This honor is given to a person affiliated with the Tourism Industry that does not work in a lodging establishment.
The award was handed out during the 40th Annual Gold Key Awards ceremony on February 19, 2019 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
Bobby was recognized for his contributions to the industry, community involvement as well as his high-quality service. As the GM of all things food and beverage, Bobby's responsibilities include overseeing the procurement, production, preparation, service and sale of food and refreshments at the San Diego Convention Center.
"He is a credit to our tourism industry by setting the bar when it comes to quality of food, customer service, community involvement and sustainability," said San Diego Convention Center President & CEO Clifford "Rip" Rippetoe, CVE. "His clients and his staff will tell you that Bobby provides the same high level of excellence whether the team is serving a small intimate dinner or a conference of tens of thousands."
Bobby was a bar owner in El Paso, Texas before joining the San Diego Convention Center in 2003. He started at an entry-level position as Beverage Supervisor and worked his way up to General Manager. In a competitive industry, Bobby is continuously sharpening his professional saw and staying on top of trends and regulations. He is the first Centerplate employee to take part in Sodexo's LEADER training, an intensive leadership development program, which is why he wasn't able to attend the award ceremony in person.
"I am happy, surprised, honored and humbled to be receiving the Patti Roscoe Award," said Bobby. "I feel lucky to work amongst such an amazing hospitality community. My work started at the San Diego Convention Center 16 years ago and I am nothing without our Centerplate team and the San Diego Convention Corporation. Our team continuously strives to be good community leaders by assisting community outreach organizations, we are stewards of sustainability, and ambassadors in the hospitality industry to the city of San Diego."
Recently, Bobby wanted to create a whole new "experience" for guests that is driven by San Diego's signature culinary scene. That's how the San Diego Convention Center's first-ever mobile fish taco cart was created. Fish is prepared in a signature craft-beer batter made from a classic ale brewed by one of San Diego’s original craft breweries.
"Bobby Ramirez KNOWS how to make a client comfortable," said Jayne Ayers, who led the food and beverage logistics for Cardinal Health, a pharmaceutical conference held at the San Diego Convention Center in June of 2018. "He made us feel confident that our event would receive the utmost attention it deserved, and it did. His team is confident and capable, a sign of his excellent leadership."
Under his leadership, his team is a leader in sustainability in catering, including:
- Compostable cups, forks, knives and concession containers are used instead of plastics
- Plastic straws are being replaced with biodegradable options
- Cartons of water and soda cans are available for meeting planners instead of plastic bottles
- There are no garbage disposals in the Convention Center's kitchen
- Non-edible food is composted and edible food is donated to the San Diego Rescue Mission. In fiscal year 2018, his team donated 72 tons of food, which equates to approximately 115,000 meals.
- He's established the 100-mile club for produce and protein, locally sourcing vegetables and proteins as much as possible.
Through donations and his own time, Bobby serves the community and has fostered a culture of giving back among his team. He is an active board member for Kitchens for Good, an organization that offers a tuition-free workforce training program. Students gain technical culinary skills and engage in on-the-job training. Students are formerly incarcerated adults, foster youth transitioning out of the system, victims of domestic violence, individuals with mental health disorders, and individuals with histories of substance abuse. They use surplus produce and prepare thousands of meals for the families in need. Bobby sits on the Leadership Committee, as well as the Strategic Committee.
"Bobby Ramirez is beloved by his team and truly cherishes relationships with his clients and the entire San Diego Convention Center team," said Richard Ginzel, Region Vice President of Operations for Centerplate. "He is laser-focused on operational accuracy, quality and service. I could not be prouder or more honored to have him on my team."