updated: 5/9/2013 8:03:37 AM

Ellspermann Reveals 'Hoosier Hospitality' Winners

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association President John Livengood has been named the recipient of this year's Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award. The honor was presented during yesterday's Hoosier Hospitality Awards event at the Statehouse. Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann announced 20 award winner.

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May 8, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann presented the prestigious Will Koch Award to John Livengood for his 24 years of service to the travel, tourism and hospitality industries and recognized other outstanding contributions to the tourism industry during a ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the Statehouse. Twenty representatives of the tourism industry earned the 2013 Lieutenant Governor's Hoosier Hospitality Award for their high level of service in tourism-related jobs at hotels, restaurants, attractions and other destinations.

"Indiana has a national reputation for Hoosier Hospitality and the men and women we acknowledge today exemplify excellence in service," said Ellspermann. "I am honored to recognize the best of the best in an industry vitally important to Indiana’s economy."

The Will Koch Award is presented annually and is the highest tourism honor bestowed by the lieutenant governor and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD). The award is named after the late Will Koch, long-time owner and president of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari and chief executive officer of its parent company, Koch Development Corporation. IOTD, in conjunction with the Koch family, established the Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award to celebrate and pay tribute to Koch's many meaningful contributions to tourism, business and society. Winners of the award are recognized for outstanding accomplishments in economic and community development through tourism.

Livengood has been a leader in the restaurant and lodging industries for over 24 years. He currently serves as president of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers and the Indiana Hospitality and Tourism Foundation. Continuing the spirit of the award’s namesake, he has been a top advocate for the Indiana hospitality and tourism industry throughout his career. Livengood was instrumental in the creation of the Tourism Council and IOTD. For his service to Indiana, he was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Governor Evan Bayh in 1989. Livengood will retire in September.

The Hoosier Hospitality Awards ceremony is part of Visit Indiana Week, May 5-11. Nominations are submitted by community members and destination patrons. Nominations are reviewed and winners are selected by IOTD. Outstanding service is a major factor in determining whether a person returns to an individual business or destination. Travel, tourism and hospitality businesses support nearly 200,000 Hoosier jobs, drive $10 billion in consumer spending and serve 63 million travelers on an annual basis. The chief beneficiaries of this economic impact are the family-owned and small businesses that are the backbone of Indiana.

"Tourism is a critical economic driver for Indiana," said Mark Newman, executive director of IOTD. "Visitor spending imports cash to our communities, creates jobs, enhances the local economy and improves the quality of life for our residents. The Indiana Office of Tourism Development strives to be the leader of our state’s tourism industry by initiating meaningful projects that advance our industry and enhance the image and profile of Indiana."

The 2013 Lieutenant Governor's Hoosier Hospitality Award recipients are:

Name - Organization - County

Samir Lakhany - Superhost Enterprise - Allen
Alexa Lemley - 240sweet - Bartholomew
Jane Ellis - Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau - Brown
Maria A. Fernandez - Conner Prairie - Hamilton
Brad & Christine Born - Mayberry Cafe - Hendricks
Josh Yocum - Comfort Inn Kokomo - Howard
Tim Burton - Burton's Maplewood Farm - Jackson
Elvin Newhouse - City of Pennville - Jay
Bill Lackner - Lanier Mansion State Historic Site - Jefferson
Guadalupe Cruz - Holiday Inn Express & Suites - Johnson
Claudia Geise - Tryon Farm Guest House - LaPorte
Cathy Smith - White River State Park Visitor's Center - Marion
Betty Peterson and Ruth Elijah - Ligonier Visitors Center & Heritage Station Museum - Noble
Liz Gutgsell - The Pickled Cricket, LLC - Orange
Dani Landgrebe - Industrial Revolution Eatery & Grille - Porter County
Fred Wooley - Pokagon State Park - Steuben
Steve Bennett - Schenck Mansion Bed and Breakfast - Switzerland
Mary Walker - Wayne County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau - Wayne

Source: Indiana Office of Tourism Development

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