Lee Sentell headshot
Lee Sentell
Horst Schulze Award for Excellence in Hospitality Honoree
27th annual Hospitality Gala
State tourism director Lee Sentell is the longest-serving state tourism director in the country and the longest-serving governor’s cabinet member in Alabama history. He is now serving in his 20th year after being appointed to the office by three consecutive Alabama governors. Sentell’s writing background led him into tourism marketing and promotion. Sentell studied journalism at Auburn where he wrote for the Plainsman and served as managing editor under Jerry Brown, who later headed the journalism department for many years.



Catherine Wayman headshot
Catherine Wayman
Outstanding Alumni Award
27th annual Hospitality Gala
Catherine Wayman is the Creative Director and Managing Partner of C. Wayman Floral & Events, LLC. Based in both Atlanta and Auburn; Catherine specializes in creating unique floral designs and beautifully curated events. As a graduate of HRMT in 2007, Catherine's educational and vocational experiences have given her a variety of valuable experiences in the hospitality industry, including hotel management, wedding and special event planning, and floral and interior design.



The Hospitality Gala Prior Honorees
2018 Hospitality Gala Honoree Frederick L. Dame


Frederick L. Dame
Horst Schulze Award for Excellence
Master Sommelier
2017 Hospitality Gala Honoree Chef Frank Stitt


Chef Frank Stitt
Horst Schulze Award for Excellence
Owner of Bottega, Chez Fonfon & Highlands Bar & Grill
2016 Hospitality Gala Honoree Ryan Penso


Ryan Penso
Outstanding Alumni Award
Director of Operations,
P.F. Chang’s Global Brand Development
2015 Hospitality Gala Honoree Dale Katechis


Dale Katechis
Horst Schulze Award for Excellence
Soul Founder, Oskar Blues Brewery
2014 Hospitality Gala Honoree Niki Leondakis


Niki Leondakis
Horst Schulze Award for Excellence
Chief Executive Officer,
Commune Hotels & Resorts
2013 Hospitality Gala Honoree Agustin & Valeria Huneeus


Agustin & Valeria Huneeus
Horst Schulze Award for Excellence
Proprietors, Huneeus Vintners
2012 Hospitality Gala Honoree Rob McDaniel


Rob McDaniel
Outstanding Alumni Award
‘02 Alumnus, Springhouse
2011 Hospitality Gala Honoree Horst Schulze


Horst Schulze
Horst Schulze Award for Excellence
Chairman & CEO, Capella Hotel Group
2010 Hospitality Gala Honoree Katy Law


Katy Law
Outstanding Alumni Award
Director of Sales for the Americas with Design Hotels