Councilman David Speck was named Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association (ACVA) Partner of the Year at its annual meeting on September 26.
A founding member of ACVA, Speck will step down from his position on the board of governors in June 2003. He is also completing his final year as a member of the Alexandria City Council.
"I have truly enjoyed the time I have spent promoting the city and working with the ACVA staff. They are very nice people and very dedicated to their mission," said Speck.
"We are constantly being reminded how critical tourism is to our economy. Unfortunately, that fact was brought home to us in a very painful way as a result of last September's tragedy," he said.
In making the presentation, ACVA chair-elect Hudson Riehle noted, "Councilman Speck is really our partner of nearly a decade. He has been active on the ACVA Board, and more importantly, an active spokesperson for ACVA tourism issues.
"He has gone to bat for us more times than we can count. He truly understands both the economic and cultural values of tourism and communicates these clearly and succinctly to both the business and residential communities of Alexandria."
SPECK WAS ALSO cited as the leader who helped develop the process for fully funding the organization's budget in FY ‘99 and was a staunch advocate for a new visitors center, which is now under study by the city. "He has joined in ACVA's outreach efforts to gain support of the community. He has opened the door," Riehle stated.
Others honored during the luncheon meeting at Mango Mike's were Mayor Kerry Donley and three other founding board members retiring after six years of service as governors. They were Mike Anderson, owner of Mango Mike's; Charlotte Hall, vice president, Potomac Riverboat Co.; and Sarah Becker, former director, Stabler Leadbeater Apothecary Museum.
In recognizing Donley, Riehle said, "He supports our mission, challenges us to grow, and works with us to ensure a quality of life in Alexandria that can be enjoyed by everyone who visits, works and lives here." ACVA honored Donley at this time because he, too, will complete his tenure as mayor before the association's next annual meeting.
ACVA's 2003 officers were introduced as follows: chair, Hudson Riehle, senior vice president, Research and Information Services, National Restaurant Association; vice chair, Bryan Thompson, general manager, Hawthorn Suites Ltd. Alexandria, and president, Alexandria Hotel Association; treasurer, Adam Winer, owner, Artcraft Collection; governor at large, Kathy Callender, senior director, Regional Sales, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; and secretary, Jo Anne Mitchell, president and CEO, ACVA.