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People & Places

Zenith Award winners named

6/20/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau (ASCVB) celebrated the 30th annual National Travel and Tourism Week May 4-12. Travel and tourism is a $1.12 billion industry annually in Summit County and employs more than 19,000 hospitality professionals, according to ASCVB officials. As part of the celebration, the ASCVB sponsored the 12th annual Zenith Awards. Recognizing contributions made by Summit County hospitality partners, an online ballot was available to partners and residents to cast votes across seven categories. Recipients of this year’s awards, shown above, include:

  • Art/Culture — Akron Art Museum;
  • Point of Interest/Attraction — Akron Zoo;
  • Dining/Restaurant — Dante Boccuzzi Akron;
  • Community/Special Event — Polar Express;
  • Outdoor/Recreation (tie) — Metro Parks, Serving Summit County and Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Bike Aboard;
  • Theatre/Entertainment — Akron Civic Theatre; and
  • Retail/Shopping — Hudson’s First and Main.

Through a separate nomination process, the Bureau also awarded the Susan L. Hamo Hospitality Person of the Year Award to Jenilee Grabenhorst, general manager of Hampton Inn Akron/Fairlawn. Four additional Zenith Awards were presented to:

√ Hospitality Partnership — Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail;

√ Hospitality Web Site — FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby;

√ Friend of Hospitality — Cindy Petal, Adventures in Stamping Expo; and

√ Hospitality Volunteer — Linda Van Fossen, Akron Zoo.

Van Fossen, a resident of Bath, has volunteered at the zoo, along with her husband, Wes, for 10 years. She was instrumental in starting a roaming volunteer program at the zoo a couple of years ago. The program allows the zoo volunteers, called Edzoocators, to walk throughout the park answering questions and engaging visitors about their visit and the animals.

Board Chairman Gregory Bean also presented the Chairman’s Award to Mitchell Kahan, director emeritus of the Akron Art Museum, for his dedication and service to the hospitality industry.

The Bureau also hosted the 10th annual Hospitality Scholarship Golf Tournament to benefit The University of Akron Summit College Hospitality Management Program. Proceeds from the tournament are used to fund the annual $2,000 Donald L. Patterson Hospitality Scholarship. To date, the scholarship fund has received $20,000 in tournament proceeds.

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