Falling in Love with NH
module. She was also instrumental in the research, editing and completion of the Regional
Resource Guide project.
This year’s GSA of the Year is Marty Wagner. We are proud to have her represent us this year! CONGRATULATIONS!
This year the NH Bed & Breakfast Association has invited our 2019 GSA of the Year for an overnight stay with their choice of the following members – Pleasant View B&B; The Ballard House; Canterbury Center B&B; Ash Street Inn; The Lantern Inn; Henniker House; Meadow Wind B&B; Stonewall Farm B&B; The Bridges Inn at Whitcomb; The Inn at Golden Pond; The Nutmeg Inn; The Lake House at Ferry Point; Iron Creek Farm B&B; Rosewood Country Inn; or Riverland on the Merrimack.
WELCOME TO THE 2019 AMBIEs CELEBRATION
GRETCHEN ZIEGLER, NHGSA Board Chair opened the day:
What an exciting year this has been with new programs and activities!! The New Heritage Trail program started out with our many wonderful Museums to visit. Next year we will have another facet of the tourism industry to explore. The Staff, DTTD Staff, and our Volunteers put together our new Regional Resource Guides, and we have been getting rave reviews from those who have started using them in the Welcome Centers. Many thanks to all who participated in collecting the information and to the group of GSAs who put the information together into a wonderful usable format.
We thank again our wonderful Partners, the Division of Travel and Tourism Development and the Manchester-Boston Airport. Without them, we could not provide our many services to our guests and the citizens of New Hampshire.
We want to thank our Board of Directors for their dedicated service, and especially those who have completed their service: Charlene Courtemanche who has served as Secretary of the Board has taken a job that does not allow her continued participation. Fred Clausen is selling his family property and looking forward to traveling. And Sue Greenbaum, the GSA of the Year for 2016 who has contributed a lot to the Board, especially with her thoughtful questions which help us to better understand what we do.
Our Staff is incredible!! We miss Naomi who has found out that having a second child is very time consuming! Emily has stepped up from her Intern status to fill the vacancy and has been a tremendous help for Kelly. Michelle continues to support our organization with financial and administrative affairs–we couldn’t do it without her!!
And Kelly–what can I say about Kelly. I continue to hear rave reviews from our Volunteers and Board members. Her intelligent and creative leadership of this organization is a privilege to observe, and working with her is a joy.
The tourism industry continues to support our training programs, tours, perks, and we appreciate our many friends in the field. We look forward to another year of service to the State of New Hampshire and her traveling guests and citizens.
MICHELLE DEMIRJIAN, CFO
Good morning. It’s so nice to be here with all of you on this ‘Always Sunny’ day in June.
We all have those days, weeks, months, or years where we say ‘where did my money go’. I read a quote the other day that said ‘A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.’
Budgeting can be a frightening word to many people like my 20-year old daughter, but I happen to find budgeting to be kind of fun from the perspective of seeing how it plays out over the course of the year. For 2018, the Board of Directors passed a budget with a Net Income of $3,115. We finished 2018 with a net income of $3,505. That’s a difference of just $390…I’d say we were very successful at telling our money exactly where to go as opposed to wondering where it went.
Over the course of the year, we receive general donations from many of you in this room whether it be part of your annual giving, in Memoriams, or part of NH Gives Day. In 2018, we received $7,000 in general donations…I can’t tell you how important and what an impact these donations play in the success of Granite State Ambassadors. And how about that fantastic online auction that generated $6,000 in revenue in 2018 compared to $4,000 in 2017. That auction keeps getting better and better. The revenue from General Donations including NH Gives Day and the Online Auction allows us to offer more programs and education for all of you. For 2019, with an annual budget of $135,000, we have projected a $2,000 net income.
This past year, I have been lucky to have the support of Sue Geyer as our Treasurer. Sue has been a huge support to me, the Executive Committee, and the Board of Directors in reviewing financial statements, asking questions, and helping guide our budget process. Sue, it’s been a pleasure working with you in this new role.
SUE GEYER, NHGSA Treasurer
Thank you, Michelle. It is an honor and a pleasure to be serving on the Granite State Ambassador board of directors as treasurer. This is a truly amazing organization with incredible people. Besides all the value we add to our state, it is a community of wonderful individuals who enjoy each other and accomplish so much. I feel very blessed to be a part of it.
Michelle just talked about our annual budget. That is what we have to spend to support all of our programs and special events, trainings and education, the Big E, Ambies and our Holiday Party along with paying our dedicated staff for their services. The staff does an incredible job with what is a modest budget and limited time. Besides a lot of effort, there is a lot of creativity that goes into making things work. I truly admire what they accomplish.
In addition, we get a lot of support from our network of NH businesses and partners in the form of venues for events, contributions to our annual auction, discounts on food, perks, etc. They understand the value we add to New Hampshire with our welcoming smiles and the word-of-mouth advertising that we provide with the recommendations we give.
One of the ways we as GSAs can help our organization is to continue to reach out and expand that network. Tell more places about who we are and what we do.
Kelly has come up with an amazing idea of how to facilitate this, and I’m really jazzed about it! She has created cards for all of us to carry, that can be left at restaurants and other places. The card says that you are a Granite State Ambassador and that based on your experience, you will be recommending them to guests. I’ve already have given some out. At one place I wrote a note on the back of it, praising the great food and service and asked the server to give it to her manager. He ended up coming over and we had a great chat. With all of us doing a little, we can make a difference!
KELLY BRYER, NHGSA Executive Director
It’s been a productive year at New Hampshire Granite State Ambassadors with lots of new partners and initiatives. Our biggest included the formation of a Strategic Advisory Committee filled with our industry peers to help guide our organization as we move forward with our growth and strategic planning.
With the help of our Granite State Ambassadors (GSAs), we reenergized our Education Committee to develop new, large-scale educational opportunities to keep our volunteers at the top of their game. The first is the New Hampshire Advanced Travel Counselor Certification which will take place later in 2019. This will be a full day’s educational program followed by a timed, and scored exam.
We also developed the Explore NH Passport educational tour program, featuring a new ‘trail’ each year for our volunteers to experience. The 2019 program features the NH Heritage Museum Trail.
With participation from our GSA volunteers and the NH Division of Travel and Tourism’s welcome center attendants, we created Regional Resource Guides. These guides assist our volunteers in making quality, authentic referrals to guests from around the state and include information on historical sites, places to swim, hike, bike, paddle, picnic, etc. Watch for hard copies coming to your centers. In the meantime, you can print your own copies from our website.
Another part of our planned growth is to provide new volunteer opportunities within statewide member museums. Our GSA volunteers will now be able to serve as docents, greeters, and as special event supporters at participating member museums in addition to being able to volunteer at welcome centers and at tourism related events.
It’s years like this that give me a sense of awe and admiration of our GSA volunteers and Board of Directors. Never have I met a group of more passionate people who truly love this state, and want to make our guest’s experience while visiting the very best.
Thank you for being my inspiration!
The Granite State Ambassadors’ “Achievement Awards” were established in 1999 to honor 20 GSAs who had achieved 100 to 500 hours of volunteer service. After growing to honor hundreds of GSAs for thousands of hours of service, the event was renamed the “AMBIE” Awards (like the Emmys, but for Ambassadors).
Throughout the year fellow Granite State Ambassadors, Center Managers, tourism and state officials, and the traveling public, take time to give “Kudos” to our Granite State Ambassadors, particularly those who volunteer their time.
From these submissions our Nominating Committee, comprised of former GSAs of the Year, Board and Staff members, meets to discuss the suggestions. This team develops a recommended slate of award recipients for approval by the NHGSA Board of Directors.
Congratulations to our Annual, our Hours, our Kudos and all our Award recipients, and thank you to all our wonderful Granite Sate Ambassadors for your dedication and service to New Hampshire. We would like to take this opportunity to recognize all those who received “KUDOS” over the past year, from their fellow GSAs, Center Managers, tourism & state officials, and the traveling public!
Iris Altilio, Betsy Booth, Sarah Brown, Jim Byrd, Evangeline Christon, Martha Clark, Sally Corcoran, Elaine Demers, Moe Demers, Linda Duquette, Sharon Ebol, Tony Evans, Bruce Flegal, Paula Fortner, Sue Geyer, Yvonne Gillen, Emily Goulet, Roberta Grady, Karen Green, Sue Greenbaum, Darlene Greenwood, Anne Hatin, Joyce Heinrich, Ann Karcich, Philip Lefebvre, Virginia Leighton, Connie Loken, Heather Lovejoy, Karen Maitland, Patty Mason, Jean McGiffin, Mary Helen McGrath, Dan McGuire, Elise Merrick, Diane Miner, Veronica Molloy, Carmen Nadeau, Stephen Nelson, John Richards, Barbara Rousseau, Kathryn Segreti, Christine Stacey, Patricia Storm, Marty Wagner, Nicholas Wallner, Maureen Walsh, Gretchen Ziegler
Every year we have so many great submissions that the nominating committee (made up of past GSAs of Year) choses a few outstanding GSAs and industry friends to receive Merit Awards customized to honor their dedication and enthusiasm for the GSA program and New Hampshire tourism.
This year two GSAs who work for the Division of Travel and Tourism / Bureau of Visitor Services were nominated very enthusiastically to receive a Tourism Industry Merit Award for their outstanding dedication to our guest’s NH experience.
The first award goes to Barbara Cabral. As the only full-time employee at the Canterbury Welcome Center, this state employee wears many hats. She must, of course, answer visitors’ questions on a daily basis and also make certain she has the most up-to-date information in the brochure racks which she maintains. Visitors also appreciate her extensive knowledge about things of interest in the area, and her willingness to look things up on the computer if there is not a brochure handy. She’s quick to check, too, not only weather conditions for people, but also travel conditions, showing her genuine concern for their safe travels.
The second Merit Award goes to Marnie Cinquantini in recognition for that daily work where she’s quick to approach all visitors and then treats each person with great respect and as if that person was her first of the day. No matter what the question, or complaint, she responds in a very positive way and goes out of her way to be helpful. That frequently includes responding to things which may not be in her control, but her goal is to always give the person across from her a helpful response. She’s always willing to do computer research for any visitor in order to find an answer, no matter how big or small, and she always seems pleased to have learned something new along the way as a result of those inquiries.
Rookie of the Year Award
Every year we recognize a stand out GSA who spends their first year with us volunteering with extra enthusiasm. This year’s Rookie is a member of The Bridges House, Concord Class of 2018 and he has already volunteered over 750 hours at the State House Visitor Center.
This volunteer is steadfast and is always willing to come in early and stay late. He works to get along with other GSA’s and gives the best tours! Tourists love him so much that they give him rave reviews on travel sites! With his background from AAA he is very helpful with tourists also and always goes the extra mile!
I’m pleased to present the 2019 Rookie Award to Nick Wallner. Thank you for your hard work Nick, we are proud that you’re a Granite State Ambassador!
Booster of the Year Award
Our final special award this year is the GSA Booster of the Year Award, which is given to a GSA who is our biggest cheerleader and has gone above and beyond in supporting NH Granite State Ambassadors.
GSAs always enjoy volunteering with Bruce at the airport. Numerous kudos go to Bruce as he reaches out across the counter to engage with arriving passengers. He frequently inquires if they had a good flight, welcomes them home if they’re returning from a trip. If they’re visitors, he asks about their plans and offers suggestions. Bruce simply was born with a smile on his face. He is self-effacing and warm hearted. He has a way of making everyone he meets feel at ease. And he does it all in a subdued but charming way.
For our GSA Certification trainings, he makes a point to attend the ‘Meet our GSAs’ panel and waxes eloquently on how much he loves the organization and NH. We are honored to present Bruce Flegal, GSA McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Class of 2014, with this year’s Booster of the Year Award.
GSAs are often given the opportunity to voluntarily participate in extra trainings, round tables, and tours that will enhance their knowledge and skills as a GSA. From April of 2018 to March of 2019, 233 GSAs participated in educational outings and meetings! We would like to recognize these GSAs who attended at least 5 educational opportunities in the past year.
Tim Adams, Violet Anderson, Norma Angwin, Gary Bashline, Kate Bashline, Sandra Chandonnet, Rose Marie Cusson, Moe Demers, Bruce Flegal, Sue Geyer, Sue Greenbaum, Karen M Jordan, Steven Jordan, Donna Kirouac, Judy Lai, Ron Lai, Burt Lohnes, Sherry Lohnes, Connie Loken, Rosalind Lowen, Patty Mason, Mary-Helen McGrath, Anita Memos, Dan Memos, Diane Miner, Margaret Minnon, Bob Mullen, Irene Mullen, Carmen Nadeau, Kathleen Rice Orshak, Mark Orshak, Joe Reisert, Kathryn Segreti, Maureen Walsh, Gretchen Ziegler.
We heard wonderful messages from our key sponsors, NH Division of Travel and Tourism & Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, thanking our GSAs for their service!
TOP ANNUAL HOURS AWARD
We would like to honor the 4 people who volunteered the most hours in the past year – The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company has invited these GSAs for a cruise out to Star Island on Monday, June 24th. This prize was also sponsored by The Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth.
Nick Wallner – 730 hours
Donna Kirouac – 494 hours
Karen Green – 455 hours
Tim Adams – 439 hours
FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY AWARDS – members of:
- Cathedral of the Pines Class of 2014
- McAuliffe-Shepard Discover Center Class of 2014
- Medallion Opera House Class of 2014
- Southern NH University Class of 2014
TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY AWARDS – members of:
- Concentra Urgent Care Class of 2009
- Discover Portsmouth Class of 2009
- Division of Travel and Tourism Class of 2009
- Littleton Century 21 Winn Association Class of 2009
We would also like acknowledge some pretty dedicated GSAs who have been actively volunteering with us for 15+ years. When I call your name, please come up to the stage for a photo. From the classes of 1997-2004 starting with 2004:
2004 – 15 years
Jim Morgan, Susan Stepp, Gretchen Ziegler
2003 – 16 years
Kelly Bryer, Duncan MacIntyre, Pam Lorimer, Jim Narkiewicz, Marlene Taussig, Jean Edmands, Tony Evans
2002 – 17 years
Charlene Courtemanche, Vivian Villemure
2001 – 18 years
Kathleen Beliveau, Bernie Kallfelz, Charles Kallfelz, Bill Laroche, Eleanor Laroche, Denis Beauliau, Norma Angwin, Gary Bashline, Kate Bashline, Ernie Greenberg, Loretta Greenberg
2000 – 19 years
Ann Carroll, Don Carroll, Carolyn O’Brien, George Tosatti
1999 – 20 years
1998 – 21 years
Mary Osborne, Jean Acton, Harriet Cox
1997 – 22 years
Betty Finan, Leo Glasheen
1996 – 23 years
Peter Morgan, Bill Petersen, Judi Window, Rita Glasheen
We also wanted to acknowledge a couple of new legacy GSAs from our 2019 GSA certifications. Lucy Nichols, daughter of GSA Jean Edmands and Terry Marcille, daughter of GSA Pauline Healey were certified this year. Other GSA legacy volunteers also include Diane LaBelle and Elaine Merritt, daughters of Lorraine Charron.
50 HOURS AWARD – PERMANENT GREEN NAME BADGE
Jeffrey Arpin, Pamela Arpin, Elizabeth Bouchard, Robert Bouchard, Ray Dion, Jyl Dittbenner, Kris Doucette, Ashley Farmen, Susan Farrell, Richard Flagg, Paula Fortner, Kathy Gallo, Tony Gallo, Michael Gavrish, Janet Genatt, Roberta Grady, Darlene Greenwood, Mary Guerino, Doug Hadfield, John Heroux, Mia Jacobson, Richard Jenkis, Linda Kahn, Donna Kirouac, Bob McGrath, Robert McMillan, Muriel McMillan, David Mills, Richard Nadeau, Kathleen Rice Orshak, Mark Orshak, John Richards, Arlene Robbins, Patricia Storm, Benjamin Wales, Doren Wales, Joe Walker, Nick Wallner
100 HOURS AWARD
Ruth Dabrowski, Michelle Demirjian, Linda Duquette, Richard Flagg, Paula Fortner, Kathy Gallo, Pauline Green, Douglas Hadfield, Richard Jenkins, Donna Kirouac, Bob McGrath, Elaine Merritt, Kevin O’Meara, Kathleen Rice Orshak, Mark Orshak, Patricia Storm, Shulamit Walker, Nicholas Wallner, Sharen Wheeler
250 HOURS AWARD
Iris Altilio, Joan Baldessari, Matt Blanchard, Joseph Distefano, Lois Dziergowski, Kevin Irwin, Donna Kirouac, Ron LaBelle, Rosalind Lowen, Mary-Helen McGrath, Dan McGuire, Bob Mullen, Barbara Rousseau, Nancy Shearer, Patricia Storm, Faye Tresvik, Nicholas Wallner
500 HOURS AWARD
Karen Green, Karen Jordan, Donna Kirouac, Philip Lefebvre, Connie Loken, Karen Maitland, Diane Miner, Christine Stacey, Nicholas Wallner
1000 HOURS AWARD
We would like to congratulate these special award recipients. Each person who has achieved 1,000 hours of volunteer service is now considered a LIFETIME Member of NH Granite State Ambassadors. The following GSAs receive a Lifetime Membership Card, and a two-night stay at Indian Head Resort in Lincoln. Congratulations!Sandra Chandonnet, Elaine Demers, Pam Magrath, Ronald Ricker, Kathryn Segreti, Marlene Taussig
2,000 & 5,000 Hours Award recipients
There is a growing group of GSAs who have served two thousand hours or more. These GSAs have been invited by the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company to cruise out to Star Island on June 24th. This prize was also sponsored by The Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth.
2000 HOURS AWARD
Tim Adams, Moe Demers, Judi Lai, Patty Mason, Howie Wheeler
5000 HOURS AWARD
THE CEREMONY THEN PAUSED TO REMEMBER THOSE WHO PASSED THIS YEAR.
Linda Gross, Red Spotted Newt Class of 1997
Ed Gartland, Franco American Class of 2007
Desperna “Honey” Stergio, First in the Nation Class of 1999
Pearl Martin, Kancamagus Class of 1998
Pat Bryan, Purple Finch Class of 1999
Elizabeth Webb Cheney, PSU Ice Arena Class of 2011
Georgie Reagan, NH Made Class of 1997