Media Contact:
Karen Miltner, Public Relations Manager
585-394-3915 office/585-507-7885 cell

CANANDAIGUA --- Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, the official tourism promotion agency for Ontario County, is celebrating National Tourism Week (May 1-7, 2016) with the Ontario County Tourism Legacy Awards.  The Legacy Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions, demonstrated marketing or service excellence, or developed outstanding products for our tourism industry.

On Thursday, May 5, Finger Lakes Visitors Connection will add 12 more to the list at a breakfast ceremony that takes place at the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan State Historic Site, 7000 County Road 41 in Victor. Media professionals are invited to attend. Here is a list of the 2016 categories and winners, followed by the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection’s  program notes in italics.

Signature Legacy Award (one of two): Dr. Barbara Risser, President, Finger Lakes Community College, Hopewell
FLCC has long supported Finger Lakes tourism. Dr. Risser’s leadership over the past nine years has made those ties even closer. Examples include the new culinary program that takes advantage of the New York Wine & Culinary Center; a new hospitality program that feeds future talent into our industry; and the opening of the Finger Lakes Community College Viticulture and Wine Center in Geneva.

Signature Legacy Award (two of two): Senator Michael Nozzolio, 54th Senate District of New York State
Over the course of his 34 years in the New York Legislature, Sen. Nozzolio has always been a good friend to tourism in the Finger Lakes. From working endlessly to promote the wine trails and agritourism to securing funding for Finger Lakes Viticulture Center and the Finger Lakes Institute, his legacy will remain strong. We wish him well as he recovers from heart surgery.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Jeanne Fagan, Professor of Business Administration, Finger Lakes Community College, Hopewell
Jeanne Fagan was instrumental in getting the state’s approval for applied and transfer tourism degrees. Over her many years of teaching, she encouraged her students to do projects on Finger Lakes tourism, and provided guidance to many established tourism businesses. We wish her well in retirement.

Frontliner Award: Lori Proper, Director of Sales, The Inn on the Lake, Canandaigua
When the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection hosted 61 members of the Midwest Travel Writers Association in May 2015 at The Inn on the Lake, Lori Proper made sure everything went as smoothly as clockwork. She always shows impeccable customer service.

Visionary Award: Naked Dove Brewing Co., Hopewell
Naked Dove Brewing Co. was at the forefront of the craft beer explosion, leading the way for other small-scale brewers in Ontario County to get established. They are regarded as creative pioneers in the region’s burgeoning microbrewery culture. 

Rookie of the Year Award: Anthony Manzari, Operations Manager, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Victor
In his first year on the job, Anthony Manzari took the Microtel through a $1.3 million renovation, moved its TripAdvisor ranking from No. 5 to No. 4 and excelled in sales.

Hospitality Excellence Award: Valerie & Dennis Calkins, Proprietors, Miami Motel, Hopewell
Valerie and Dennis Calkins have turned the Miami Motel into a TripAdvisor top 25 favorite pick in the Finger Lakes, beloved for affordable rates, colorful and super-clean rooms, and exemplary service.

Marketing Excellence Award: Sharon and Mark Gilbride(and Carhartt the Alpaca), Lazy Acre Alpacas, Bloomfield
Mark and Sharon Gilbride have demonstrated savvy marketing skills by offering sales of alpaca fashions in a Canandaigua frozen yogurt shop that would otherwise sit vacant during the winter. Their talents have earned Lazy Acre a five-star TripAdvisor rating.

Community Partnership Award (one of two): Geneva Night Out
Since its beginning in 2013, Geneva Night Out has inspired hundreds of artists and dozens of businesses and community organizations to band together and turn downtown Geneva into a celebration of community, art and culture on the first Friday of each month.

Community Partnership Award (one of two): Kelly Bradley, Executive Director, Smith Center for the Arts, Geneva
As The Smith’s only full-time employee, Kelly Bradley forged community partnerships to create unique programming that brings 25,000 visitors a year. Under her watch, the 120-year-old theater now has air conditioning and upgrades in sound, lighting, and ticketing.

Tourism Ambassador: Bob Hobday, Deputy Director, Antique Wireless Museum, Bloomfield
Anyone who has toured the Antique Wireless Museum with longtime volunteer docent extraordinaire Bob Hobday knows that his passion for early communications technology is downright contagious.  In 2015 he helped raise funds to bring the Voice of America Delano Station transmitter and control room to the museum.

Product Development Award: Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan State Historic Site, Victor
The $15 million Seneca Art & Culture Center, which opened in October 2015, not only turns Ganondagan into a year-round destination, but it also shows the world how the Seneca and Haudenosaunee are thriving in the modern world.

“We are very proud of our tourism industry. The level of professionalism, hospitality, talent and dedication never ceases to astound me. Honoring these special people through the Legacy Awards is a tradition that the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection holds dear,” comments President Valerie Knoblauch.

This is the 12th Ontario County Tourism Legacy Awards that the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection has hosted since 1993. A total of 126 awards have been given since then.

Tourism is an important economic driver in Ontario County. In 2013, it generated more than $203,082,000 in direct spending, $ 13,980,327 in local tax revenue and $ 11,085,916 in state tax revenue, according to a 2014 report issued by Tourism Economics. It also provided jobs for 4,892 people.