DES MOINES, IA - The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission recognized 14 local individuals and businesses for their commitment to tourism and the community. Recipients were awarded for their efforts at last night's Annual Celebration, an event that celebrates Greater Des Moines' tourism successes and those who help make them happen.

Of the 14 awards, 11 were presented to those who demonstrated strong community leadership, volunteerism and hospitality from July 2014 to June 2015. The additional three were voted on by visitors via an online survey. The following individuals and businesses received an award:

Champion Award Winners

• Catch Champions - Chris Draper & Jeremiah Johnson, USA Rugby
      o An individual or association who's support has brought meetings, conventions or sporting events to Greater Des Moines
• Civic Champion - Mark Wandro, Polk County Administrator
      o An elected official who is a face of the community and an advocate for Greater Des Moines tourism
• Community Champion - Don Short, West End Architectural Salvage
      o An individual who gives back, supports new initiatives and has made Greater Des Moines a better place to live and work
• Corporate Champion - DuPont Pioneer
      o A business who supports growth in Greater Des Moines and who's advocacy brings vitality and strength to Metro tourism
• CVB Champion - Dan Houston, Principal Financial Group
      o An individual who offers a helping hand, shows support and advocates for tourism in Greater Des Moines
• Media Champion - Midwest Living
      o A publication, news station or reporter who loves the story of Greater Des Moines tourism and isn't afraid to share the news
• Partner Champion - Orchestrate Hospitality Management
      o A Marketing Partner who welcomes visitors with open doors and catches the vibe of Greater Des Moines tourism
• Spirit of Community Champion - Representative Peter Cownie
      o An individual who enhances the community through leadership and advocacy
• Sports Champions - Chow's Gymnastics Booster Club
      o A college, university, sports venue or association that shows support of athletics in Greater Des Moines
• Volunteer Champion - Marilyn Schroder, Lutheran Women
      o An individual who offers assistance, gives their all and helps provide the best experience for visitors

Visitor Choice Awards - Determined by visitor vote

• Attraction of the Year - Iowa State Fair
• Hotel of the Year - Des Moines Marriott Downtown
• Restaurant of the Year - Centro

For photos of the event or additional information on the voting process, please contact Addison Bratvold at or (515) 699-3466.


The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, the parent organization of the Des Moines Area Sports Commission, is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to market the region as a visitor destination increasing economic growth and enhancing the visitor experience. The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission represent the following municipalities: Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Clive, Des Moines, Grimes, Indianola, Johnston, Perry, Pleasant Hill, Polk City, Polk County, Urbandale, West Des Moines and Windsor Heights