News release from Visit Fort Wayne:
Ellspermann presents Angie Harter and Jim Hodgin with Hoosier Hospitality Award
INDIANAPOLIS (August 15, 2014) – Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann presented Angie Harter of Cindy’s Diner and Jim Hodgin of Science Central, with a 2014 Hoosier Hospitality Award for outstanding contributions to the tourism industry during a ceremony Friday afternoon at the Indiana State Fair. Eighteen representatives of Indiana’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry earned the 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Hoosier Hospitality Award for their high level of service in tourism-related jobs at hotels, restaurants, attractions and other destinations.
“Without today’s recipients doing their jobs in such an outstanding way, our tourism efforts would be meaningless,” said Ellspermann. “These professionals and their Hoosier Hospitality are the heart and soul of the Indiana tourism industry.”
Harter has been a waitress at Fort Wayne’s Cindy’s Diner for 18 years. All customers benefit from her caring attention, impeccable memory for customers’ favorite orders and in-depth analysis about how the Fort Wayne Tin Caps played their last game. She takes pride in her role as an ambassador for Fort Wayne. Cindy’s Diner serves “the world, 15 at a time,” and is one of Fort Wayne’s most popular businesses.
Jim Hodgin has been with Science Central since shortly after its grand opening. From 1998 through today, he has coordinated field trips, science camps, birthday parties, scout activities and special events in the building. To many teachers and program participants, he is the voice of Science Central. Hodgin fully embodies Science Central’s mission of ensuring visitors receive an educational, entertaining and cultural experience.
Nominations for Hoosier Hospitality Awards are submitted by community members and destination patrons. Nominations are reviewed and winners are selected by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD). Outstanding service is a major factor in determining whether a person returns to an individual business or destination. Tourism is big business in Indiana. An economic impact report released in December 2013 shows the travel, tourism and hospitality industry is the sixth largest industry in the state (excluding government), is directly responsible for nearly 140,000 jobs, generates over $2.1 billion in tax receipts and contributes $10 billion in revenue to Indiana businesses. The recently-launched Honest-to-Goodness Indiana brand campaign aims to further elevate the under told stories of Indiana’s destinations and attractions.
“A key component of Honest-to-Goodness Indiana is our state’s well-earned national reputation for Hoosier Hospitality,” said Mark Newman, executive director of IOTD. “As important as our agency and partner-bureaus are in growing the tourism trade and contributing to the financial well-being of our state, we could not succeed without the people on the frontlines who interact with visitors, guests and customers on a daily basis.”
The 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Hoosier Hospitality Award recipients are: