National Travel & Tourism Week Awards
Established by a congressional resolution in 1983, National Travel & Tourism Week serves to celebrate the power and effect these industries have on the national overall. Professionals from across the country that are affiliated with travel, tourism and hospitality work in conjunction with the US Travel Association to highlight and further promote the impactful contributions their markets and organizations make to the U.S. economy.
Each year during this week in May, Visit Bucks County celebrates its travel and tourism industries and its partners that continuously help Bucks County to be a picturesque, hospitable and desirable destination. A variety of events are created and scheduled during this week in celebration including the announcement of Visit Bucks County’s National Travel & Tourism Awards. The five awards categories are Community Service, Guest Excellence, Hospitality Leadership, Rising Star and Dedicated Partner. View winners from previous years.
Congrats to our 2018 Honorees!
Community Service: Parx Casino
The Community Service award goes to a company/organization who develops and implements initiatives that positively impact the Bucks County community. This year's winner, Parx Casino, supports local and regional charitable organizations in four areas: community, health, education and senior organizations. The company encourages employees to serve as mentors to programs that support diversity initiatives, provide scholarships for local college students, as well as programs that provide community food banks with excess food from company inventory. Since commencement of gaming operations in 2006, Parx has made significant philanthropic contributions to more than 30 notable beneficiaries in the region.
Guest Excellence: Greg Hartley, Bristol Riverside Theatre
The Guest Excellence Award honors a frontline staff member who goes the extra mile to help visitors. This year's winner, Greg Hartley, goes the extra mile to make sure everyone has a great experience at Bristol Riverside Theatre. Whether he is hand delivering tickets or calling a restaurant multiple times to change a group order, he always does it with a smile on his face. Hartley has been in the entertainment/hospitality industry for 37 years. What started as a summer job in 1980 at Sesame Place turned into a 31 year theme park career. In May of 2012, Hartley began volunteering at Bristol Riverside Theatre, two weeks later he became the House Manager. In December of that year he moved to his current position of Audience Development Coordinator. Because of his love for disaster movies and MGM musicals, he started college as a cinema major. After he began supervising at Sesame Place he changed his major to Business Management and received his Bachelor’s Degree from Delaware Valley University.
Hospitality Leadership: Marie Toner, Pearl S. Buck House
The Hospitality Leadership Award honors an individual who exemplifies all the qualities of a good manager while directing and motivating his/her staff and ultimately increasing visitation to Bucks County. This year's winner, Marie Toner, is the curator of the Pearl S. Buck House. In her role, she is responsible for the development of public programs, special exhibits and lectures both on and off site. In particular, she manages the rotating exhibits in the Pearl S. Buck Exhibit Gallery and the annual Festival of Trees. Toner also manages daily operations, the tour desk and docents to ensure a professional and relevant tourist experience. Toner is responsible for the care, management and preservation of the contents of the site and she also oversees the Pearl S. Buck archives. Born and raised in Bucks County, she states that she “always had a passion for museums, the arts and historic sites." Toner earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Temple University in 2010 and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University in 2017.
Rising Star: Kevin Kelly, Sheraton Bucks County Hotel
The Rising Star Award is given to a young professional aspiring to a long career in the tourism/hospitality industry. This year's winner, Kevin Kelly, displays his passion for hospitality through his everyday work ethics and his commitment to guest satisfaction. He started at the Sheraton Bucks County Hotel in 2012 as a Night Auditor before becoming Front Office Supervisor in early 2016. His efforts helped the Sheraton climb to the top of the brand. In April 2018, he became the Front Office Manager. Kelly is a lifelong resident of Bucks County and graduated from Bucks County Community College with an Associate's degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management.
Dedicated Partner: Ann Lipcsey, Peddler's Village
The Dedicated Partner Award, chosen by Visit Bucks County’s staff, honors a person who not only helps to bring more visitors to Bucks County, but also has made a difference through their dedication to working with the tourism office. This year's winner, Ann Lipcsey, has more than 24 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Lipcsey was recently promoted to Assistant Director of Sales with Peddler's Village. In addition, she is also the in-house Wedding Planner. Lipcsey is a graduate of Archbishop Ryan High School and Widener University’s School of Hospitality Management. She says, “It’s truly been a journey to work my way up through the ranks and I am so grateful to have had all the experiences that I have had. I have seen couples get engaged, married and have babies! It’s such a wonderful part of life to celebrate, and to be part of that is a pretty amazing feeling!”