The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission awarded 10 Champion Awards to local individuals or businesses, as well as three Visitor Choice Awards to local organizations at last night’s Annual Celebration. 

The following organizations were recognized for their commitment to the community through acts of generosity, volunteerism, visitor services, donations and partnerships with Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau/Des Moines Area Sports Commission staff, clients and partners from July 2012 to June 2013:


Champion Award Winners

  • Civic Champion – Jerry Sullivan, former Mayor of Windsor Heights
  • Corporate Champion – Prairie Meadows
  • CVB Champion – Des Moines Register
  • Catch Champions – Tim Pearson & Harold Kahler, Iowa Soccer Association
  • Media Champion – WHO-TV 13 News
  • Partner Champion – Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company
  • Community Champion – Principal Financial Group
  • Sports Champions – Iowa State University, Iowa Events Center & Polk County, hosts of the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling National Championships
  • Volunteer Champion – Todd Kinney, National Association of County Engineers


Visitor Choice Awards – Determined by visitor vote

  • Hotel of the Year – Prairie Meadows
  • Restaurant of the Year – Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse (Fleur Drive)
  • Attraction of the Year – Iowa State Fair


Additional Honorees

  • Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau staff Vicki Comegys, Vice President of Sales, Sports and Services, and Katie Fencl, Director of Events, were recognized for completing the Certified Sports Event Executive (CSEE) Program
  • Sue Elliott, upon retiring as Project Manager for the Polk County Supervisor’s Office, was honored for her outstanding support, service and advocacy of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Greg Edwards, President and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, was recognized as Destination Leadership Champion for his support of local, regional and national tourism 

Other notable achievements during fiscal year 2012-2013 celebrated at last night’s event include:

  • Securing $98.6 million total economic impact, according to the 2013 Business Travel News’ Corporate Travel Index cost per diem for Des Moines
  • Generating $1.9 billion in travel expenditures between Polk and Dallas Counties, according to the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s County Impact Study released September 2013
  • Hosting 549 events, including NCAA Division I Wrestling National Championships, USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and US Youth Soccer Region II Championships
  • Booking 1,250 total events, including the National Square Dance Convention in June 2016 and the American Society of Animal Science/American Dairy Science Association’s Midwestern Section Annual Meeting in March 2014, 2015 and 2016
  • The Catch Des Moines brand launch in November 2013


The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau Annual Celebration was sponsored by Iowa Beverage Systems.

Photos from the event and copies of the 2012-2013 Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau Annual Report are available upon request.