JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association and its members received several awards from HospitalityTN’s annual Stars of the Industry: Purple Iris Awards on Sept. 14.

Over 40 awards were presented at the event, one going to the association as a whole and five going to individual members.

  • Destination Marketing Organization of the Year
    • Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association
  • Employee Community Service Award
    • Jennifer Wilder
    • Greene County Partnership
  • Lodging Employee of the Year
    • Joel Dahlhauser
    • Carnegie Hotel, Johnson City
  • Lodging General Manager of the Year
    • Brandy Crawford
    • Fairfield Inn & Suites, Johnson City
  • Rising Star Award
    • Alec Castro
    • Visit Johnson City
  • Tourism Professional of the Year
    • Jerry Caldwell
    • Bristol Motor Speedway

“It doesn’t matter the size. It matters about how competitive you are. You’re just the innovations and imagination that you can come up with to create campaigns and also tell the story of Northeast Tennessee,” Northeast Tennessee Tourism Associate Executive Director Alicia Phelps said. “So hopefully that will put a little more emphasis into tourism and hospitality for our organization, per se. And we’ll see a little bit more investment locally coming out of that.”

Recipients were recognized for their professionalism, ingenuity and unwavering commitment to their roles, thereby contributing to the growth and success of the industry as a whole, a release from the association said.

“As we forge ahead, plans are already underway for an array of exciting events, projects and campaigns,” Phelps said. “Through our collective efforts, tourism continues to serve as a powerful economic engine, generating a remarkable local economic impact of $841 million annually.”