You are here

2012 Top Tourism Leaders Recognized by Gov. Daugaard


PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard and the South Dakota Department of Tourism presented awards to top visitor industry leaders Thursday evening at the 2012 Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Pierre.

The Ben Black Elk Award went to Hazel Juhnke of Vivian. The award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to South Dakota’s visitor industry.

Hazel has served the South Dakota visitor industry for more than 30 years as a travel counselor and supervisor at Interstate Information Centers at Vivian and Chamberlain. She has frequently been mentioned as “memorable” and “helpful” by visitors when Information Center comment cards are reviewed.

“The tourism industry realizes that there is no stronger personal voice when promoting South Dakota than the travel counselors who are the first point of contact for many of the state’s visitors,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Hazel has made a tremendous contribution to tourism over the years, and I thank her for that excellent service.”

The A. H. Pankow Award, which honors a media outlet or individual member of the media for unparalleled coverage and promotion of the state’s visitor industry, was awarded to Bob Faehn, General Manager of KXLG Radio in Watertown. Faehn created the idea of Live & Local radio in Watertown to serve the needs of the community. He is a former state legislator, and has supported tourism over the years by spreading its message.

“Bob Faehn has tirelessly supported and publicized his local community and South Dakota’s visitor industry,” the Governor said. “He understands the importance of the visitor industry and the impact it has on the state, and has offered many complimentary broadcasts to support tourism.”

Gov. Daugaard presented George S. Mickelson Great Service Awards to Pioneer Auto Show in Murdo and the Country Inn & Suites in Watertown.

“Both of these businesses have proven their dedication to hospitality and customer satisfaction and have provided thousands of visitors with memorable travel experiences,” the Governor said.“We are grateful for their continued commitment to superior service.”

The Rooster Rush Cacklin' Community Award, in its third year, went to the Huron Convention and Visitors Bureau for promotion of its Ringneck Nation brand and community level support of the Tourism Department’s fall Rooster Rush campaign. Members of the organization showed exceptional dedication to highlighting the 2011 pheasant hunting season with advertising and promotional events, and they were successful in creating excitement in their communities.