Zoo plumber wins Detroit group’s service award

Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 18, 2013

An unexpected but welcome surprise recently came down the pipe for a Sterling Heights resident who keeps the Detroit Zoo’s pipes functioning.

Dominic Agosta, a maintenance technician and sole plumber for the Detroit Zoological Society in Royal Oak, recently won a ROSE Award for Overall Service Champion Aug. 28 at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The ROSE Award, which stands for Recognition of Service Excellence, comes from the Detroit Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, a nonprofit group that promotes Detroit as a place for tourism, gatherings and conventions.

Agosta, 37, of Sterling Heights, said the event organizers pulled out all the stops.

“There was a red carpet, velvet rope, nice dinner, very nice ceremony,” he said. “To win it was just an amazing experience. I’m still kind of on a high about it.”

Since 1994, the ROSE Awards have aimed to celebrate some of the highest-quality hospitality workers in the Detroit area every year. ROSE nominees are judged for their attitudes, abilities and guest service.

According to the group, more than 150 metro Detroiters were nominated this year for the ROSE Awards. Agosta said his nomination came from zoo Guest Relations Director Alexis Means.

The contest involved online voting, as well as input from a panel of judges. Although Agosta said he did not get the most online votes in his service category, Attractions and Casinos, the judges’ input helped put him on the path to winning the award for Overall Service Champion.

For winning the overall honor, Agosta took home a ROSE Award and $200, plus airline tickets, Detroit Tigers tickets, an executive shuttle bus ride and lunch with DMCVB President and CEO Larry Alexander.

Alexander said in a statement that Agosta earned the honor for his dedication, work ethic and can-do attitude.

“We are extremely fortunate to have him as part of our region’s hospitality industry, as he plays a vital role in providing a positive experience for visitors and keeping one of our community gems shining,” Alexander said.

Agosta told C & G Newspapers that he has been working at the Detroit Zoo for seven years. He said he initially didn’t think of himself as a hospitality worker because, when he thinks of customers, he thinks of zoo visitors, not animal keepers and employees.

Still, he said the recognition for hard work is a great feeling, and he appreciated the positive feedback and votes from his zoo coworkers.

“I do everything from fixing a drippy faucet to dealing with water main breaks at the zoo,” he said. “I load trucks. I help with exhibits. There’s really no line in the sand that I don’t cross.”

Learn more about the Detroit Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau at www.visitdetroit.com.