INDIANAPOLIS - The Chairman of the Board for the Cook Group has been awarded Indiana’s top tourism industry award for his many efforts to make Indiana a destination location. Steve Ferguson received the Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award during a ceremony at the Indiana State Fair.

Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, who presented the honor during the annual Hoosier Hospitality Awards, says Ferguson is a visionary who saw potential with the creation of the French Lick resort.

“Steve Ferguson revived the historic hotel property. He also hired legendary architect, Pete Dye, to design a championship golf course in the hills of the Hoosier National Forest and today, French Lick is one of America’s premier resort destinations,” Crouch said. “Ferguson’s dedication, leadership and passion are what it took to propel French Lick and our state to the Next Level in tourism and development.”

Ferguson is a five-time winner of the Sagamore of the Wabash award. He has also served four terms in the Indiana House of Representatives. But Ferguson puts the hotel renovations at the top of his personal list of achievements.

“It made an impact on people and it made an impact in the community,” said Ferguson. “This project has really changed this area.”

The Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award is presented annually. It’s named for the late Will Koch, long-time owner and president of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. The Indiana Department of Tourism Development created the award to recognize Hoosiers who have made meaningful contributions to tourism and business.

Lt. Governor Crouch also awarded 15 others with the Hoosier Hospitality Award for their efforts to make Indiana a place to live and visit.  You can see the list by clicking here.