INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 8, 2022)Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC) announced today at Newfields that Thomas Collins, II, owner and president of the Luke Family of Brands, is this year's recipient of the Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award.

The Luke Family of Brands began as a supplier of home heating fuel and has since diversified its assets. From convenience stores across the state to a popular Northwest Indiana orchard, an Indianapolis restaurant and the creation of the Indiana Dunes Pavilion, Collins, II consistently demonstrates extraordinary commitment to supporting tourism.

The Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award is presented annually and is the highest tourism honor given by the state. The award is named for the late Will Koch, long-time owner and president of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari. Visit Indiana and the Koch family established the honor to pay tribute to Koch's many meaningful contributions to tourism, business and society. 

"Collins, II is a leader in every sense of the word," Lt. Gov. Crouch said. "He has been instrumental not only in supporting Indiana tourism and economic development but also in his community service. He is well deserving of this honor."

Collins, II supports numerous charities. His recent donation to the Boys and Girls Club caused a ripple effect throughout his company. Shortly after that donation, employees expressed their interest in getting involved in their communities. In response, Collins, II created a program called Serving U. Employees now have the opportunity of paid volunteer days, grants, a giving match program, community clubs and a mentorship program for employees who serve on a Board of Directors.

"I am completely humbled by this honor," Collins, II said. "I accept this award on behalf of my family, Luke Family of Brands, the company and all the great people I work with every day." 

Nominations for the Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award are submitted by community leaders and members of Indiana's travel, tourism and hospitality industry. A panel reviews submissions. 

A video of this year's Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award can be found here.

Betty Cash received the Visit Indiana Leadership Award. After seven years as the executive director, she retired from the Perry County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Before her role as director, Cash served on the tourism commission in Perry County for 13 years. She worked tirelessly to bring visitors to Perry County, supporting the local community and businesses. Her peers from SIRMC (Southern Indiana Regional Marketing Cooperative) nominated Cash. That group calls her an innovator, a forward-thinker, and a cheerleader.

Crouch and IDDC also presented 16 tourism industry representatives with a Hoosier Hospitality Award for their high level of service in tourism-related jobs at hotels, restaurants, attractions and other destinations.

"These award winners represent the best of our state from the Leisure and Hospitality Industry," IDDC's Secretary and CEO, Elaine Bedel said. "These individuals dedicate their time and service to showcase to visitors and their communities what a great place Indiana is to work, live and visit."

The 2022 Hoosier Hospitality winners are:

  • Tessie Anderson - Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center

  • Shyla Beam - Vincennes Knox County Visitors and Tourism Bureau

  • Alan Brown - Newfields, Indianapolis

  • Manny Cortez - Community Pro-Education, Goshen

  • Denise Davis - Indianapolis Airport Authority

  • Kathaleen (Kate) Garrett - Metro Diner, Mishawaka 

  • Eric Ivie - Hendricks County Parks and Recreation

  • Ariene (Ari) Mambo - Newfields, Indianapolis

  • Mark McKinney - Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne

  • Linda Meek- Hilton Garden Inn, Edinburgh 

  • John Mellinger - Visit Indy

  • Cory O'Sullivan - Electric Key Records and Roux-Ga-Roux's, Franklin

  • Bruce Sigmon - Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center

  • Debra Wayman - Hope Medora Goes Pink Festival 

  • Staff at Toodleydoo Toys - Franklin   

  • The Team at the Veteran's National Memorial Shrine & Museum - Fort Wayne 

Nominations for Hoosier Hospitality Awards are submitted by community members and destination patrons and are reviewed and selected by IDDC. Outstanding service is a significant factor in determining whether a person returns to an individual business or destination.

Bios and photos from the 2022 Lieutenant Governor's Hoosier Hospitality Award recipients can be found here.


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