M’tucci’s Restaurants Minister of Culture Howie Kaibel was awarded the Jennifer Riordan Community Service Award at the New Mexico Public Relations Society of America’s annual Cumbres Awards Gala last week.

The Jennifer Riordan Community Service Award is given to honor the public relations, communications or community relations professionals who voluntarily use public relations skills in an exemplary way to not only give back to the community but also to help it be a better place to live. Riordan effectively leveraged public relations as a vehicle to improve her community, volunteering many hours beyond her workday. She used her skills and training as a public relations professional in all her endeavors, which centered on improving the lives of others.

Riordan, a well-known leader and altruist, died in 2018 when a Southwest Airlines jet engine failed midair and its debris blew up a window. In her role as vice president of community relations at Wells Fargo in Albuquerque, Riordan managed the volunteer service of more than 1,000 employees since 2008.

“Jennifer was a force to be reckoned with in New Mexico,” Kaibel said. “I am deeply honored to have received this honor and so proud to be working for M’tucci’s Restaurants, where community service is in our DNA.”

Kaibel works to improve the welfare and education of 300 M’Tucci’s employees. He also donates his personal time to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico, Ronald McDonald House and the Playwrights Circle at the Albuquerque Theatre Guild.

Kaibel joined M’tucci’s Restaurants after nine years with Yelp Albuquerque as senior  community director and marketing director. In his role with M’tucci’s Restaurants, he is the point person for community engagement, media outreach and business partnerships.

M’tucci’s Moderno operating partner and general manager Robin Dibble said M’Tucci’s has set out to focus on its brand and image. He credited Kaibel for a lot of that success.

Kaibel’s title is brand manager and minister of culture, which is a position created specifically for him. Kaibel worked for Yelp as head of client relations, which led to him making connections with numerous people.

“Basically, he’s our brand. Our team was like he’s a way better help with our overall approach towards our image,” Dibble said. “He’s been really, really helpful. Having somebody like Howie here, he’s so well connected with the community and just having somebody who is just focused on looking at what we do and how we do things. From kind of an outside perspective, has been really, really huge for us.”