The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau presented the 2013 Salute to Travel & Tourism Awards Feb. 28 at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center.


Click here to see photos from the event and click here to view the video honoring Tracy Kimberlin.


Randy Blackwood & Tracy Kimberlin

The Pinnacle Award was presented to Tracy Kimberlin, president of the CVB for the past 25 years. The 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.

Prior to joining the CVB, Kimberlin managed Springfield area hotels, including overseeing the construction of the Ramada Hotel-Hawthorn Park – now the DoubleTree Hotel – when it was built in 1984.

When Tracy was hired, the bureau was the hospitality arm of the Chamber of Commerce with a budget of $435,000 and five employees. The CVB now has a budget of about $3 million and a staff of 18, along with nearly 100 volunteers. The CVB also manages the Springfield Sports Commission, an organization with two full-time employees.

Under his leadership, the bureau also has achieved accreditation from Destination Marketing Association International.

He also is known statewide for his role in drafting legislation that funds the Missouri Division of Tourism. He wrote the legislation, encouraged other tourism-related entities to support the idea and helped push it through the Missouri legislature in 1993. Since then, the performance-based funding mechanism - “The Missouri Model” - has been studied and copied by other states.

Along with serving as president of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tracy is a tireless innovator serving in leadership positions in various organizations, including the Springfield Hotel Lodging Association, Missouri Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus, Urban Districts Alliance and many others.

Other awards presented include:

Hospitality Award

  • Hospitality Award – 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. University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center received this award.
  • Diplomat Award – presented to a government official, organization or employee who has provided significant support to the Springfield area travel industry. Former state Rep. Sara Lampe and Rep. Lincoln Hough received this award.

  • Spotlight Award

    Spotlight Award – 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. Leah Hamilton, director of the Springfield Regional Arts Council, received this award.

  • Ambassador Award

    Ambassador Award – 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 Missouri Holstein Association received this award.

CVB volunteers also were honored.

Dave Duncan, Karen Duncan Sid Kiely and Bob Lee received Decade of Service awards and 20-Year Service Awards were presented to Bill Beckley and Dee Beckley.

The John & Mary Williams Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to LaRue Savage, who has served the bureau since 1999. The Volunteer of the Year is nominated by and voted for by their peers.

Volunteer of the Year

The Convention & Visitors Bureau wishes to thank the following banquet sponsors:

  • 7C’s Winery & Vineyard
  • Bass Print Solutions
  • Baum’s Branding
  • DoubleTree Hotel
  • Downhome Productions
  • Elliott Lodging
  • Gary Ellison Productions
  • Gerry Averett Photography
  • History Museum on the Square
  • John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts
  • Kingery Printing Company
  • Linda’s Flowers
  • Missouri Meetings & Events Magazine
  • OOVVDA Winery
  • Ramada Oasis Convention Center
  • Rock, Roll & Reminisce
  • Springfield-Branson National Airport

The CVB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to boosting the local economy by promoting travel and tourism to Springfield. To learn more, call 417-881-5300 or 800-678-8767 or visit