A Look Back on 2018: A Year of Extraordinary Momentum for Marriott International
In August 2017, Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson wrote a letter to the residents and businesses of downtown Bethesda, Maryland, announcing the company’s intent to relocate its corporate headquarters to the downtown-Bethesda community.
“We’ll be joining a vigorous and diverse community whose lively urban setting is exciting for all of us,” Sorenson wrote. “As your new downtown neighbor, you can expect to see us participating and volunteering in Bethesda’s civic life,” he continued. “I want to personally let you know that we are committed to being a responsive partner… I am counting on our presence and our associates to add vitality in ways both great and small, and above all to be a good neighbor.”
To honor this commitment, Marriott International remained deeply engaged in the community throughout 2018 with a year full of extraordinary momentum. In fact, several senior leaders within the company are now serving in civic associations, on the boards of nonprofit organizations, and in many other ways across Montgomery County. After all, it’s where most of the company’s headquarters’ associates call home. Here is a brief summary of the company’s participation in Montgomery County throughout 2018.
Plans Approved by Montgomery County Planning Board
2018 began with a bang. Nearly one year after Marriott International formally announced its intent to move the company’s headquarters to downtown Bethesda, Maryland, it was finally official in December 2017. And in January, the company publicly announced the plans were approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board. The Development Team (The Bernstein Companies and Boston Properties) won unanimous approval from the Board to build the state-of-the-art headquarters and Marriott Hotel. In addition to the Board’s approval, the project also garnered the support of the Design Advisory Panel, which advises the Board on new projects in downtown Bethesda. To learn more, you can read the official statement from the Board or check out the coverage in Bethesda Magazine.
Marriott International Joins Festivities for National Bike Month in Bethesda
In May, Marriott International participated in National Bike Month in downtown Bethesda, taking part in a series of bike-themed events promoting safety and cycling as an alternative mode of transportation. Marriott sponsored a “Bike to Work Day” pit stop; one of nearly 100 pit stops throughout the region. Despite heavy rains that day, Marriott welcomed hundreds of cyclists with sponsored food and prizes, including a brand-new Element Hotels-branded bike from Priority Bicycles.
In addition to this year’s downtown-Bethesda pit stop, for the past 15 years the company has hosted its own pit stop at its headquarters on Fernwood Drive. Marriott has long advocated bike commuting. The company’s biking club encourages and incentivizes associates to commute by bike with showers, lockers, and bike storage. Marriott also sponsored the Bethesda Bike Ride on June 7, a guided bike ride through downtown Bethesda and the final event of the series. The company gave away another brand-new Element Hotels-branded bike from Priority Bicycles.
The regional Bike to Work Day event, organized by Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, brings together DMV-area cycling commuters to participate in a fun, environmentally-friendly, and healthy way to get to work. Marriott returned this year as a regional sponsor of the event.
1,500 Marriott Associates Take Spirit to Serve into Montgomery County
Also in May, Marriott International marked the 20th anniversary of its Spirit to Serve Our Communities Day (STSOC Day), the company’s global day of service that aims to make lasting impacts on the social, economic, and environmental wellbeing of the communities in which Marriott does business. STSOC Day saw record-breaking impact throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV). In Montgomery County alone, more than 1,500 Marriott associates supported 30 individual projects, including projects at Bethesda Cares and Marriott’s existing corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. For more about the impact of Marriott’s STSOC Day, visit the Marriott International News Center.
In June, the Development Team (The Bernstein Companies and Boston Properties) broke ground on the future headquarters of Marriott International and its adjacent Marriott Hotel. Hundreds of public and elected officials, civic leaders, business owners, local residents, members of the press, and Marriott associates were in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony. Remarks were given by Marriott International Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board J.W. Marriott Jr., Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, former Montgomery County Executive Isaiah “Ike” Leggett, The Bernstein Companies President and CEO Adam Bernstein, and Boston Properties Senior Executive Vice President Ray Ritchey.
In September, the Development Team (The Bernstein Companies and Boston Properties) began distributing weekly development updates. These updates provide a detailed account of the activities occurring on the development site, while also announcing any potential disruptions that may affect nearby residents, commuters, and businesses. These updates have been well received and reaffirm Marriott International’s commitment to maintaining transparency and an open dialog with the local community while construction continues. For more information, or to sign up to receive the development update newsletter, please visit MHQBethesda.com. You may also view a live construction camera featuring a 24/7 time-lapse view of the development site.
In October, Marriott International was a proud sponsor of Taste of Bethesda, the famous food and music festival featuring 60 restaurants and five stages of entertainment in downtown Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle. Each year, more than 40,000 people attend the Taste of Bethesda to sample delicious food from local restaurants, while enjoying live entertainment, arts and crafts, and much more. Marriott invited the public to see fun food and beverage demonstrations with local Marriott chefs.
In November, Marriott International was honored with the Corporate Achievement Award by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) at the Chamber’s 2018 Business Awards Dinner, an annual event that celebrates leaders and organizations that strengthen the Montgomery County, Maryland, business community. The award is presented to an individual or company that demonstrates leadership, innovation, commitment, and good corporate citizenship in the metro-Maryland area and beyond. MCCC recognized Marriott for its significant and lasting contribution to the local economy and to the community as well as the company’s consistent high standards for financial performance, sound management, and sustained growth over many years. Marriott International Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Leeny Oberg accepted the award on behalf of Marriott.
In December, Marriott International welcomed local students to explore career fields with the company. As part of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School’s Career Partnership Day, now celebrating its 25-year anniversary, the one-day event invites high school juniors and seniors to shadow professionals in a role that aligns with their particular career interest. Produced in partnership with Junior Achievement and the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, the program engages the local business community to provide students with experiences to explore different career paths or even provide a glimpse into their future career. “The chance to share a memorable experience and make an impression that informs their career decisions is a great responsibility that we are proud to share,” said Andy Chaves, who leads Marriott’s Youth Strategies, Partnerships, and Workforce programs.
Marriott International Test Kitchen Holds Annual “Freezer Burn Out”
In December, the Marriott International Test Kitchen held its annual “Freezer Burn Out” and partnered with Montgomery County Food Rescue, a program of Manna Food Center, to distribute cooked meals made from delicious surplus food samples such as braised short ribs, sous vide chicken, and mixed grains that had been sent to the Marriott Test Kitchen by vendors. Marriott Chefs cooked more than 600 pounds of food to create 800 delicious meals, which were distributed to multiple Montgomery County-area nonprofits including Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless and Family Services Inc. The Freezer Burn Out is part of Marriott’s Serve 360 sustainability and social impact initiative.