FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381
AMLA Announces Madison County Recipients of 2022 PEAK Awards
Decatur, Ala. (September 22, 2022) – The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA) announced the recipients of the 2022 PEAK Awards today at the AMLA Annual Meeting held at Mars Music Hall in downtown Huntsville, Ala. A Madison County attraction, two tourism professionals and a brand ambassador were recognized for their hard work and contribution to North Alabama’s $3.7 billion tourism industry.
Representing the highest achievement in North Alabama tourism, the PEAK Awards honor individuals, events and organizations that have had a major impact on tourism in North Alabama.
AMLA has honored the Orion Amphitheater as the 2022 Attraction of the Year. The Attraction of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member attraction that has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year. The Greek-style Orion Amphitheater is the beginning of a new era for entertainment in North Alabama. The 8,000 capacity venue offers a state-of-the-art sound system, upscale bars on every level and a bowl-like structure that maximizes the view and sound quality for every seat in the house. More than 120,000 tickets have been sold in the past five months. The venue’s mission goes beyond music as it will provide cultural experiences throughout the year including farmer’s markets, art displays and educational events. Ben Lovett, a member of the Grammy-winning Mumford and Sons band, spearheaded the project and his team worked closely with Huntsville city officials to develop the world-class facility.
AMLA has honored Pam Williams, tourism sales manager of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, with the 2022 Tourism Professional of the Year award. The Tourism Professional of the Year award is presented to an individual or employee of an AMLA member organization who has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year. Williams has been employed with the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau for over 15 years. As tourism sales manager, she is responsible for promoting Huntsville to the group tour market and coordinating special projects. She oversees the Bureau’s Educational Escapes, a program that offers teachers and students curriculum-based experiences that are interactive, fun and educational for student groups. She has directed the Huntsville Restaurant Week campaign since its inception 10 years ago and was instrumental in the installation of the Lucky Duck Scavenger Hunt many years ago in downtown Huntsville and the Trains on Main Scavenger Hunt in downtown Madison. This required a great deal of organization and interaction for Williams with the attractions and city departments to ensure the installation went smoothly and the trails were successful. Both programs continue to bring visitors to the Visitor Center.
AMLA has honored Jabria Finch, assistant general manager of DoubleTree Suites Huntsville South, with the 2022 Northern Star Award. History tells us that tourism really began by the navigation of the stars. The Northern Star Award is presented to an individual, such as a ranger, guide, and a front line employee, who has gone “above and beyond” expectations. Starting as a front desk agent while a college student at Alabama A&M University, Finch quickly climbed the ranks to front office supervisor and now serves as the assistant general manager, all in three years. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she became a jack of all trades and helped in all areas of the hotel. Despite ever changing brand protocols due to the pandemic, she focused on happy guests and happy co-workers. She volunteered for two training programs. During Flawless Delivery, a two-day customer service training program, she further refined her guest service skills and sought to improve her conflict management and resolution skills to negotiate only positive outcomes. She participated in the Tourism All-A-Bama training program aimed at assisting hoteliers in becoming more autism/sensory aware. Using the skills learned from the class, she spearheaded her hotel’s commitment to a sensory friendly hotel experience. The effort was recognized by a travel blogger and a mom of an autistic ten-year-old.
The Top North Alabama Ambassador of the Year award recognizes the work and achievements of the top performing North Alabama Ambassador in the past year. Launched in 2019, the North Alabama Ambassadors program is an online influencer program where bloggers and content creators produce compelling material highlighting north Alabama. These enthusiasts work with AMLA to help inspire and motivate other outdoor fans to visit North Alabama through social media, the AMLA blog and on the ground in their communities. AMLA has selected David Parham for the 2022 Top North Alabama Ambassador of the Year award. Parham lives in Huntsville and works as an engineer. When he's not at home, at work or at Jiu Jitsu, he is exploring the outdoors with his two daughters and wife. They love spending their time exploring North Alabama, seeing all the different views, caves and waterfalls that the region has to offer and sharing the adventures with his 17K followers on Instagram and nearly 13K followers on Facebook. Parham is known as Huntsville Adventurer on social media and has a website that is loaded with valuable advice and tips on exploring North Alabama as well as other places all over the country and world.
“With the PEAK Awards, we celebrate and recognize the many talented individuals and organizations who offer our visitors a unique and memorable experience. These individuals and organizations continue to show their commitment, resilience and ingenuity, even during the uncertain times a pandemic brings with it. Because of these tourism leaders, attractions, festivals and front-line workers, the tourism and travel industry continues to be a driving force in North Alabama’s economy,” said AMLA President/CEO Tami Reist.
Eleven awards were handed out at the awards presentation, held during the annual meeting. This year’s award winners are:
Organization of the Year
The Organization of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member organization that has contributed significantly to the betterment and development of tourism in North Alabama in the past year.
Winner: Marshall County Tourism and Sports
Event of the Year
The Event of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member special event or festival that has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Lexington Truck and Tractor Pull
Attraction of the Year
The Attraction of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member attraction that has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Orion Amphitheater
Good Neighbor Award
The “Good Neighbor” Friend of Tourism Award is presented to a person or organization whose body of work has had a significant impact on tourism in the past year.
Winner: Mayor Kerry Underwood, City of Tuscumbia
Northern Star Award
The Northern Star Award is presented to an individual, such as a ranger, guide and a front line employee, who has gone “above and beyond” expectations.
Winner: Jabria Finch, Double Tree Suites by Hilton South Parkway
Young Professional of the Year Award
The Young Professional of the Year “Green Apple Award” is awarded to a person who has been in the tourism business less than seven years and has exhibited extraordinary leadership skills and initiative associated with their position.
Winner: Blake Williams, Blake Williams Communications
Tourism Professional of the Year
The Tourism Professional of the Year award is presented to an individual or employee of an AMLA member organization who has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Pam Williams, Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Lasting Impression Award
The Lasting Impression Award is presented to an attraction, event, person or organization that has provided a “lasting impression” on tourists thereby improving the overall image of tourism in North Alabama.
Winner: Scottsboro Three Arts Club
The Chairman’s Cup Award is given annually to a travel writer or media person who has over time demonstrated support of AMLA, the region and its tourism activities.
Winner: Carrie Banks, Communications Director, Alabama League of Municipalities and editor, Alabama Municipal Journal
The President’s Award is presented to any person or organization whose tourism-related project created awareness or presented a positive image for North Alabama in the past year.
Winner: The late William “Bill” Jarnigan, University of North Alabama
Top North Alabama Ambassador of the Year
The award recognizes the work and achievements of the top performing North Alabama Ambassador in the past year.
Winner: David Parham, Huntsville, Ala.
Images of award recipients are available upon request by calling AMLA at 800.648.5381 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions and individuals. Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available by calling 800.648.5381 or by visiting www.NorthAlabama.org. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @VisitNorthAL and like us at www.facebook.com/VisitNorthAL.