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2015 Governor’s Travel and Tourism Awards Announced
Post Date: Apr 23 2015

By ND Commerce Tourism Division
Six Governor’s Travel and Tourism Awards recognizing outstanding leaders in North Dakota’s tourism industry were presented today as part of the 2015 North Dakota Travel and Tourism Conference in Minot. The awards were presented by North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson.

“North Dakota’s tourism industry is making significant contributions to our communities and state, and plays an integral role in the growth and strength of our economy,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. “These tourism professionals are being honored for their dedication, innovation and leadership, and exemplify the outstanding work occurring across the state to advance our tourism opportunities and successes. They are on the front lines as ambassadors for North Dakota and we are proud to honor and thank them, as well as all of our tourism partners, for their service to the industry and to our state.”

Tiffany Irving, Front-line Tourism Employee. Front Office Manager for Staybridge Suites Fargo and the Intercontinental Hotels Group 2014 “Best of the Best” Guest Service Representative, Tiffany Irving has worked to personify customer service. With glowing reviews from hotel guests after helping with reservations, billing, and other general issues, Tiffany has also earned respect from her industry peers.  Her training methods and enthusiastic attitude have helped fellow employees improve their job performance, ultimately improving Staybridge Suites Fargo’s guest survey scores. In part due to the superior service standards Tiffany oversees, the hotel earned the company’s 2014 Quality Excellence Award.

Fred Flood, Behind the Scenes Tourism Employee. As a staff member at Staybridge Suites in Fargo since 2012, Fred Flood has worked his way up from housekeeper to assisting the hotel’s chief engineer. Although fellow staff members describe him as a “jack of all trades,” handling everything from driving the shuttle, taking care of maintenance, guest luggage, housekeeping, and gardening, Fred’s top priority is ensuring he makes a difference in the experience of each guest. He believes in continually creating value for others and building relationships with Staybridge guests and co-workers.

Terry Harzinski, Travel and Tourism Industry Leader. Terry Harzinski was instrumental in establishing the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau and has worked to serve the community since 1986. He retired from his position as CEO of the CVB in 2015. His passion and dedication helped attract several national and international events to Bismarck-Mandan and in the process promoted the entire state of North Dakota. Some of the events Terry helped attract include the 1989 Women’s International Bowling Congress drawing roughly 50,000 people; the 1991 National High School Athletic Coaches Association national convention, the WBCCI Airstream Rally in 1993 and in 2000; the World Horseshoe Tournament in 2000, the World Curling Championship in 2002, and the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in 2012 and 2014. Terry truly helped the Bismarck-Mandan area become a destination for both business and leisure travel, conferences and conventions.

Unglued Craft Fest, Event of the Year. This two-day event at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo attracted 5,000 attendees to view a curated selection of the region’s top makers, crafters and artists. More than 80 vendors sold their wares against a backdrop of live local music, artisan food and local coffee roasters. Unglued inspired the community to get creative through free workshops and project offerings, the make-and-take craft lounge and an indoor chalk fest by the Art Partnership. The event was started in 2011 by a small group of friends who did sewing and other creative projects in the evenings and has proven profitable to participating artists and vendors.

Williston Area Recreation Center, Tourism Attraction of the Year. Since this state-of-the-art facility opened one year ago in March 2014, it has hosted more than 330,000 guests. While Williston resident members have been active users of the ARC, more than 78,000 non-members have also used the facility through day passes and special events. The ARC has enhanced the Williston community’s ability to provide year-round recreational activities including swim meets, basketball tournaments, community fundraising events, training sessions, and even wedding receptions. The ARC will continue to grow its offerings by hosting volleyball tournaments and track meets in 2015.  While the facility has received a lot of local attention, it has also earned broader attention being featured in print, radio, video and social media stories including in the National Recreation Parks Association magazine and website. The ARC has also earned North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association Golden Egg Award, the Williston Economic Development Award as Project of the Year, and the North Dakota Ready-Mix and Concrete Products Association Gold Award for Government Projects. 
North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, Tourism Organization of the Year. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department has grown to include 13 state parks and 10 recreation areas, hosting millions of visitors each year. From marinas, beaches, campsites and corrals, to hiking trails, scenic overlooks and interpretive centers, North Dakota’s parks and recreation sites are available for all and encourage an appreciation for the great outdoors. They also play an important role in the economy and recreation opportunities of nearby communities. While its responsibilities have expanded since 1965, the department continues to remain focused on conserving nature, preserving history and providing outdoor recreational activities to residents and visitors alike. Visitors often cite the cleanliness and appearance of the parks as first rate and praise the staff for their efforts, friendliness and helpfulness.
“We are proud to have such great individuals and partners across the state representing the travel industry,” said Sara Otte Coleman, director of North Dakota Tourism. “The personalized service and unique opportunities they provide are truly what sets our state apart. They are what makes North Dakota Legendary.”
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