Travel and Tourism Week
Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination! We are excited to announced the winners of the Faces of Tourism Awards! We have two more awards to surprise the recipients with on May 18th. Following those award presentations we will post the complete list.
The Faces of Tourism Awards recognize those in the tourism industry who go above and beyond to ensure local and visitor guests have the best experience possible. In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week May 7 – 14, 2017 nominations were taken. Once the winners were selected the awards were presented at the recipients place of work by surprise!
And the winner is……….
Hotel / Guest Services
Chris Clemens, Night Manager, Courtyard Marriott Muncie
Chris is the epitome of hospitality and gets our guests excited not only about the hotel, but Muncie and all of the things there are to do here. All of our guests love him, and he does such a great job meeting all of their needs. He will go above and beyond for everyone, including our Erskine Green students. He cares deeply not only for our guests, but for all of the employees as well.
Nominated by Jennifer Hasty
Laura Compton, Guest Relations Coordinator, Muncie Children’s Museum
Laura is a beacon of light. She recently finished the last of several radiation/chemo treatments for cancer and despite all of that, she consistently comes to work with glowing enthusiasm, hope and light. She is patient, friendly, helpful and kind to all guests of the museum. She is also a wealth of knowledge about any questions the museum guest may have about Muncie or surrounding areas. She always has a smile on her face, a kind word to children in the museum, and a shoulder to lean on when you need it.
On top of all of her personal adversities, she remains a positive force and a beacon of light in a negative situation.
She is one of a kind, truly, and that is why I believe she is a great face of Tourism in Muncie.
Nominated by Mercedes Hoover
Server or Bartender
Chris Piche, Bartender/Owner, The Fickle Peach
For decades, Chris Piche has been an ambassador for Muncie in his various jobs in downtown Muncie. Whether at Vera Mae’s, the Heorot, Flappers or The Fickle Peach, Chris has always been recognized as a positive voice for our community. When visitors come to his bar, he takes a moment to learn about them and then eagerly shares the exciting and interesting things happening in Muncie. He encourages them to visit other establishments and attractions, even if he’s sending potential business to his competitors. I’ve overheard numerous conversations between Chris and customers from out of town, and I can attest that he goes above and beyond to promote Muncie as a quality place in which he is proud to live and own a business.
Nominated by: Traci Lutton
Chris is in my eyes exactly what the face of tourism is about in Muncie Indiana. He is the owner of a well known craft beer bar, a supporter of local arts, events, not for profits and Muncie all around. He is the welcoming face when walking into his establishment. Chris will never know a stranger. He walks guests through the process of deciding on a craft beer selection. He points people in the right direction for what Muncie has to offer, whether that be a tourist looking for a bit to eat, a place to get a martini, or even a place to walk their dog.
Nominated by: Caleb Churchill
Back of the house
Dustin Stillinger, Horticulture Manager, Minnetrista
When you are looking for a beautiful location in Muncie, it won’t be long before you find yourself at Minnetrista. No matter what time of year, the grounds are gorgeous with seasonal blooms, plantings, and gardens to discover and explore. Enjoyed by the local tourist and out of town guest alike, Minnetrista serves as an aesthetic anchor to our community.
The main face working behind the scens to bring that beauty to our region is Dustin Stillinger, Horticulture Manager. Dustin works diligently behind the scens to keep the site looking great while keeping the end user experience in mind. Dustin often asks himself and others, “What would make this more enjoyable for Minnetrista visitors?” The results are outstanding. In recent years, his work has resulted in the community favorite Backyard Garden for families, an experimental vegetable garden, and an example East Lawn rain garden and walking path.
Dustin’s work does not stop there. In addition to creating experiences, Dustin encourages his gardening staff to take the time to talk with visitors, modeling this approach himself. He can be seen answering questions about the work and giving tips on how to do similar things at hime. This simple welcoming act changes Minnetrista from being just a pretty place, to being “my pretty place”.
Making our city a beautiful place to live, work and visit doesn’t end at the property line. Dustin carries his work out into the community both in his official capacity with Minnetrista as well as on his personal time through volunteer service. As Horticulture Manager he works diligently on community projects, partnering with many including Westminster Village, Schaeffer Chapel or Whitely Community Council. As one of the unsung back of the house beautifiers for all of Muncie he has worked with many others including Muncie Clean and Beautiful and Urban Forestry.
Dustin’s work is enjoyed by most residents and visitors in some way. Beautifying our community is not just a job, but a way of thinking and being. His work enhances the visitors experience in Delaware County and should be honored.
Nominated by George Buss
William Wolfe, Catering Supervisor and Executive Chef, Minnetrista
Weekly, I enjoy the talents of Chef William Wolfe Minnetrista’s Catering Supervisor and Executive Chef. At Muncie Rotary and Altrusa meetings, I can count on Chef Will to deliver delectable meals and interesting pairings. From stuffed pork loins to lighter than air mousse, he provides descriptors of the items as he dishes them up. He is proud of his creations and incredibly proud to be leading the culinary team at our community’s premier tourist destination.
In 2014, Will first joined the Minnetrista team. He immediately impressed me with his eagerness to serve and have rapport with the Rotarians lined up for their food. He was promoted a short time later. When I congratulated him, he immediately shared his plans to use fresh ingredients and make almost everything from scratch. He recognized so very well that food can change someone’s whole day – and he wanted people’s experience with food at Minnetrista to be first class. As Will said in a recent edition of the museum’s newsletter, “I want everyone to know that Minnetrista is here and readily available for you to discover. Whether it’s the perfect venue and/or my food, its an experience and won’t leave disappointed.”
Twice weekly, I attend meetings at Minnetrista and I’m never disappointed. I especially love when Will tests a recipe for “Taste of Muncie” and asks for candid feedback. He means it. His creativity and drive to continue to hone his craft have truly put Minnetrista’s catering back in the spotlight. For guests to these club meetings, Chef Will is a marvel. His friendly banter, coupled with his pride in his work and his employer, leave an indelible impression on visitors and instill a desire to return.
Nominated by Jenni Marsh
Hall of Fame
Dale Basham, retired
Dale has been a tireless community activist. He made Muncie/Delaware County his home following his graduation from undergraduate school. Even though he is now retired from teaching, Dale has emerged himself in volunteering on numerous boards and commissions all aimed at improving the quality of place in life here in our community.
During Ball State’s Freshman Orientation programs you can see “Downtown Dale” leading groups of parents on downtown tours to share with them the vitality of our downtown area. He is a wonderful cheerleader for downtown and serves on the Downtown Development Board.
Dale’s tireless volunteerism and love for our community made him the perfect choice for the Al Rent Spirit of Muncie Award, present to him by the chamber in 2014.
Dale is also the emcee for the chamber’s Muncie on the Move Breakfast program. His enthusiasm is contagious and he helps make these early morning networking events great.
Currently Dales serves as the chairman of the Chamber’s Business Education Committee. His experience in education coupled with his understanding of the human resource needs of business, makes him the perfect fit. He is well respected by educations and business leaders alike.
Dale is also a leader in the Muncie Rotary Club where he lives the mission of Service before Self.
If you have any questions about the nomination process, please contact Shonda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-284-2700.