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State’s Tourism Leaders Honored during Governor’s Tourism Conference

BOONE–Forty tourism leaders from across the state were honored as “North Carolina Tourism Leaders of the 20th Century” during the N.C. Governor’s Conference on Tourism March 27 in Wilmington.

The awards were established by the Industry Advisory Board of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program in Appalachian State University’s John A. Walker College of Business.

“With the size and diversity of the state’s tourism industry, and especially looking back 100 years, we realize that many people have had a lasting, positive impact on North Carolina,” said Harris Prevost, vice president of Grandfather Mountain and chairman of the award committee. “Those whom we are honoring at this important time in our history reflect the high caliber of leadership not only in the past century, but those who are leading our industry as we move into the new century. As we honor these individuals, we hope, at the same time, to inspire young people to provide the same type of leadership for the 21st century.”

The “Pioneer Award” recipients are considered originators, visionaries and product creators, who in many cases, risked personal assets to build businesses or to help build the North Carolina tourism industry. The “Builders Award” recipients helped develop and promote tourism products, structures or tourism organizations already in existence and took those organizations to new levels of accomplishment.

Nominations were sought from across the state. Criteria for selection included the leader’s impact on the travel industry, length of service, leadership innovation, civic-minded attitude and, finally, their enhancement of the reputation of North Carolina throughout the United States and the world.

Individuals receiving the “Pioneer Award” were:

William A.V. Cecil, Asheville, who pioneered historic preservation through private enterprise by transforming Biltmore Estate into a world-class attraction.John and Faye Cooper, Valle Crucis, who developed The Mast Store into a major tourism magnet.

Voit Gilmore, Pinehurst, director of U.S. Travel and Tourism and founding member of

the North Carolina Travel Council and the Travel Agents of North Carolina.

John Harris, Kitty Hawk, an innovative outdoor recreation leader who helped establish the Outer Banks as a recreation destination.

Hugh Morton, Linville, who helped save the battleship USS North Carolina and is a photographer and promoter of preservation of the environment. He also developed Grandfather Mountain.

T. Ed Pickard, Charlotte, a longtime North Carolina Travel Council leader who was instrumental in AAA Carolina Motor Club’s support of tourism.

Red Pope, Jr., Raleigh, who led the effort to support the North Carolina Zoo and oversaw its site selection and early development.

Spencer and Harry Robbins, Blowing Rock, who founded the North Carolina High Country Host regional tourism promotion organization and started Tweetsie Railroad, Hound Ears Club, Elk River Club and Beech Mountain.

Posthumous Pioneer awards were given in honor of the following:

Tom Alexander, Maggie Valley, considered the father of

the N.C. skiing industry.Aycock Brown, Manteo, a legendary promoter who put the Outer Banks on the map.

Paul Green, Chapel Hill, considered father of outdoor drama in North Carolina and of the Institute for Outdoor Drama. He authored the outdoor drama “The Lost Colony.”

Tom Davis, Winston-Salem, founder of Piedmont Airlines who brought air access to North Carolina cities.

Congressman Robert Doughton, Sparta, who secured funding for building the Blue Ridge Parkway and helped secure its location in North Carolina.

Thad Eure Jr., Raleigh, who set the standard of service excellence in restaurants.

Johnny Hemmer, Pinehurst, considered the father of photographic promotion of North Carolina.

Gov. Luther Hodges, Raleigh, founder of the North Carolina Travel Council and who was active in tourism promotion. Started tourism trade missions.

Maude Moore Latham, Greensboro, a leader and benefactor in the restoration of Tryon Palace.

Grover Robbins, Blowing Rock, with his brothers, Harry and Spencer, founded the North Carolina High Country Host regional tourism promotion organization, started Tweetsie Railroad, Hound Ears Club, Elk River Club and Beech Mountain.

Bill Sharpe, Raleigh, innovative director of North Carolina Travel and Tourism.

Richard Tufts, Pinehurst, who helped make North Carolina “The Golf State.”

Carol White, Cherokee, founding manager of the Cherokee Historical Association and an early heritage tourism innovator.

Individuals receiving the “Builders Award” were:

Richard Barentine, Lexington, a leader of International Home Furnishings Market from 1977-99. He also helped establish the North Carolina Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.Pat Corso, Pinehurst, who brought Pinehurst to prominence and the U.S. Open to North Carolina. He is a leader of statewide tourism organizations.

Art Flynn, Greensboro, a lodging and travel industry leader and mentor to many of today’s leaders.

Frank Freeman, Greensboro, a consensus building leader in the North Carolina Travel Council and the North Carolina Restaurant Association.

Jack Goldstein, Salter Path, a coastal leader and volunteer in statewide travel organizations.

Judith Grizzel, Wilmington, a promoter of Wilmington and statewide tourism leader.

Charles Heatherly, Cary, who revitalized the North Carolina Travel and Tourism Division as director.

Bill Hensley, Charlotte, a public relations professional who put North Carolina in the national spotlight.

Nancy Holder, Winston-Salem, who helped develop North Carolina as a popular destination for business meetings.

Lew Hooper, Charlotte, who promoted Carowinds into the state’s leading theme park.

Mary Jaeger-Gale, Chimney Rock, whose efforts increased attendance at Chimney Rock and who promoted tourism and regional organizations such as Handmade in America.

John Ketchum, Charlotte, whose marketing programs promoting North Carolina as a travel destination have consistently ranked as some of the best in the United States.

Loonis McGlohon, Charlotte, traveled the globe inspiring people to visit the state through the “North Carolina is My Home” program.

Steve Miller, Asheville, who helped Biltmore Estate grow dramatically.

Grady and Reba Moretz, Boone, who have put more skiers on North Carolina slopes than anyone else through Appalachian Ski Mountain and their work with North Carolina High Country Host.

Ernest O’Banion, West Jefferson, a lodging industry and statewide travel industry leader.

H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, Concord, put stock car racing on “page one” in the United State through Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

T. Jerry Williams, Raleigh, North Carolina Restaurant Association advocate and

promoter of hospitality/tourism education.

Robert and Joan Zimmerman, Charlotte, innovators in travel-based consumer shows through their Southern Shows.

Posthumous “Builders” awards were presented honoring Tony Seaman Sr., Morehead City, a coastal promoter and founder of the Sanitary Fish Market restaurant, and Charles Kuralt who traveled the globe inspiring people to visit the state through the “North Carolina is My Home” program.

A recognition dinner will be held April 12 at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center on the Appalachian campus.

At that time, each award recipient (if deceased, a colleague, friend or family member) will be presented with a framed document featuring all those named as “North Carolina Tourism Leaders of the 20th Century.”An endowment fund established in honor of the award recipients will provide scholarships and opportunities for students in Appalachian’s hospitality and tourism management program to attend industry conferences. It also will help bring hospitality and tourism professionals to Appalachian for classroom interaction.