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Local tourism leader Jack Berry receives Tourism Impact Award renamed in his honor

Richmond Region Tourism renamed its hallmark leadership award after its current CEO and president Jack Berry before his retirement later this year at the organization’s annual Awards and Annual Meeting this week.

Trevor Dickerson

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Photo: Richmond Region Tourism

Richmond Region Tourism renamed its hallmark leadership award after its current CEO and president Jack Berry before his retirement later this year at the organization’s annual Awards and Annual Meeting this week. The inaugural award was presented to Berry in front of a packed ballroom at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on May 7.

About 400 people attended the event which celebrated the region’s ongoing tourism successes and recognized the people and organizations fueling the area’s tourism growth.

The region saw record occupancy and visitor spending last year, welcoming 17.5 million visitors who spent $3.5 billion and supported more than 27,600 jobs.
The meeting also included a live interview with Berry and remarks from incoming president and CEO Katherine O’Donnell.
Berry received the Jack Berry Tourism Impact Award for his role in helping the region leverage its historic, cultural and natural assets to create record-setting visitation and tourism spending during his three decade career as president and CEO. The former Tourism Impact Award was renamed in his honor. He retires from Richmond Region Tourism on June 30.
“Jack is an unparalleled and accomplished leader who has dedicated his career over several decades to the success of the Richmond Region,” said Lisa Sims, board chair for Richmond Region Tourism. “We are thrilled to honorhis contributions and continue his legacy by naming this award in his honor.”
Todd “Parney” Parnell received the Chairman’s Award presented by Dominion Energy. The former Richmond Flying Squirrels’ operation chief and current senior advisor was recognized for his years of leadership and dedication to minor league baseball and the team’s impact on the region.
Richmond Region Tourism also announced the following awards:
  • Partner of the Year presented by Richmond Times-Dispatch: Colonial Downs® & Rosie’s Gaming Emporium®
  • MVP Sports Award presented by The 288 Group: Forrest Lodge, Director of Strategic Planning, Sportable
  • Restaurant of the Year presented by Woodford Reserve: Liz Kincaid, Owner, RVA Hospitality
  • Hotel of the Year presented by Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association: Holiday Inn Express Richmond – Midtown
  • Event of the Year presented by Kings Dominion & Soak City: CARMAX Tacky Light Run
  • Tourism Leadership Award presented by McGuireWoods LLC: Nicole Neale, Owner, Ms. Niki Tours, LLC
  • Customer Service Award presented by TowneBank: Andrew Wilhelm, Operations Officer, Capital Region Airport Commission/Richmond International Airport
“Our tourism community is incredible, and we’re thankful for the contributions of this year’s winners,” said O’Donnell. “Tourism is a powerful economic engine that’s supporting and uplifting our community. As we work to ensure the Richmond Region is one of the best destinations in the country, this year’s honorees are helping us get there.”
Proceeds from the Tourism Awards and Annual Meeting benefit the Richmond Region Tourism Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Richmond Region Tourism aimed at advancing the local hospitality industry by supporting and investing in local education, diversity and inclusion and sports tourism programs.
During the event, the Foundation announced the three recipients of its annual scholarship program for students enrolled at Virginia State University’s Hospitality Management program. Kiersten Nichols, Naadiya Al-Salam and Taylor Haynesworth received $1,000 scholarships.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.