MADISON, Wis. (March 17, 2021) – Eight recipients were presented with Governor’s Tourism Awards for their outstanding contributions to the state’s hospitality and travel industry during the 2022 Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Tourism this week. 

“It’s an honor to recognize the incredible talent in Wisconsin’s tourism industry,” said Secretary-designee, Anne Sayers. “As tourism continues to rebound, it’s the inspired work and brilliant execution from these individuals and organizations that keep Wisconsin on the right path toward recovery. Congratulations to our award winners and all of this year’s nominees.” 

“The tourism industry is a driving force in Wisconsin’s economy and the hard-working folks keeping this industry churning have shown their resilience and ingenuity time and time again,” said Governor Tony Evers. “I’m grateful for the commitment of so many in our tourism industry, including these innovative award winners, for implementing their ground-breaking ideas and propelling our state forward in this recovery by continuing to draw visitors from near and far.” 

Sponsored by the Wisconsin Council on Tourism, the Governor’s Tourism Awards recognize individuals, organizations and businesses for their excellence, dedication and impact on Wisconsin’s travel and hospitality industry. 

2022 Governor’s Tourism Awards winners:   

  • Arts, Culture and Heritage Award - Create Waunakee Committee, Village of Waunakee  

The Village of Waunakee and its “Create Waunakee” Committee celebrate its innovators, creators and artists that make Waunakee a vibrant place to live and explore.  Since February 2020, this committee of nine dedicated community volunteers and four village staff members has gone above and beyond to bring amazing programs, ideas and opportunities to Waunakee. Examples include, “Waunakee is Home”, a series of monthly interviews with local community members, and the Waunakee Artisan Market, which emphasizes the talents of local artists. 

  • Arts, Culture and Heritage Award - Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower, Door County Maritime Museum and Lighthouse Preservation Society  

As a recent expansion of the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, the landmark Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower offers ten floors of interactive educational exhibits highlighting maritime history, people and industries. The space is designed to provide accessibility to a lighthouse experience that can accommodate everyone regardless of physical abilities and provides a must-see maritime experience that will draw visitors and create a significant economic boost to the region.  

  • Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion Award - Unique Unites, VISIT Milwaukee  

Unique Unites is an ongoing campaign designed to highlight Milwaukee’s eclectic and diverse community with a focus on inclusivity and representation for all who live, work and visit the city. The campaign encourages visitors and locals alike to branch out, explore the city, learn about its diverse community and find their Milwaukee. With this initiative, visitors from all walks of life can feel like they belong in a city where they are represented and included.  

  • Innovation Award - Wisconsin River Trail Organization  
    The Wisconsin River Trail Organization (WRTO) Board formed in 2014 to create a 20-mile hiking and biking trail in the Boscobel/Woodman/Wauzeka area. In addition to the trail creation, there are plans to continue to reinvent the community by converting old feed buildings into a hostel, brew pub, theater, indoor farmers market and much more. The WRTO is made up of community members including nurses, insurance representatives, teachers and secretaries who together serve as mentors in the community and will leave a legacy that will be built upon for years to come.   

  • Rising Star Award - Amy Albright, Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau  
    Amy Albright continuously displays her passion for Oshkosh while leading the Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau to ensure economic development through tourism. She has elevated the marketing strategy for the Oshkosh area by jumpstarting its presence on social media, radio and other media outlets. Her unwavering commitment to establish partnerships and foster relationships have longstanding impacts throughout the community.  

  • Rising Star Award - Lauren Sackett, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce  
    Since becoming Executive Director of the Rhinelander Area Chamber in June 2018, Lauren Sackett has served as the Treasurer of the Oneida County Tourism Commission and has worked to uplift the entire area by advocating for increased commitment in tourism investment. Her leadership played a crucial role in helping many local tourism businesses survive through the pandemic. Described as the perfect blend of local pride, fearless advocate and compassionate peer, Sackett works tirelessly to bring tourism in the Northwoods to the next level.  

  • Service Excellence Award - The Racine Zoo  
    The Racine Zoo is a 28-acre, accredited zoo along the shores of Lake Michigan that works to create a safe, fun, enriching and educational place for all ages. The Zoo incorporates animals and wildlife conservation education into every part of their work. From guided scout hikes and preschool classes to summer camps and special events, they strive to connect the community with nature. As a result of its ongoing efforts to remove barriers to access, the Racine Zoo recently became the first certified sensory inclusive zoo in Wisconsin. 

  • Legacy Award - Sherry Quamme, Mississippi River Parkway Commission/WI Great River Road  
    Sherry Quamme has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to serving and uplifting numerous municipalities, including her own community of Ferryville. She has been a driving force for tourism and economic development in southwest Wisconsin and has collaborated with more than eight destination marketing organizations to promote the region. She has served on the Mississippi River Parkway Commission/Wisconsin Great River Road, including as Chair, since 2008. Quamme led the efforts to author Wisconsin’s first successful All American Road application to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, with the designation being awarded in 2021. No matter the project, Quamme is a forward-thinking leader, and her efforts go above and beyond. 

Learn more about the full list of 2022 Governor’s Tourism Awards nominees here