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Tourism leaders honored with Governor’s Travel and Tourism Awards
Four Governor’s Travel and Tourism awards, recognizing outstanding leaders in North Dakota’s tourism industry, were presented at the 2014 North Dakota Tourism Conference in Fargo.
“Tourism is one of North Dakota’s largest industries and an important contributor to our growing economy,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “The leaders recognized today are key reasons why visitors enjoy legendary experiences when they come to North Dakota. Congratulations to this year’s award recipients, and thank you to all those who work hard to make North Dakota’s tourism industry so successful.”
Awards were given to:
Don & Pat Demars, Behind the Scenes Tourism Employees. More than 18 years ago, Don and Pat Demars retired from farming in the Cavalier area, trading in their tractors to become full-time RVers. Since then, this couple has served as campground hosts for the North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department for 15 years at nine different North Dakota state parks. In that time, they racked up nearly 10,000 hours of volunteer labor assisting park employees and doing an outstanding job welcoming guests and being great ambassadors of North Dakota. The Demars eventually sold their RV and made their permanent home in Grand Forks, but remain active volunteers at Turtle River State Park.
Mandan Rodeo Days Celebration, Event of the Year. The Mandan Rodeo Days Celebration marks its 135th anniversary this year. This three-day event, held around the July Fourth holiday, is rich in history and tradition, and is truly a family western experience. More than 25,000 people annually attend the Mandan Rodeo Days Celebration. The PRCA rodeo provides a taste of our state’s Western Culture, and the Celebration’s wide variety of events keep kids and adults entertained. Kids can enjoy dummy roping, stick horse racing, a doll and pet parade, covered wagon rides and the Mighty Thomas Carnival, just to name a few. The Art in the Park Festival, held July 3 and 4, features more than 135 art and crafts booth, along with approximately 30 food vendors. The three-day event concludes on July Fourth with a 170-unit parade, a 5K walk and run, a golf tournament, baseball games and a gigantic fireworks display after the July Fourth rodeo. The Rodeo Days Festival has received numerous awards both locally and nationally as well and has raised more than $40,000 over the last 3 years for the Wounded Warrior Charity.
Gabriel Mejia, Staybridge Suites Hotel, Minot, Front-line Tourism Employee. As the front office manager at the Staybridge Suites in Minot, Meija is the first person guests come in contact with upon their arrival or when calling on the phone. His warm smile, quick wit and positive attitude immediately put them at ease. In addition to this, Meija’s legendary customer service is top notch. He regularly goes above and beyond to make guests feel comfortable, and has even made special accommodations for guests who needed special assistance. He is a true example of North Dakota hospitality at its finest.
Fort Buford State Historic Site/Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center, near Williston, Tourist Attraction of the Year. Located near the North Dakota-Montana border, this attraction is a great family destination with year-round offerings that draws people from all 50 states and 30 countries annually. Visitors can delve into history with on-site tours, History Alive presentations, permanent and temporary gallery exhibits, summer encampments, monthly concerts and more. The nearby walking paths along the river provide interpretation about the flora and fauna of the area. With the influx of people to the Williston area that now call North Dakota home, Fort Buford State Historic Site and the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center has been a great discovery for the state’s new residents. Not only does it give our new residents, visitors and long-time residents a glimpse into the state’s history, but it represents North Dakota’s superb quality of life. Fort Buford State Historic Site/Missouri River-Yellowstone Interpretive Center works closely with the Williston CVB, Fairview, Mont., Chamber of Commerce, other historic sites and state agencies to market itself. Because of its collaborative nature and strong product offering, its visitation numbers have been increasing every year since 2010.
“Our industry partners across North Dakota are an important part of the state’s tourism success,” Otte Coleman said. “Their passion for our state combined with our unique adventures is what makes visitors experiences legendary. We’re fortunate to have people in the tourism industry who go to work each day with enthusiasm.”
As one of North Dakota’s leading industries, tourism attracts visitors to more than 640 attractions, 357 events and festivals, and 850 lodging options. In addition, more than 33,000 jobs in North Dakota are attributed to this robust industry.
Follow North Dakota Tourism on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TravelND or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NorthDakota and get tips on what to see and do all year long.
Total Event Resources’ Recognized for PepsiCo Event Work
Total Event Resources, a Woman's Business Enterprise certified meeting and events company, has been recognized with the 2014 Best Corporate Event NICE award for their work on the PepsiCo National Fleet/Other Goods & Services Summit & Tradeshow. The NICE awards celebrate accomplishments of Chicago members of NACE (National Association of Catering and Events) and ISES (International Special Events Society).
Total Event Resources has been a PepsiCo strategic partner for the National Fleet/Other Goods & Services Summit & Tradeshow for six years, helping the company keep the event fresh and ensuring quality interactions occur. With 600 PepsiCo employees seeking to increase productivity and improve day-to-day working of their distribution centers, the 600 supplier partners in attendance hoped to sell their trucks, vehicle parts, computer systems, and inform PepsiCo employees about their latest customer initiatives.
Managing everything from event theme concepting and selection to registration and supplier fund management; venue contract negotiations to food and beverage; and general session production to development of a custom mobile app, Total Event Resources helped PepsiCo exceed its networking, learning and selling goals. The mobile app was integrated throughout the event to promote quality networking, gather metrics for the company, and promote green initiatives.
“PepsiCo has leveraged our proven industry expertise to support their corporate initiatives throughout the entire planning process,” said Donna Collins, senior account executive, Total Event Resources. “Our team is continually challenged to bring innovative ideas and solutions forward, making the work very rewarding and a great deal of fun.”
“Total Event Resources continues to exceed our expectations for this very important PepsiCo event,” said Dennis Selle, PepsiCo Global Fleet Procurement. “The mobile app reduced the environmental impact of this event and provided valuable tracking information that will serve as an input when planning future events.”
Last year, Total Event Resources received three NICE Awards, one for Best Corporate Event Over $75,000, Best Entertainment Over $15,000, and the ISES Rising Star Award given to Lauren Bettcher. An active member of ISES since 1992, the Total Event Resources team has been producing innovative events for Fortune 1000 companies, major trade associations and not-for-profit organizations since 1995.
About Total Event Resources
Total Event Resources, a leading Chicago meeting and event planning company, produces innovative events for Fortune 1000 companies, major trade associations and not-for-profit organizations. Recognized as a PepsiCo Supplier of the Year 2011 and a certified Woman Owned Business, Total Event Resources has been producing award-winning events around the world since 1995.
Total Event Resources has also been recognized with multiple ISES Esprit Awards, Gala Awards, and the Business Ledger Newspaper Annual Award for Business Excellence in the Hospitality Category.
MPI Heartland Chapter Names Star of the Year
Congratulations goes out to this year’s Star of the Year, Angie Kistaitis of the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs. Angie has been a member of MPI since 2003 and is always willing to step up and do her part to keep this chapter moving forward. She’s a valued member of the Heartland Chapter and is very deserving of this award. Well done Angie!
The Star of the Year recipient receives a cash award to attend the upcoming WEC or other meeting industry related activity up to $2,000.00 to assist with registration fee, airfare, hotel and shuttle expenses.
About the Heartland Star Awards
The Heartland Chapter recognizes a planner and/or a supplier twice a year in March and November as Heartland Star.
Individuals can be nominated by any member of the Heartland Chapter. The Heartland Chapter recognizes those members that contribute significantly above and beyond the ordinary. Things to be considered could be presenting or planning programs, planning a unique fundraiser, actively solicitating members, serving on a committee for a special project, etc.
Star of the Year
The Heartland Chapter recognizes a planner and/or a supplier as Heartland Star. In May, the Chapter Board of Directors votes to determine the Heartland Star of the Year from the March and November Heartland Star winners.
The President Elect will announce winner to the Board prior to announcement or presentation to the winner. The President Elect will announce/present Star of the Year award in May.
MPI Heartland Chapter in Iowa and Nebraska strives to promote and support the MPI brand, vision, and initiatives with enthusiasm and a commitment to excellence.
International Special Events Society Announces January-March 2014 CSEPS
The International Special Events Society (ISES) proudly recognizes the 17 event professionals below who earned the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation in January through March 2014.
The CSEP continues a remarkable progression as worldwide recognition of the special events industry continues to develop. Now more than ever, professionals within the industry recognize the CSEP as an influential designation for the education and the promotion of professional ethics and standards. Earning the CSEP designation demonstrates a continuous dedication to enhance individual and professional performance, and ISES congratulates each of these new recipients on earning this distinguished credential.
About the CSEP Credential
Established in 1993, the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation recognizes event professionals who have successfully demonstrated the knowledge, skills and ability essential to perform all components of a special event. The CSEP designation offers a competitive advantage when soliciting business as either a special events industry supplier or planner. It represents proof of your professional market knowledge. Learn all about the CSEP at isesew.vtcus.com/CSEP/index.aspx.
ISES was founded in 1987 to foster enlightened performance through education while promoting ethical conduct. ISES works to join event and meeting professionals to focus on the "event as a whole" rather than its individual parts. ISES has grown to involve more than 5,500 members active in 52 chapters throughout the world. The solid peer network ISES provides helps special events professionals produce outstanding results for clients while establishing positive working relationships with other event colleagues. Learn more about ISES at www.ises.com.
2014 Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration Announced
The 2014 Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration were presented at the March Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Traverse City. The awards were presented by George Zimmermann of Travel Michigan, representing the Michigan Travel Commission, and the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan.
The Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration were created by the Michigan Travel Commission, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, to elevate the status of Michigan’s tourism industry and to promote innovative collaboration as an effective, efficient and creative operating principle for the industry. The inaugural awards were presented at the 2009 annual Tourism Conference.
In the Experience Development & Presentation category, The “Puck Drops Here” collaboration took the honors. This collaboration included three partners: the Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority and the Main Street Area Association. When the National Hockey League selected the University of Michigan Football Stadium to host the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2014 Winter Classic, partners collaborated together in order to enhance the experience for the thousands attending the event, especially those coming in from Toronto. The experience included a 3,000 pound, multicolored, brightly lit puck descending from the air on New Year’s Eve at a festive street party in downtown Ann Arbor. Thousands of Canadians mixed with locals to pack the downtown streets of Ann Arbor and bars, restaurants and retail stores overflowed with revelers who experienced a one-of-a-kind event for Michigan. An estimated 20,000 plus people attended the event.
Michigan Sports won in the category of Tourism Marketing & Promotion for accomplishing their goal of marketing Michigan as a destination for sporting events. This unique partnership, consisting of 15 Destination Marketing Organizations, aligns traditional competitors in an effort to raise the profile of Michigan as a sport tourism destination. Michigan Sports members have pooled resources in order to sponsor as a State at national tradeshows, to coordinate large out of state sales blitzes to Indianapolis and Colorado Springs, to create a website for Michigan Sports, and to provide a statewide education symposium to present sports trends and best practices. By bringing DMOs together in partnership, Michigan Sports is able to market collectively at the national level and increase brand awareness for our state.
The third and final award went to Gateway Communities Initiative/The Big 400 in the category of Non-Traditional Partnerships. The Gateway Communities Initiative is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization linking conservation, commerce and local communities in southeastern Michigan. The GCI is the area of small towns, parks, rivers, recreation and conservation areas that encompass a 20 mile by 20 mile area and is now branded as THE BIG 400. The members of the Big 400 provide opportunities to balance nature and protect community character, while increasing commerce and tourism. Through the collaboration, non-traditional cross promotions were developed to create new itineraries for visitors as well as grant opportunities for communities and culminated in this past year’s “Mill Lake Clean-Up Project” through Michigan Cares for Tourism.
The Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan is comprised of more than 45 statewide tourism associations, corporations and convention and visitor bureaus whose mission is to promote Michigan’s travel and tourism industry as a vital component of economic development and quality of life through governmental advocacy, public relations, and other promotional and educational efforts.
DoubleTree by Hilton Madison Receives Prestigious Hospitality Awards
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Madison was recently honored with two prestigious awards, the Pride Award and the Hospitality Award of Excellence by Hilton Worldwide for outstanding hotel performance in 2013. “We are thrilled to win the Pride Award again for the eighth year in a row,” said Tom Ziarnik, General Manager. Winning the Hospitality award for the first time is truly remarkable. Our team strives to go above and beyond to deliver genuine warmth and hospitality to all guests, and it is wonderful to be recognized for our efforts.”
The DoubleTree finished the year as the number one ranked hotel in the Americas. This ranking is based upon results of guest surveys highlighting their loyalty as well as service and cleanliness during their stay.
The DoubleTree by Hilton provides every guest with complimentary parking and Internet, in addition to complimentary shuttle service to the Dane County Regional Airport and University of Wisconsin – Madison campus. The hotel is owned by Madison-based Neviaser Investments.
Hotelier Wins State Tourism Legacy Award
She’s happiest when she’s in the throes of a construction project, getting to the bottom of a legislative conundrum, or hosting guests, as in thousands of guests every year. Lola Roeh, general manager since 1998 of the AAA Four Diamond Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wis., has received the 2014 Wisconsin Tourism Legacy Award, an impressive recognition within the state’s tourism industry, for the can-do attitude that has defined every aspect of her career. The award was announced during the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism earlier this week.
Along with an impressive list of accomplishments over her 30+ years-and-counting career – a lead voice on the Governor’s Council on Tourism; past chair of the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association and current board member; Wisconsin Innkeeper of the Year not once but twice, first in 2002 and then again in 2012; active member of the local tourism commission and chamber; and respected industry advocate within political circles – Roeh is known for her entrepreneurial spunk complemented by her penchant for giving credit to others.
Every year since 2005, Roeh has led the resort through at least one major development project. There was the construction of the north wing with conference center, spa and restaurant. Then came the addition of the cooking school. Next was a lake deck for casual dining and live music, a lounge for the main floor Elk Room, expanded gardens to serve the hotel’s restaurants, and a significant refurbishing of all the guest suites in the main building and south wing. Currently crews are working to complete a major addition to the conference center that’s due to open this summer.
All the hard work has paid off. The venerable travel publication Travel + Leisure magazine recently unveiled its T+L 500 for 2014, the list of the top 500 hotels and resorts in the world as voted on by readers, and the Osthoff Resort was among the elite to make the list.
“In the Wisconsin tourism industry you’d be hard-pressed to find people who are content to rest on their laurels, or easily take ‘no’ for an answer, or sit back and follow hospitality trends instead of setting them,” said Roeh. “Seeing no issue as too small and no vision as too large are keys to a rewarding career in tourism, at least they have been for me.”
The Osthoff Resort’s web site is www.Osthoff.com.