PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Office of Tourism’s top awards were presented to visitor industry leaders by Governor Mike Rounds Thursday evening.
The Ben Black Elk Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to South Dakota’s visitor industry. This year’s award went to Nancy Brady of Rapid City, who is considered by her peers to be an invaluable resource to the visitor industry through her long-standing service to the Rapid City Hospitality Association.
"Nancy’s dedication and life-long involvement in the visitor industry has had a positive influence on her peers," said Governor Mike Rounds. "She has gone above and beyond with her inspirational spirit and quiet leadership."
Mr. Allen Neuharth, founder of USA Today and the Freedom Forum, received the A. H. Pankow Award, which honors a media outlet or individual member of the media whose coverage and promotion of the state’s visitor industry is unparalleled.
"Mr. Neuharth’s dedication to responsible journalism and commitment to excellence in journalism is reflected in his contribution and personal involvement in the state-of-the-art Al Neuharth Media Center. The Center houses all media organizations located on The University of South Dakota campus, the journalism department, and Freedom Forum regional offices. We honor his generosity and personal story," said Governor Rounds.
Governor Rounds presented the George S. Mickelson Great Service Award to Prairie Berry Winery in Hill City and the Best Western Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center in Sioux Falls.
"Businesses such as these serve as great role models for the rest of us," said Governor Rounds. "Their dedication to hospitality and customer satisfaction is instrumental in providing our visitors a memorable vacation."
The awards were given during the closing banquet of the 2009 Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.
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