📅May 7th, 2014, 14:22

The Knoxville Convention Center recently received the 2014 Service/Supplier of the Year Pauly Award by the Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association (GKHA) at the 10th Annual Stars of Industry Luncheon.

“We are honored to receive this award from Knoxville’s tourism industry,” said Mary Bogert, general manager of the Knoxville Convention Center. “As Knoxville’s premier convention and meetings venue, we are grateful to our tourism partners and friends that help us serve the more than 300,000 annual visitors to our facility.”

The Pauly Awards, named after local hospitality industry leader the late Paul Sherbakoff, are given out annually by the GKHA during National Travel and Tourism Week in May to honor and recognize the best of the best in Knoxville’s hospitality and tourism industry.

“As a valuable partner to all organizations in the hospitality industry, I am pleased that we can honor the Convention Center staff in front of their peers and in front of the industry,” said Jill Thompson, GKHA executive director.

The award recognizes the Knoxville Convention Center for excellent operations and upgrades to remain competitive for meetings and conventions to keep regional, national and international events coming to Knoxville. Over its 12-year history, the facility has hosted representatives from more than 80 countries. The Knoxville Convention Center hosts an average of 240 events per year that bring economic impact to hotels, restaurants, retail stores and other local businesses.

Other award winners were:

  • Lodging General Manager of the Year:  Anita Lane, general manager, Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Knoxville
  • Restaurant General Manager of the Year:  Girish Desai, general manager, El Chico Café
  • Lodging Manager of the Year:  Debbie Bailey, manager, Calhoun’s Banquets/Copper Cellar Catering
  • Attraction/Museum of the Year:  NavCal River Rides, Captain John Farmer and First Mate Jeanette Farmer
  • Lodging Employee of the Year:  Gainum Lee Willis, food and beverage manager, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Papermill Road
  • Restaurant Employee of the Year:  Varnell Benn, server, Windows on the Park at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park
  • Service/Supplier Employee of the Year:  James Bosi, manager of business resources and marketing, Sysco Knoxville
  • Community Service of the Year:  Whitney Holliday, sales manager, Hampton Inn-Knoxville West
  • Volunteer of the Year:  Lynne Overton, general manager, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Lenoir City
  • Friendliest Face of the Year:  Chauntele Scarlett, guest services supervisor, Hampton Inn West

Eligible winners are automatically submitted for the Stars of the Industry state awards sponsored by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association.

About the Knoxville Convention Center

The Knoxville Convention Center, managed by SMG, is located in downtown Knoxville adjacent to the Sunsphere. It boasts a 120,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 27,000-square-foot divisible ballroom and up to 25 meeting rooms. For more information, visit

About SMG

Founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 230 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theatres, performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, science centers, and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 15 million square feet of exhibition space and more than 1.5 million sports and entertainment seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services for such landmark facilities as McCormick Place & Solider Field in Chicago, Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston’s Reliant Park and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions, catering and special events division, SAVOR, currently servicing 130 accounts worldwide. For more information visit