Knoxville’s hospitality team named ‘Stars of the Industry’

Knoxville’s hospitality team named ‘Stars of the Industry’

📅August 6th, 2015, 15:35
Barry Dunford, M&M Productions USA

Barry Dunford, M&M Productions USA

The Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association recently held its “Stars of the Industry” awards ceremony in Murfreesboro, and the Knoxville tourism community once again earned recognition. The Knoxville Convention Center’s audiovisual representative, Barry Dunford, was named Employee of the Year in the small business category, and several of our other local hospitality partners also received awards.

It is a great honor to be recognized by peers in the industry for exceptional hospitality. The Knoxville Convention Center was recognized last year as the 2014 Attraction of the Year, and it was very special for our team to be rewarded for its efforts. We are excited that two of our close partners and their staff were honored in 2015.

Barry Dunford, a manager for our contractor, M&M Productions USA, handles audiovisual services for all events at the Convention Center. In 2014, he handled 139 events, including the Knoxville Area Urban League’s annual gala and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention. Our clients rely and trust Dunford to make their events spectacular.

Barry's work at the Knoxville Area Urban League Gala.

Barry’s work at the Knoxville Area Urban League Gala.

His expertise with the company’s turnkey approach in audiovisual technology, lighting, staging, special effects and overall production enhances all of our clients’ events. Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League and frequent client of the Convention Center, had great things to say about her experiences with Dunford.

“He makes it so easy for me to do my job because he does his so professionally,” Nichols said. “I enjoy working with him.”

Another partner, Visit Knoxville, brought home two industry awards this year. Visit Knoxville earned Destination Marketing Organization of the year, and Visit Knoxville’s Kelli Gibson, director of convention services, won Tourism Manager of the Year.

These awards recognize efforts in branding our city to attract new visitors to experience what Knoxville has to offer. The Knoxville Convention Center and Visit Knoxville work together to bring great conventions and conferences to Knoxville and ensure every guest enjoys our Southern hospitality.

Visit Knoxville Marketing Director Angie Wilson accepting DMO of the Year award.

Visit Knoxville Marketing Director Angie Wilson accepting DMO of the Year award.

The Knoxville community as a whole has really stepped up to help raise Knoxville’s prominence in the state’s tourism leadership. In 2015, Knoxville was very well-represented in the award winners, also including:

  • Tourism General Manger of the Year: Dana Hart, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Restaurant General Manager of the Year (independent): Mahasti Vafaie, The Tomato Head
  • Restaurant Manager of the Year (chain): Toby Winters, Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants
  • Women in Hospitality and Tourism Leader of the Year: Jill Thompson, Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association (GKHA)

It has been another great year in Knoxville’s hospitality industry. Thank you to the Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association for recognizing our tourism team!