The owner and president of the Luke Family of Brands in Hobart has been awarded the Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award, which honors a Hoosier for “meaningful contributions” to tourism, business and society. Thomas Collins II received the award Thursday from the Indiana Destination Development Corp.
The business was started in the 1960s as a supplier of home heating oil, but has diversified its operations over the past five decades. The Luke Family of Brands now operates convenience stores throughout northwest Indiana, an orchard and an Indianapolis restaurant.
“Collins is a leader in every sense of the word,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “He has been instrumental not only in supporting Indiana tourism and economic development but also in his community service. He is well deserving of this honor.”
The Koch award is considered the highest tourism honor given by the state. It’s named after the late Will Koch, the long-time owner of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.
Nominations for the award are submitted by community leaders and members of Indiana’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
The IDDC also presented the Visit Indiana Leadership Award to former Perry County Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Betty Cash. She led the organization for 13 years.
The agency also presented 16 tourism industry representatives with a Hoosier Hospitality Award for their service in tourism-related jobs at hotels, restaurants, attractions and other destinations.
The 2022 Hoosier Hospitality winners are:
- Tessie Anderson – Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center
- Shyla Beam – Vincennes Knox County Visitors and Tourism Bureau
- Alan Brown – Newfields, Indianapolis
- Manny Cortez – Community Pro-Education, Goshen
- Denise Davis – Indianapolis Airport Authority
- Kathaleen (Kate) Garrett – Metro Diner, Mishawaka
- Eric Ivie – Hendricks County Parks and Recreation
- Ariene (Ari) Mambo – Newfields, Indianapolis
- Mark McKinney – Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne
- Linda Meek- Hilton Garden Inn, Edinburgh
- John Mellinger – Visit Indy
- Cory O’Sullivan – Electric Key Records and Roux-Ga-Roux’s, Franklin
- Bruce Sigmon – Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center
- Debra Wayman – Hope Medora Goes Pink Festival
- Staff at Toodleydoo Toys – Franklin
- The Team at the Veteran’s National Memorial Shrine & Museum – Fort Wayne
“These award winners represent the best of our state from the Leisure and Hospitality Industry,” said IDDC’s Secretary and CEO Elaine Bedel. “These individuals dedicate their time and service to showcase to visitors and their communities what a great place Indiana is to work, live and visit.”
Click here to learn more about the tourism awards.