The Convention & Visitors Bureau presented its Pinnacle Award to Springfield hotelier Greg Walker at its annual Salute to Travel & Tourism awards banquet Feb. 18.

The Pinnacle Award is for individuals who have been active in the travel industry for many years and have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the Springfield area’s travel industry.

Walker, a partner in Walker Hospitality, LLC, and owner of the LaQuinta Inn & Suites - Springfield South, has served on several boards related to the city’s travel industry. They include the Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sports Commission, Springfield Hotel Lodging Association and La Quinta Corporate Brand Council. He currently is president of the Missouri Hotel Lodging Association.

He was among several people who received awards at the event. Others include the following:

  • The Hospitality Award was presented to Ramada Plaza Hotel & Oasis Convention Center. This award is presented to an attraction, lodging facility or restaurant which demonstrates outstanding hospitality to the traveling public and exhibits a team spirit in promoting growth of Springfield area travel and tourism.
  • The Diplomat Award was presented to U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. This award is presented to a government official, organization or employee who has provided significant support to the Springfield area travel industry.
  • The Spotlight Award is presented to an individual, business or organization not usually considered part of the travel and tourism industry for noteworthy contributions in advancing travel and tourism in the Springfield area. The award went to David Eslick, a founding member of the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival.
  • The Ambassador Award was presented to Kirk Hansen, public relations director at Fantastic Caverns. This award is presented to individuals or organizations who generated significant economic impact for the area by working to encourage tourism or secure a major convention or event in Springfield.
  • The John & Mary Williams Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Clarlene Stewart, a five-year volunteer for the CVB.
  • Decade of Service Awards were presented to Harold and Mary Peterson.
  • Mary Williams, one of the first volunteers to begin serving the bureau, was honored for 25 years of service.

To see photos and videos from the banquet, visit