2017 Hoosier Hospitality Award Winners
Click Images to View High Res (View all photos from the event here.)
Patricia Badgley (Hampton Inn & Suites, Howard County) (Tammie Bock accepted on her behalf)
Patricia Badgley is a breakfast hostess at Hampton Inn & Suites in Howard County. Trish’s kindness, worth ethic, and attention to small details make her the epitome of Hoosier Hospitality. Trish makes a connection with each and every guest she interacts with, and is sure to make them feel “at home” as she serves them breakfast. Trish consistently points out local destinations shows guests where flyers and information for other destinations in Indiana. She sets the standard for service at the Hampton Inn & Suites for not only the guests, but for fellow team members as well.
Anne Beach works as a Resort Revenue Agent in Guest Billing for French Lick Resort. Anne’s dedication to internal and external guests of the Resort has not gone unforeseen. She is always willing to dedicate her time and patience to ensure that all guests are taken care of in a timely manner. Her nominator states that, “Her caring personality, helpful heart, dedication and patience exemplify Hoosier Hospitality. She speaks with each guest in a professional, yet friendly communication.” Anne ensures that both the guest and Resort will have a satisfactory result on a daily basis. Helping people is what Anne lives for, and she truly exemplifies Hoosier Hospitality.
Tiffany Conrad is the interpretive naturalist at the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site at Rome City. Tiffany oversees the site’s environmental programs and events, gives tours and trains other tour guides and staff. Her outstanding efforts make the historic site visitor ready and a top destination in Noble County. Tiffany’s excellent service in her daily encounters with visitors can be seen as shares her enthusiasm and knowledge of author Genre Stratton- Porter through her entertaining, knowledgeable and personal tours. She also organizes and plans many of the events that draw visitors to the Genre- Porter State Historic Site, collaborates with the Noble County Conventions & Visitors Bureau, and is actively engaged in the multi-year wetlands restoration project on site.
In 2016, Christine Flohr, the Executive Director of Tourism for Visit Wabash County nominated her city for the Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution- Main Street Initiative. Little did Christine know that she set Wabash on a journey that would generate millions in free publicity for the city. Wabash ended up winning the contest, which included a $500,000 makeover for their main street.
One of Christine’s multiple nominators says, “Christine nearly single-handedly won the contest for Wabash. She knows everything about the community and works tirelessly to drive traffic into town and into the county.” Flohr’s other nominator states, “Whether it is a conference of 350 or two tourists in the Visit Wabash shop, we witnessed the same level of Hoosier hospitality throughout the community.”
Dave Fox has been the property manager of the Genre Stratton-Porter State Historic Site at Rome City for nearly a decade. Dave’s contagious enthusiasm and outstanding leadership guarantees that visitors have a great experience. He works tirelessly and does an outstanding job making the site visitor- ready with attractive signage, engaging exhibits and a well-trained staff. Dave is also leading a multi-year project to restore the property’s wetlands to pre-settlement conditions. Dave uses his skills as a professional photographer to capture terrific images that he shares with the CVB and others to promote tourism in Noble County. Dave’s Hoosier Hospitality was shown when he completed eight Bicentennial Legacy projects and was a torchbearer in the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay.
Diane Gordon’s journey began twenty years ago as a Steakhouse Server at Horseshoe Casino Hammond. Referring to the Steakhouse as “her” restaurant, Diane’s nominator shared this story: On a weekly basis, Diane will check the guest book to see if any of her regulars will be dining at the Steakhouse and she goes out of the way to deliver on their preferences. This includes, picking up flowers for a birthday celebration, pre-set the table to meet handicap needs, stop and pick up a case of Diet Coke or stopping to pick up apple sauce for a guest that loves that side to accommodate their pork chops and the list goes on and on. Diane has exemplified what it truly means to provide legendary service.
Christy Heavlion works as the Assistant General Manager at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Kokomo. Her bosses say she worked her way up from Guest Service Manager to Assistant Manager because of the hospitality she shows the guests. Her nominator shared a story saying, “While she was our Guest Services Manager, we had a female guest at our hotel who became very ill and was traveling alone. Christy continually checked on her throughout the evening. Later during her shift, when it became apparent that she was very bad, Christy drove the guest to the hospital, and kept in touch with the guest’s husband of her progress.” Christy’s empathy for others shows in every aspect of her job and throughout her personal life. Anyone who crosses paths with Christy leaves with a sense of friendship and kindness.
Highly rated. Every guest that takes a tour with Tray Heinke at Indiana Caverns gives him high marks. As the Facilities Manager and as a Cave Tour & Deep Darkness Guide, Tray loves sharing his passions of paleontology and the outdoors with everyone he meets. Tray’s nominator explains, “We often assign Tray to taking special guests through the cave and they are always really impressed. Tray is a jack-of-all trades which makes him a very important part of our team and he excels in every aspect of his job. Tray is always friendly, has great depth of knowledge and love for his subject matter.” His nominator also says, “He is a truly remarkable person. One of the very best I have been associated with in my 46 years in the tourism industry.”
In 2008, the Oasis Diner closed and was on the fast track to becoming a memory in Plainfield. But Thanks to Co-Owner and General Manager, Doug Huff, Oasis Diner re-opened in 2014 and is now a landmark and popular visitor destination. Doug has a clear commitment to making his visitors feel welcome and catering to their needs. Doug’s nominator acknowledges his Hoosier Hospitality explaining, “One such example is when an elderly man stepped inside the restaurant shortly after it reopened with tears streaming down his face. Doug and his crew asked the man why he was so emotional and learned that he had been a busboy at the diner in its infancy and that his mom was an original waitress. He expressed that the tears represented his joy that the diner had been saved, moved, and reopened. Without hesitation, they offered the man the opportunity to spend the day as an honorary busboy so he could relive those wonderful memories from his youth. Does it get any more Hoosier Hospitality than that?”
For over thirty years, Mary has epitomized Hoosier Hospitality, dedicating her career towards marketing and selling Indy as a must-visit destination. Here’s just a little of what her nominator says she’s accomplished: “Since joining Visit Indy in 1985, she has served as Visit Indy’s first-ever Convention Services Manager, then moved into membership and directed stakeholder engagement and investment. In the 90's, Mary took the reins of the Indianapolis Project, a new communications initiative with the goal of securing national media attention for Indy. As Mary led the charge in kick-starting each of these roles within the Visit Indy organization (all roles that still exist today in some shape or form), it has been inspiring to watch Mary navigate her way to Vice President while serving as one of the organization's greatest mentors and leaders.”
Mary’s key contributions are all executed with integrity, devotion and a smile. She’s a walking billboard for Indianapolis and Indiana.
Sasha Krebs is the Manager of the County Shops of Grabill has worked in Grabill since 1998. Despite Sasha’s hectic schedule, she’s always willing to take time out of her day to provide special tours, welcome packages filled with Grabill or serve as the resident spokesperson for Grabill, Indiana. Her nominators says, “After talking with Sasha, you can tell by her enthusiasm and kindness to help any traveler navigate and enjoy Grabill that she really believes and enjoys working in a community where everyone knows each other and cares for each other! She is a very kind, committed, and hardworking individual who deserves credit for her efforts!”
For the past 25 years, Maureen Lambert has led the path for tourism as the Anderson/ Madison County Visitor’s Bureau Tourism/Marketing Director. She uses her years of extensive experience and always willing to share this knowledge with everyone. Many times she has shown the ropes to the newbies in the industry. Mo gives tirelessly of her time to other tourism organizations as well, sitting on multiple executive boards and committees such as being a founding member of the I-69 Cultural Corridor, an Executive Board Member of Indiana Foodways Alliance and East Region Tourism Marketing Cooperative. She is also a Certified Travel Industry Specialist (CTIS). Her nominator says, “Maureen sets her standard of service to the highest level, whether it is with customer service, group tours, meetings, or media relations, she always gives 110%.”
Every time you walk by Grace’s section, you’ll see her grinning from ear to ear and her engaging with a guest or coworker. Grace Liang is the Dual Rate Supervisor- Table Games at Horseshoe Casino Hammond Lake County. Her nominator says, “I once witnessed a guest that was upset with another supervisor in her work area. Grace without hesitation went over and talked to the guest. She had him smiling and laughing in minutes.” The nominator went on to say how Grace always communicates positive feedback or concerns. She truly cares for the Horseshoe and everyone involved.
Chef Daniel Orr is the Chef- Owner of FARMbloomington Restaurant and Co-Host of Earth Eats Monroe Co.
Upon returning to Indiana from the Caribbean and New York, Chef Daniel Orr was adamant on creating a bit of Hoosier paradise. From the beginning, he has used local ingredients with a global flare to delight diners of FARMbloomington Restaurant. His nominator explains, “All one has to do is check out the Yelp and Facebook reviews to know that Chef Daniel Orr and his staff provide exceptional Hoosier Hospitality. Visitors from all over rave about the staff, the decor, and the foods.”
When Chef Daniel Orr isn’t cooking with fresh, local ingredients at FARMbloomington, he can be found Co-Hosting Earth Eats. Earth Eats is a podcast that showcases the best food and green living in our state. Chef Daniel’s commitment to his customers, the staff, the decor and the food have paid off, making FARMbloomington the place to go if you visit Bloomington.
A Lifetime Member of the PGA, Jan Tellstrom has demonstrated a great sense of caring for the needs of others through his work in golf for over 50 years. Jan, a PGA pro, works as the Sales and Marketing Manager for French Lick Resort. He was brought in to open the Pete Dye Golf Course at French Lick where he was responsible for creating the experience that is now recognized throughout the United States as the ultimate golf destination experience. He always takes the time, makes the effort, to provide experiences that are memorable to visitors. Jan gives selflessly of his time and is never too busy to lend a hand, have a conversation and make a difference for the French Lick Resort guests.
Our next recipient for a Hoosier Hospitality award is Marsha Tellstrom. She was nominated by her husband Jan. He says Marsha’s gift for hospitality can be seen in her genuine, smiling face and ability to make everyone feel welcome. Marsha is a Senior Concierge at West Baden Hotel who has a passion for all of Southern Indiana but especially French Lick- West Baden. Jan says, “Marsha’s curiosity in searching for what is the TRUE appeal of a place, as it relates to Tourism. Her favorite question is besides the hotels and resort what is there to do around here?” Marsha never fails to go above and beyond with her guests and always leaves them wanting more! She gives every guest her utmost attention and makes them feel as if they’re the most important person in the space.
As the Historic Buildings Supervisor for Lake County Parks Department, Dyan Wheeler- Quilter lays the groundwork to ensure that every visitor enjoys themselves. Whether a guest needs directions, or are celebrating something special; she seeks to help make their day great. While Dyan provides excellent customer service on a daily basis, she also shares her enthusiasm for the history of Deep River Country Park. Dyan’s nominator says she does it all- she maintains many well-loved and long held programs at the park, and she adds new activities to bring in more people on a regular basis. Dyan is kind, helpful, and dedicated to giving everyone.
Henry Wilhite is not just your average Food and Beverage Host at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. In fact, Henry’s Hoosier Hospitality was recognized on Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari’s Facebook recently. A mom of a guest posted about a sweet guy named Henry who noticed her son having a hard time with his broken leg. Henry, with his own money, bought the guest gummy worms in order to put a smile on his face. Within a few days the post had gone viral. Henry has a clear commitment to the guests goes out of his way to ensure that all visitors have a smile on their face. We’re told he offers a lot of high fives, too!
Our final Hoosier Hospitality Award is for a team effort. The saying “not all heroes wear capes” is fitting for these behind the scenes recipients. The Opportunity Enterprises Cleaning Crew serves the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center in Porter County on a nightly basis. Once the doors close and the lights go off for the day, the Opportunity Enterprises Cleaning Crew sweeps into action, making sure the decade old Visitor’s center looks good as new for the 100,000+ annual guests. Their nominator states, “Cleaning and helping maintain our visitor center isn't easy, but the Opportunity Enterprises team does a fantastic job! Visitors are shocked to learn that our center is more than a decade old- they often think that it’s brand new!”