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J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence

Named for our founder, the J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence recognizes the company’s finest. These are the associates who consistently demonstrate outstanding achievement, character, dedication, effort and perseverance.

Dawit Anteneh

Central Plant Stationary Engineer Supervisor

Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

A hotel’s basement boiler room isn’t necessarily a place you’d think to host a party. But the Sheraton Denver Downton’s boiler room is so pristine and perfectly kept, it very well could be the perfect locale for a party — all because of the leadership of Dawit Anteneh, Central Plant Stationary Engineer Supervisor.

Dawit leads a team of nine technicians to maintain one of the oldest and largest central utility plants in all of Colorado. With a keen eye for detail and preventative maintenance, Dawit has managed to keep systems functioning at optimal levels. Dawit can most often be found in the basement checking, repairing and restoring equipment.

In a building with such massive utility systems, it isn’t uncommon for engineering work to be contracted out to outside experts. With a commitment to continuous learning, Dawit and his team can complete more than 90% of the refurbishment work in-house. Last year one of the building’s cooling towers was working poorly. Hotel ownership knew they would have to replace the tower in the next two years but were not quite ready to take on that expense. Dawit was able to complete the refurbishment and extend the life of the tower until the appropriate funds could be allocated.

Though he isn’t often face-to-face with guests, Dawit always places guest satisfaction as his highest priority. Last year, Dawit was concerned about the hotel’s building automation system and how it was impacting guest satisfaction scores. He conducted an extensive audit of the systems, thermostats and motion sensors and submitted a project request for a complete re-commissioning of the system. After the re-commissioning, Dawit created a daily task list for his team to check the systems and troubleshoot issues immediately. As a result, the system is now running at 100%, guest satisfaction scores have soared, and guestroom calls about heating and cooling have dramatically decreased.

Born and raised in Ethiopia, Dawit and his wife emigrated to the U.S. in search of more opportunities to use his engineering education. In 1997, Dawit began his career at the hotel and continued to grow in responsibilities with a number of engineering roles. He says, “I’ve spent half of my life here! I know this building and how to care for it. It’s not work when you love what you do!”