Two more trophies now adorn Sherman County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s trophy case. The office staff brought home two awards from Kansas Tourism Conference, which was held in Olathe Oct. 17-19.
Sherman County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Donna Price wins initial Leilani Thomas “SPIRIT” Award
Executive Director Donna Price won the Leilani Thomas “SPIRIT” Award for Outstanding Service to the Northwest Kansas Region. Price was the first to receive the award. It is named for the late Leilani Thomas, longtime Director of Colby Convention and Visitors Bureau. She passed away Nov. 1, 2015.
The award is a way to remember Leilani and honor a special person each year who continues Thomas’ extra efforts, dedication and loyalty to the travel and tourism industry in Northwest Kansas. Northwest Kansas Travel Council President Roger Hrabe and Julie Saddler, Thomas’ successor at Colby Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented the award.
Roxie Yonkey, Sherman County CVB Public Relations Manager, was one of Price’s nominators. Yonkey said Price is “the perfect person to receive the first – and therefore the most special – Leilani Thomas Spirit Award.” The nomination cited Price’s close association with Thomas, her work on The Ultimate Guide to Northwest Kansas, her role as Trade Show Manager for Northwest Kansas Travel Council and her long service on various regional and statewide boards. “She leads in an understated, quiet, selfless – and very effective – way,” the letter said.
Letters of support praise Price’s leadership
Numerous letters of support from across the state accompanied Price’s nomination. In his letter, Hrabe said, “In my opinion, she has made a tremendous difference not only in Goodland and Sherman County, but also in the 18-county area of Northwest Kansas. Leilani herself would give three cheers from her glass of White Zinfandel at the thought of ‘her travel mate down the road’ receiving an award for excellence in tourism.” He called Price “a quiet leader [who] will not set out to impress others, but will work diligently behind the scenes to move an organization to where they need to be. She has always been willing to take the risks that are often necessary to promote change within those organizations, and move them forward.”
Many of the other letters referred to Price as Thomas’ choice to win the award. Kevin Fern, Executive Director of Visit Shawnee, said, “I am sure you have the list of all Donna has accomplished to further the cause. However, let me add a quality that at times is overlooked — and that is you will never find a truer friend than Donna and I think Leilani knew that better than any of us. Steadfast, studious, and committed to duty — that is the Donna Price I know and so dearly appreciate.”
“I am deeply honored to be the first recipient of the award named for my friend Leilani Thomas. I’m so thankful for all the support from my peers across the state,” Price said.
Wheat State LLC of Goodland creates award-winning design
Kansas I-70 Association won first place in the Travel Industry of Kansas (TIAK) Marketing Awards’ Print Marketing category for a clean and updated publication promoting its new marketing campaign, “Seventy on Kansas I-70”. The publication listed 70 attractions and events along I-70 in Kansas. The “Seventy” in the campaign is comprised of five must-see attractions for each of the 14 association member communities. The communities are Goodland, Colby, Oakley, WaKeeney, Hays, Russell, Salina, Abilene, Junction City, Manhattan, Lecompton, Lawrence, Bonner Springs and Kansas City.
Alan Carr of Carr Strategies recommended the campaign to the association at its annual retreat last November. The association developed Carr’s idea. The brochure is only one piece of the “Seventy on Kansas I-70” campaign. “Seventy on Kansas I-70” campaign also includes the association’s website, KansasI70.com, Twitter and Facebook hashtag #70onKansasI70, and the association’s banner.
As the association’s President, Price enjoyed the right to bring home the association’s trophy. “We’re proud to bring this award home to Sherman County,” she said. “Because of Sherman County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s membership in the association, we are able to promote Sherman County in areas we never could reach alone.”
Under the association’s direction, Wheat State Creative LLC of Goodland created the “Seventy on Kansas I-70” logo and designed the award-winning brochure. Adam Elliott was the Art Director for the project. He designed the logo for the marketing campaign. Elliott and Ian Tompkins designed the brochure, as well as the website. The association members provided the contents, both images and wording.
Elliott said, “I am pleased that our work has been well received and hope it brings a positive economic impact to the State of Kansas and our I-70 communities. We had a lot of fun with the project and I think that shows in the finished design. It’s exciting to think of the thousands of families who will use the brochure to guide their journey across Kansas.”
Judges praise brochure design, content
Contest judges said the brochure was “very well designed and thought through with nice, concise text.” It’s a “lovely publication, informative yet visually appealing. It grabs my attention and makes me want to use it. I really like the idea and the content you’ve put together.” A judge said the campaign is an “outstanding idea”. It “makes me want to drive across Kansas. Outstanding execution.”
“The travel industry is a vibrant part of the Kansas economy. I am very pleased that we were able to honor the creativity of tourism professionals from Goodland to Kansas City. These individuals work hard every day to promote our state as a destination for visitors. Their marketing expertise received some well-deserved recognition through these awards,” said TIAK president Suzan Barnes.
Price speaks at conference
Price also was a speaker in two breakout sessions at the conference. She was the sole presenter for “Marketing on a Small Budget”. She was also part of a four-person panel who discussed transient guest tax.