'Making people feel special’ is goal of  honored frontline worker

For Denver Sincler, a beer tender at Allegan's Tantrick Brewing Co., the human connection draws her to the service industry. 
"I like making people feel special, and it's just the little things – remembering their drink or something small like that – that makes people feel special," Sincler says. "It is nice to recognize that I go above and beyond to make people feel special. It feels amazing to be acknowledged."
Sincler is among 10 West Michigan frontline workers who are recipients of the 2023 Beverly A. Drake Essential Service Awards. They were recognized at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids meeting on Feb. 5 and each presented with a $100 gift card. 

The Essential Service Awards recognize frontline workers like Sincler, who was honored in the food service category, who go above and beyond their daily responsibilities and display integrity, passion and commitment.   

Ten West Michigan frontline workers were honored with the 2023 Beverly A. Drake Essential Service Awards.

The other 2023 Essential Service Award honorees are Kristie Azzoli, customer experience specialist at The Rapid ITP; Heidi Carpenter, program aide at Barry County Commission on Aging; Scott Kinyon, cleaning at Aggressive Tooling Inc.; Marolyn Lopez, corporate receptionist at Plascore; Kim Pitsch, park ranger for Allegan County; Derek Ryan, courtesy team member at Meijer; Beatrice Salgado, preschool teacher at Early Learning Center; Maria Solis, senior quality assurance specialist at Trans-Matic; and Darcie Wallace, care coordinator at Meals on Wheels Western Michigan.

‘Dedication and perseverance’
"While we have always valued the contributions of frontline workers, the current economic climate, marked by rising inflation and cost of living pressures, makes this year's Essential Service Awards even more pertinent," says Mark Bergsma, West Michigan Works! workforce development board member. "Honoring frontline workers' dedication and perseverance remains crucial as many continue to navigate uncertain economic waters while serving our community."

West Michigan Works! is a governmental agency that provides employment and training programs and services for employers, employees, and job seekers in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties, focusing on building a more skilled and diverse workforce that will drive economic growth and opportunity. 

Winners are chosen by a committee of the West Michigan Works! Workforce Development Board.  Essential Service Awards categories include administrative/office worker, cleaning/housekeeping/groundskeeping, child care, food service, government, health care/elder care, hospitality, nonprofit, retail, skilled labor, and transportation.

Marolyn Lopez is a corporate receptionist at Zeeland-based Plascore, Inc.

Marolyn Lopez, a corporate receptionist at Zeeland-based Plascore, Inc., was recognized in the administrative category. Lopez started with Plascore as an operator in the factory. However, her hard work and soft skills led to her promotion to receptionist.

"We have interview candidates come in and I'm the first person they meet, and I don't take it lightly,” Lopez says. “We have a lot of Spanish-speaking candidates that come in, so being bilingual, I'm able to help them as well." 

Lopez attributes her work ethic to her mother. 
"My mom was a housekeeper at Country Inn, and my very first job was working alongside her on the weekends while I was still in high school," says Lopez. "I have been raised to be independent, strong and compassionate for others."

Photos courtesy of West Michigan Works!/John Corriveau
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