Nearly 110 individuals attended the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau’s (AAACCVB) 25th Anniversary and Scholarship Reception in the Akerson Tower at U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Thursday, September 17. Organized as a thank-you to the many members, partners, friends and elected officials who have supported the AAACCVB over the past 25 years, the festive evening included live music by the Eastport Oyster Boys and the Asbury United Methodist Church Choir, food and beverage pairings and public recognition of key tourism partners.
Maryland State Senator John Astle and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh joined AAACCVB President and CEO Connie Del Signore and AAACCVB Board Chairman Erin McNaboe in presenting awards to three different groups: businesses and organizations that have contributed to the destination’s growth for the last 25 years and beyond; individuals positioned to play key roles in increasing the economic impact of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County tourism in the years ahead; and AAACCVB volunteer information specialists who have worked above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a stellar visitor experience.
In the first category, the following individuals and organizations were recognized for helping to put the destination and the AAACCVB on the map in a significant way: U.S. Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk; U.S. Boat Shows Owner and General Manager Paul Jacobs (in absentia); BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. Accepting the award on behalf of the airport was Maryland State Delegate for District 31A and BWI Thurgood Marshall’s Chief Administrative Officer, Ned Carey; Maryland Renaissance Festival President Jules Smith; Watermark Owner Debbie Gosselin; and Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of Fordham Brewing Company and Founder of Rams Head Group, Bill Muehlhauser.
In the second category, awards were presented to individuals and organizations that are filling the pipeline now to help ensure the future economic viability of the destination. Recipients included: Steve Beck, President of the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman; David Cordish, Chairman and CEO of the Cordish Companies. Howard Weinstein, Senior Vice President of Maryland Live! Casino accepted the award on Cordish’s behalf; and Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks Director Rick Anthony.
Senator Astle, Del Signore and McNaboe wrapped up the awards portion of the evening with a special thanks to the 100+ AAACCVB volunteers for the nearly 10,500 volunteer hours they contribute annually to the organization. They publicly recognized volunteers Fay Ferrell, Ann Kier and Nancy Russell for their outstanding service. Awards were also presented to volunteers Ed Wood and Georgina Hammond in absentia.
The grand finale of the evening’s festivities came when Maryland Tourism Education Foundation (MTEF) President Deb Carter announced that more than $16,000 had been raised for the AAACCVB’s 25th Anniversary Scholarship Challenge Fund. Kicked off by AAACCVB President & CEO Connie Del Signore during National Tourism Week in May, the fund was established to help Anne Arundel County residents jump start a career in travel and tourism.
As Del Signore sees it, “All of us have come together tonight to celebrate where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re heading as a community and a destination. We can help ensure our industry remains a significant player in the national and international tourism arena by providing promising individuals with the tools they need to pursue a tourism career. Money spent helping our young people realize their dreams will come back to the community and our nation one hundredfold.” The number of scholarships awarded and the dollar value of the scholarships will be determined by MTEF in cooperation with the AAACCVB.
The AAACCVB is a nonprofit, membership-based destination marketing organization that generates revenues for the local economy by promoting Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay to leisure and business travelers across the country and around the world.