August 18, 2014 — Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann presented Brad Bumgardner of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources 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.”
Bumgardner is the interpretive naturalist at Indiana Dunes State Park. Bumgardner understands that a key to the conservation of Indiana’s natural resources is making sure the public appreciates them and sees their value. To achieve these efforts, Bumgardner works with Indiana Dunes Tourism to publicize events and garner media exposure for the Dunes. He continually goes above and beyond the call of duty in attracting people to Indiana Dunes State Park. He is involved in the programming of special events and continuously shows Hoosier Hospitality to all the visitors he comes in contact with. With 3 million visitors a year, the Indiana Dunes State Park is Indiana’s top tourism attraction and Bumgardner is a great ambassador of this important state park.
Lorelei Weimer, executive director of Indiana Dunes Tourism, wrote in nominating Brad for the state award:
” Brad Bumgardner is richly deserving of a Hoosier Hospitality Award because he goes above and beyond in attracting people to Indiana Dunes State Park for great programming, then he makes those he comes in contact with glad they visited.
For example, this past winter was one of the coldest and snowiest in history, but Brad turned that negative into a positive by getting the public interested in seeing the magnificent shelf ice formations along the Lake Michigan shore. Brad publicized and led several Shelf Ice Exploration Programs and even allowed people to view the shelf ice from the roof of the dunes pavilion. He also leads owl programs, hikes and other events that are fun and educational.
Brad is one of those who show Hoosier Hospitality to all. Once, when a birdwatcher had a question we could not answer, we sought an answer from Brad. Brad took the time to respond directly to the birdwatcher and provide a comprehensive answer. He is a busy guy with numerous responsibilities, but he always makes time to help anyone who needs it. People who meet Brad understand what Hoosier Hospitality is all about.”
Nominations for Hoosier Hospitality Awards are submitted by community members and destination patrons. Nominations are reviewed and winners are selected by 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 undertold 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.”
Source and Photo: Indiana Dunes Tourism