Cornelius “Connie” Russell, general manager of the Samoset Resort in Rockport was named Innkeeper of the Year by the Maine Innkeeper’s Association at its 89th annual meeting and conference held at the Cliff House Resort & Spa on Nov. 8.

The prestigious award, presented annually to an active innkeeper who has significantly contributed to the development of the Maine Innkeepers Association, was presented to Russell by Peter Daigle of Lafayette Hotels.

The inscription on the award read: ‘To an innkeeper who knows no bounds. Connie is always gracious and generous whether he is hosting an MEIA board meeting or a local or statewide charitable event. A well deserved honor.’

A second generation hotelier, Russell began his career in 1987 with Ocean Properties Ltd. and held management positions at multiple hotels in Maine, N.H., Colorado, Arizona and Florida. He has been the general manager at the Samoset Resort since 1999 where he has overseen numerous multi-million dollar capital improvement projects, most recently overseeing the construction of the resort’s free form zero entry pool.

Russell’s service on several boards of directors includes past presidency of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, state vice president of the New England Inns and Resorts Association, Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Governor Appointed Maine Rural Development Authority and he is a member of the Rockland Rotary Club. He has served as president of the Maine Innkeepers Association and currently serves as chairman of the board.

“I am completely surprised but very much honored by this great recognition from my peers,” said Russell, in a press release. “I have organized awards for others in the past, but to be on the receiving end of such a great honor is overwhelming. I would like to personally thank the Ocean Properties Family, a first class operation, for whom I have enjoyed working for my entire career.”

Russell coaches his son in the Maine Coast Skater’s Association youth hockey organization. He is an avid player himself, where his previous team went undefeated in 2009 with a 28-0 record. He and his wife Juliet and their daughter Jacqueline and son Connor reside in Rockport.

Russell was born in Bangor and attended Orono High School and the University of Maine graduating with a bachelor’s degree in resource economics.