Paul Sherlock Lifetime Achievement Award in Tourism

Sponsored by:Travelhost

The Paul Sherlock Lifetime Achievement Award in Tourism is the Ohio travel industry’s highest honor, recognizing one individual each year who exemplifies professional, personal and career excellence. Each year, the recipient’s career achievement and tireless efforts toward our industry are recognized during an award presentation at the Ohio Conference on Travel.

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How is the Recipient Selected?

The 2017 Paul Sherlock Lifetime Achievement Award In Tourism nomination packet will be opening shortly. The Paul Sherlock Committee, representing former award winners and Ohio Travel Association board representatives, reviews nominations and presents a slate of candidates to the full Ohio Travel Association board for a final vote. All voting is done by closed ballot, and only a few directly involved in the award ceremony know the identity of the winner. 

2016 Paul Sherlock Award Recipient
Ps AwardDebbie Robinson, Cambridge/Guernsey County Visitors & Convention Bureau 

Who was Paul Sherlock?

Paul Sherlock was the first to recognize Ohio’s travel potential. A native of Perry County and a former journalist, Paul Sherlock began work with the Ohio Department of Development in 1945, where he handled travel issues and served as the assistant director for travel and tourism. He was named director in 1972.

He served under Governor James Rhodes on Ohio’s first travel advisory committee, the group that became the Ohio Travel Council and evolved into the Ohio Travel Association. Paul Sherlock was a major factor in the growth of Ohio’s festivals and the creation of the Ohio Festival and Events Association. He considered his work with Ohio’s festival groups to be one of his major accomplishments. Paul was single-minded in his devotion to Ohio and its potential as a travel destination.

Although he was a quiet person who liked best to operate behind the scenes and secure the limelight for others, he was a tireless promoter of Ohio. His knowledge of Ohio’s travel resources was legendary. He was also a mentor who recognized the importance of preparing the industry’s future leaders.

Paul Sherlock Award Recipients


Charles Campbell

Ohio Festival and Event Association


William M. Piatt, Sr.

Piatt Castle


Frank Carrell

Cleveland Convention and Visitors Bureau


Pat Brown

Roscoe Village Foundation


John A. Baltes

Sea World of Ohio


Marilane Spencer

Bixler Tours


Dale Finley

Cleveland Convention and Visitors Bureau


Rachel Redinger

Trumpet in the Land


 Don Patterson

  Akron/Summit County Convention and Visitors Bureau


 Robert S. Hart, Jr.

  Hart Productions, Inc.


 Ned Harden

 Circleville Pumpkin Show


 Lois E. Smith

 Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau


 Corrine "Corky" Gutter

 Akron/Summit County Convention and Visitors Bureau


 Peter Robinson

 BB Riverboats


 Betty Wasick

 Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens


 Sue Ellen Wilson

 Lane Hotels


 Darrell Banks

 San-Dar Smorgasbord


 Ted Ryan



 R.C. "Dick" Bell

 Seneca Caverns


 Daniel Hostetler, III

 Medina County Convention and Visitors Bureau


 Walter "Timmie" Thimmes

 AAA South Central Ohio


 William "Bill" Hash

 America Interstate Tours


 David Warther

 Warther Carvings


 Joan Van Offeren

 Lake Erie Shores and Islands


 Bill Schwartz

 Hospitality Inc.


 John Hildebrandt

 Cedar Point


 Robert "Chip" Hart, III

 Hart Productions


 Pat Cano

 Lorain County Visitors Bureau


 Vicky Branson

 Ohio Historical Society


 Susan Hamo

 Akron/Summit County Convention and Visitors Bureau


 Doniella Winchell

 Ohio Wine Producers


 Diane Chesnut

 Lake Erie Firelands Tourist Council


 Jonette Haberfield

 A Taste of Ohio


 Kari Kauffman

 Experience Columbus


 Diana Thompson

 Miami County Convention and Visitors Bureau


 Amir Eylon

 Office of TourismOhio


 Melinda Huntley

 Ohio State University, Ohio Sea Grant Program


 Scott Dring

 Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau


 Pat Crow

 Knox County Convention and Visitors Bureau


 Richard Nachazel

 Destination Toledo


 Lee Tasseff

 Mansfield/Richland County Convention & Visitors Bureau


 Debbie Robinson

 Cambridge/Guernsey County Visitors & Convention Bureau

RUBY Award Logo

Sponsored by:

Ohio Magazine Logo

The RUBY Awards, sponsored by Ohio Magazine, are the Ohio Travel Association's way of honoring those who have found the most innovative ways to market their destination, experiences or services. In the 20th year of the RUBY Awards, OTA will recognize and reward outstanding artistry in the diverse field of travel and tourism marketing and advertising. Ohio travel businesses and organizations are invited to submit their best work.  

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Submit Your Entries
Judges and Past Winners

Ohio Travel Industry Emerging Leader Award

Who are the emerging leaders in the Ohio travel industry? The Ohio Travel Industry Emerging Leader Award honors budding tourism leaders with under 15 years of professional experience in the industry. 

Ohio Travel Industry Emerging Leader Award winner, Sara Blatnik of Dublin CVB, was honored at the 2016 Ohio Conference on Travel.

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Who is Eligible for Nomination?

The Ohio Travel Industry Emerging Leader Award is open to all individuals currently working in the Ohio travel industry who meet the eligibility criteria:
  • Under 15 years of professional experience in the travel industry and a minimum of five years in the Ohio travel industry
  • Current Ohio Travel Association member
  • Demonstrates commitment and passion for the industry
  • Completed some type of continuing education (ex: OTLA, CDME, etc.)
  • Been recognized for leadership and efforts beyond their job

How to Enter

Deserving individuals may self-nominate or be nominated by a colleague. Nominations for the 2018 Emerging Leader Award will be accepted online shortly.
  • Nominee’s name
  • Nominee's organization
  • Nominee’s title (list previous applicable titles)
  • Nominator's name and contact information
  • Your professional relationship to the nominee (you may self-nominate)
  • A brief synopsis of the individual's innovative leadership
  • At least three examples of his or her achievements over the past five years
The award selection committee will narrow the field of nominees to finalists in early September. Finalists will be notified and asked to submit a brief video detailing their accomplishments and vision for the Ohio travel industry. The deadline for submitting the finalist video will be announced shortly. 


Entry Deadline: Coming Soon
Finalist Selection: Coming Soon
Finalist Video Submission Deadline: Coming Soon
Award Presentation: During the 2017 Ohio Conference on Travel, Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn Hotel


How will the entries be judged?

Entries are judged by a panel of industry veterans representing the last five past-presidents of the Ohio Travel Association and the awards chairman. Entries are judged based on how well the nominee meets the five (5) listed criteria.

Who is eligible to win the award?

Any individual with less than 15 years of professional experience in the travel industry and more than five years of experience in the Ohio travel industry is eligible to enter the Ohio Travel Industry Emerging Leader Award.

Where and when will the event be held?

The winner will receive their Emerging Leader Award at the 2017 Ohio Conference on Travel.

How do I increase the nominees chances of winning an award?

Emphasize the individual's innovative approach to advancing the Ohio travel industry as well as his or her accomplishments and goals. Provide as many specific examples of success as possible, and explain clearly and succinctly the goals the nominee has achieved.

When will nominees be notified of their entry status?

Nominees will be notified if they are a finalist in Autumn 2017. All finalists will be asked to submit a brief video detailing their experience and vision for Ohio's travel industry.

Questions? Contact:

Scott Dring
Emerging Leader Award Chair


Ohio Travel Association
1801 Watermark Drive, Suite 375
Columbus, Ohio, 43215

Congratulations to the Emerging Leader Winners!


Allyson Bussey, Visit Canton/Stark CVB


Roger Dudley, Experience Columbus


Sara Blatnik, Dublin CVB