Paul Beyer receives Tourism Achievement Award

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (May 11, 2017) – The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau (CACVB) presented its 2017 Tourism Achievement Award (formerly ―Tourism Person of the Year Award) to Paul Beyer, Founder and Executive Director of the Tom Tom Founders Festival. This community leader was recognized for his vision, inspiration, leadership, community outreach and collaboration through which Tom Tom Founders Festival was created, inspiring entrepreneurship, critical thinking, and celebration of the arts. The award was presented at the CACVB’s annual Tourism Recognition Awards presentation, which was held at the Doubletree Hotel Charlottesville, in celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week.

The Tom Tom Foundation celebrates and empowers the founders of creative, civic, and entrepreneurial projects. The signature project of the Foundation is the Tom Tom Founders Festival, which occurs each April over Thomas Jefferson’s birthday week (April 13), as Charlottesville’s historic downtown is reimagined as a creative canvas. Like the founding polymath, the Founders Festival explores diverse disciplines – society, education, energy, food, and technology — and links the rich history of the City with an exploration into the future. Ultimately, the festival seeks to leave lasting legacies of creativity throughout Charlottesville through public art and business formation.

2016 Tourism Achievement Award recipient Chris Eure, Executive Director of the Paramount Theater, who presented Paul Beyer with his award at today’s ceremony, said “Paul Beyer has established a track record for vision, drive, high energy, connectivity, and an uncompromising belief that what he champions is exactly what is helping to shape and define our community. Tom Tom Founders Festival has positioned itself not only in the Mid-Atlantic, but on the East Coast as the event to attend where creative minds, entrepreneurs, dreamers and doers, converge in Charlottesville to share and to inspire. This year’s Hometown Summit, a new addition to Tom Tom, gave attendees and our community a personal sense of connectivity,” she said.

Kurt Burkhart, CACVB’s Executive Director, remarks, ―”The Tom Tom Founders Festival has rapidly grown over the past five years to become one of the most cherished events taking place yearly in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The CACVB was one of the first supporters of this Festival and to believe in Paul Beyer’s vision of our area becoming an innovation hub. There is no question Tom Tom contributes to the tourism vitality of our destination. Under Paul’s leadership, the Tom Tom Founders Festival has contributed to showcasing Charlottesville and Albemarle County to out-of-area visitors,” he said. ―”This is why he was selected as this year’s recipient of the CACVB Tourism Achievement Award.”

Past years’ Tourism Achievement Award winners include:
2016 Chris Eure, The Paramount Theater
2015 Lynn Easton, Easton Events
2014 LOOK3 – Festival of the Photograph
2013 Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. 2
012 Monticello Artisan Trail
2011 Bob Stroh, Downtown Business Association
2010 Gary O’Connell, Albemarle County Service Authority
2009 Leonard Sandridge, University of Virginia
2008 Michael Quinn, Montpelier
2007 Richard Herskowitz, Formerly of Virginia Film Festival
2006 Greg MacDonald, Michie Tavern
2005 Felicia Rogen, Virginia Wines (Oakencroft)
2004 Nancy Damon, Virginia Festival of the Book
2003 Kat Imhoff, Formerly of Monticello
2002 Bryan Elliott, CHO – Regional Airport
2001 Bobbie Cochran, Formerly of CACVB
2000 Helen Driver, Wintergreen Resort
1999 Patricia Kluge, Virginia Film Festival
1998 Susan Allen, Former First Lady of Virginia
1997 Forrest Marshall, Former Board of Supervisors Chair, Albemarle County
1996 Dan Jordan, Monticello

The annual tourism reception and award presentation allows the hospitality community the opportunity to celebrate the collaborative efforts of the local tourism industry while acknowledging the efforts of one particular individual or group who has shown great leadership through their commitment to tourism in our region.

The 2017 event also marked the seventh year of a now well-established tradition; individuals working in the local tourism industry were recognized for their commitment and excellence in customer service in the following categories:

– Best Server: Restaurant, Bistro, Café, Lounge or Pub – Rachel Gendreau, Bizou Restaurant
– Best Chef – Walter Slawski, The Shebeen Pub and Braai
– Best Customer Service: Attractions – Nate Johnson, RMC Events (John Paul Jones Arena)
– Best Customer Service: Transportation Services – Roger Jackman, Wish Wish Wine Tours
– Best Customer Service: Lodging – Kayla Musselman – Hilton Garden Inn

In tourism and hospitality, a business’s success is realized in large measure by the direct contact a person has with someone who is usually on the front-line or who provides customer service. National Tourism Week is the perfect opportunity to recognize some very special people in our community who have provided a memorable experience for visitors and local patrons. Winners of the above awards were selected through a public vote, which took place March 1 through April 14, 2017.

Additionally, the CACVB recognized an outstanding staff member again this year. Carla Mullen, Travel Specialist, was presented with the 2017 Shining Star Award for outstanding excellence in customer service.