The efforts and contributions were recognized at the annual meeting of the North Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA) during the presentation of their prestigious PEAK Awards. “The PEAK Awards showcase the work, service, creativity and contributions of those who are leading the way in the North Alabama tourism industry,” according to AMLA President/CEO Tami Reist. Our heartfelt congratulations to the following local honorees:
Organization of the Year – The Land Trust of North Alabama
The Land Trust of North Alabama has preserved more than 7,000 acres of land, including 56 caves and over 70 miles of trails have been developed for public use. Eight free public nature preserves are available to explore and some of the land is used for educational and environmental purposes for students and researchers.
Event of the Year – Apollo 50th Anniversary Celebration
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center coordinated activities throughout the year to commemorate the role of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in putting mankind on the surface of the moon. The events brought international media attention to Huntsville, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and North Alabama. Visitors from around the world traveled to Huntsville to join in the festivities and, for the first time, attendance at Alabama’s number one paid tourist attraction eclipsed one million.
Tourism Professional of the Year – Pete Doyle, General Manager, Holiday Inn Research Park
Pete Doyle has been an active and engaged leader in the local hospitality industry since coming to Huntsville 30 years ago. Pete has led numerous organizations including the Huntsville-Madison County Hospitality Association and the Huntsville Lodging Association in addition to currently serving on the City of Huntsville Lodging Recruitment Committee. Pete’s active leadership has enabled his property to recently complete a $4.5 million renovation of the 195 room property.
Top North Alabama Ambassador of the Year – Zenovia Stephens
Since moving to North Alabama from Chicago, Zenovia has encouraged other black families to enjoy the great outdoors. Her efforts have been featured on Kelly & Ryan’s Good News of the Day segment, a WAFF story, and a feature story on America’s Portrait on PBS. Zenovia writes blogs for the AMLA website and is a contributing blogger for the CVB as well. She has created Black Kids Adventures and leads yoga in the park and hosting virtual hikes.
2020 President’s Award – Jana Kuner, Public Relations and Customer Service Manager, Huntsville International Airport
Jana’s interaction with an airport traveler who couldn’t locate her parked car turned into a fateful encounter. After locating the vehicle, Jana learned that the frantic traveler’s daughter had just answered an ad for a modeling job in Phoenix. Kuner has been trained to recognize human trafficking and she intervened at precisely the right time to stop a confirmed incident, the first known at the Huntsville International Airport.