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Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association presents Stars of Industry awards to Bogert and Cunningham

May 6, 2016

At its 12th Annual Pauly Awards event, the Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association (GKHA) recognized two hospitality professionals associated with City of Knoxville venues: Knoxville Convention Center and Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum General Manager Mary Bogert was awarded the 2016 Pauly Award for Service/Supplier General Manager of the Year; Knoxville Civic Coliseum and Auditorium Office Manager Jamie Cunningham was recognized as Service/Supplier Employee of the Year.

The Pauly Awards, named after local hospitality industry leader the late Paul Sherbakoff, are held annually by the GKHA to honor and recognize the best of the best in Knoxville’s hospitality and tourism industry. At the event, the GKHA also awards the 2016 Scholarship winners for students at the University of Tennessee and Pellissippi State Community College. This year’s event was sponsored by the University of Tennessee Tourism Institute and Visit Knoxville.

In her nomination, Bogert was praised as an effective, forward-thinking leader and committed team player by her employees and partnering organizations alike. Among those supporting Bogert’s nomination were Visit Knoxville CEO Kim Bumpas and City of Knoxville Deputy to the Mayor Christi Branscom.

“In my capacity at the City of Knoxville, I have worked with Mary Bogert for the last four years,” said Branscom. “She has proven to be an unequaled professional in her position as general manager of the Knoxville Convention Center, the city’s largest and most valuable asset. I have come to rely upon Mary’s expertise and appreciate her leadership. Under her direction the last several years, the Knoxville Convention Center is performing at a level the city has never experienced, and I have no doubt that Mary is the key to that success.”

Jamie Cunningham was praised as by KCAC Human Resources Manager Kristy Todd as person who “walks in to work with a smile and a positive attitude every day even when things are complicated” and for taking the initiative to step in and handle tasks that fall outside her job description.

“Do you know a person at work who you can trust with anything even if it doesn’t pertain to her department? The person you can hand a project to and not have to think twice about it because you know she will complete it on time and above expectations? Jamie Cunningham at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum is that person,” said Todd when summing up why she nominated Cunningham for the award.

Eligible Pauly Award winners are automatically submitted for the Stars of the Industry state awards sponsored by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association.

Other Pauly Award winners included:

• Lodging General Manager of the Year: Derek McElroy, general manager of Embassy Suites Knoxville West
• Service/Supplier Manager of the Year: Barry Dunford, M&M Productions USA
• Lodging Manager of the Year: Fran Owen, director of sales for Hilton Knoxville
• Restaurant Manager of the Year: Phillip Diaz, manager of Calhoun’s Banquets/Copper Cellar Catering
• Service/Supplier of the Year: Above the Rest Balloon & Event Designs
• Lodging Employee of the Year: Donna McLemore, assistant executive housekeeper of Holiday Inn Express Powell
• Restaurant Employee of the Year: Stephen Osborne, bartender for Chesapeake’s
• Tourism Employee of the Year: Gorilla Valley Keeper Staff & Volunteers for Zoo Knoxville
• Community Service of the Year: Hampton Inn West Knoxville/Cedar Bluff
• Volunteer of the Year: Nekol Kincaid
• Friendliest Face of the Year: Kristin Coffield, manager of patient services for Provision Proton Therapy Center

About the Knoxville Convention Center

The Knoxville Convention Center, managed by SMG, is located in downtown Knoxville adjacent to the Sunsphere. It boasts a 120,000 square-foot exhibit hall, a 27,000 square-foot divisible ballroom and up to 25 meeting rooms. For more information, visit