Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
WHY DIANNE WAS NOMINATED
Dianne Thomas has been an integral part of the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience since the very beginning; November 2013. She was the first person to befriend everyone when they walked through the doors, and the first person to show everyone when to step it up. That is a true bond which she shares with nearly teammate at the EWBE. For several years, Dianne has served as an exceptional Barkeep, maintaining pristine conditions and training others, while offering kind and funny words to guests whenever possible. Dianne also always keeps the team supplied with plenty of snacks and treats! Soon after leaving the team for what she thought was her final retirement, she realized that she truly missed working with her team and our guests, and was welcomed back with open arms. Upon her return, she has worked even harder than before, learning aspects of retail and finally becoming our leading lady of the front desk. Her desire to grow and help out her fellow teammates knows no bounds. There is no better smile for a guest to see when they walk into the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, than the smile of Dianne Thomas. She makes each guest feel special, even on the busiest day. Her presence is warm and you instantly feel like old friends. She will always make sure no guest leaves disappointed, even if she has to personally take them upstairs for a taste of Evan Williams Peach or Eggnog (coincidentally her favorites).
Carnegie Center for Art & History
WHY DELESHA WAS NOMINATED
Delesha has extraordinary ability to make our visitors feel valued, welcomed and informed. She is committed to making sure that all guests are comfortable while they are here and that they learn not only about our museum’s programs and activities but also those of attractions on both sides of the river. Delesha is also prepared to make recommendations for lunch or dinner as requested by guests as a way to be of service and to provide a fuller visitor experience to encourage repeat visitors. She routinely goes above and beyond for visitors and a recent experience with a busload of visitors is an excellent example of this. The group had toured our facility and after chatting with many of the guests about their experience here, she asked them where they were having lunch. The bus driver said they were going to the riverfront but it was not clear to him on how to actually get there. Instead of writing out directions, and with the enthusiastic encouragement of the guests, Delesha actually got on the bus with the group and directed the driver to the site! Delesha has a smile that lights up a room and a warm and engaging manner that makes her a much-appreciated co-worker.
Kentucky Derby Museum
WHY KATE WAS NOMINATED
From handling initial inquires, planning itineraries to leading groups on their exclusive tour experience at Churchill Downs Racetrack, Kate literally does it all. One of Kate’s best qualities is her ability to exceed guests expectations while always taking care of internal staff. She keeps everyone in the loop and makes sure our tour guides, front line staff, retail staff, and facilities team always feels appreciated. They always know they can count on her. Kate has a passion not only for Thoroughbred racing but a love of the equine animal that she shares with guests. Her relationships, both at the Museum, Churchill Downs and within the horse racing industry often help add an additional special moment or experience. She has arranged for trainers, jockeys, farriers, and horsemen to meet with guests and groups, providing once in a lifetime experience that visitors will never forget. She keeps up with racing news and events so she can always share accurate and up-to-date information. After working with Kate, the Museum often receives numerous emails, cards and calls from her clients, full of praise for her and the extra care she puts into every visit. Her energy, enthusiasm and boisterous sense of humor make her a favorite among our visitors and staff.
WHY La’Que WAS NOMINATED
La’Que has been with Kentucky Kingdom since its reopening in 2014. He started when he was 16 years old and worked his way up in Guest Services. His original task was ticket scanner but he is now the senior supervisor who is responsible for ensuring that the season pass, ticket, and front gate operation flow smoothly. He is also responsible for handling complaints and resolving any issue that is brought to Guest Services’ attention. La’Que is also one of our phone operators who handles guest calls all year long. La’Que is an amazing leader and is the best at turning any guests’ day around. He leads by example and shows all of the Guest Services staff how treat our guests while also ensuring that our team is working at peak efficiency. Anytime a guest is having a less than perfect experience, we look to La’Que to resolve the issue and find a way to make it right. La’Que embraces the essence of hospitality and spreads it to all of our guests. He understands the importance of treating our guests as if they are guests in our own home. He has a great smile and he exudes professionalism. He is loved not only by our guests but also by all of our staff. He is a shining example of someone who works hard to be the best he can be so that our guests can have the best experience possible.
Jimmy James Hamblin
WHY JIMMY WAS NOMINATED
The last two years Jimmy James has entertained thousands of tourists on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, leading tastings, tours and even driving tours by bus to experience Kentucky’s native spirit. There are never any awkward silent moments while on tour with Jimmy James, he has stories for days and is well education on all distilling processes and procedures. The best part of spending time with Jimmy James on tour is during the Bourbon tasting. He teaches each guest how professional tasters use certain techniques to pull our flavor profiles and use sensory details to truly enjoy the bourbon tasting experience. He is one of the best storytellers on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Angel’s Envy is lucky to have an amazing professional actor and distillery guide on Main St. Jimmy James goes out of his way to make every guest feel at home when they visit the Angel’s Envy Distillery. He manages to entertain and educated guest whether it is their first bourbon distillery visit or a frequent visitor with his charismatic persona and his overwhelmingly contagious laugh. Jimmy James goes above and beyond while at the distillery ensuring that all guests have the most enjoyable experience whether they are on the first tour of the day or the last tour. Jimmy James creates a memorable experience for guests while educating them on Kentucky’s native spirit and most importantly about the process of Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in Port Barrels.
Frazier History Museum
WHY TONY WAS NOMINATED
Tony is well-known among Louisville theatre circles as being a wonderfully creative and collaborative partner. He transferred those skills to his work at the Frazier in creating the wildly-successful annual offering, An Evening with Poe. Headed into its eighth year, the seasonal Halloween offering brings some of Poe’s best-known works to the stage. Although the performances highlight three actors (Tony among them), Tony identifies which pieces will be performed each year and adapts them for the stage – sometimes in surprising ways. In a review, Arts-Louisville highly complimented An Evening with Poe, saying that the adaptations turn“. . . the classic works into monologues and soliloquies with spellbinding dramatic flair.” The performances sell out every year and bring both revenue and a new audience into the Frazier.
Always eager for new challenges and creative outlets, Tony’s newest endeavor at the Frazier is a new direction for the Frazier: programming primarily focusing on elders with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. With Stories in Mind, Tony uses the process of crafting stories to engage adults and allow them to express themselves without fear of being wrong, without restrictions on what can and cannot be said, and without the expectation of recalling memories. By creating stories together – even entirely new and fabricated ones – Tony is building a program to assist people struggling with dementia and their families to refocus on special moments and enjoying their time together. Tony’s rare combination of creativity, compassion, and charisma made him Frazier’s perfect choice to spearhead this new programming initiative.