Knoxville, TN – Visit Knoxville is proud to announce that Kelli Gibson, Director of Convention Services at Visit Knoxville, was surprised with the 2015 Pauly Award for Service/Supplier Employee of the Year by the Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association. Awards were presented today at a ceremony at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park.

“We cannot say enough how lucky we are to have Kelli. Through her years here she has amazed all of us with her skills and ability to make almost any event come to fruition,” says Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. “It’s hard to find such a hard worker who can make a small event or a huge event like Boomsday flawless. We are so fortunate to have Kelli leading our team. She goes way beyond the call of duty for our clients.”

Kelli’s co-worker Christina Clayton, Sr. Manager of Convention Services, wrote the following when she nominated Kelli, “This individual is so much more than a convention services and event organizer.  She is a wife, mother, daughter, friend and passionate University of Tennessee fan. She has been a member of various organizations around Knoxville and has served and continues to serve in this community on different boards and committees.  She has served on the Knox County Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, United Way of Greater Knoxville Allocations Committee, City of Knoxville Wayfinding Committee.  In addition, she is a member of the Knoxville Special Events Society and Event Services Professionals Association. This Pauly Award winner is an asset in so many ways! She is much deserving of this award! Visit Knoxville is blessed to have this individual on their Convention Services team.”

The Pauly Awards were created to honor the best of Knoxville hospitality and tourism. Today many of the best were recognized the hard work they put forth for our community and visitors.

Visit Knoxville board member Marc Bauer received the award for Lodging General Manager of the Year. Marc is General Manager of the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park. Restaurateur Mahasti Vaferie received the Restaurant General Manager of the Year. Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame President Dana Hart was awarded Attraction/Museum Employee of the Year. The Knoxville Convention Center’s Kristi Sowards received the Volunteer of the Year.

Other very deserving Pauly Award Winners:

  • Attraction/Museum of the Year: Market Square Farmers Market
  • Community Service of the Year: Springhill Suites,  Knoxville
  • Lodging Manager of the Year: Tim McSwords, Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park
  • Restaurant Manager of the Year: Toby Winters, Copper Cellar Cumberland Avenue
  • Lodging Employee of the Year: Debbie Sisson, Best Western Plus Cedar Bluff
  • Friendliest Face of the Year: Fatin Yalcin, Marriott Knoxville