Visit Jackson Honors Tourism Industry Standouts

February 4, 2021

Visit Jackson named our 28th annual Hometown Hero and SUMITT award recipients in a virtual ceremony held Thursday, February 4.

“This year’s ceremony will go down in our history as uniquely remarkable,” said Rickey Thigpen, President and CEO of Visit Jackson. “The tourism industry suffered in 2020, but our collective ambition in Mississippi’s capital city solidified us, transforming Jackson into a destination force. Our industry partners worked together to not only stay relevant but to come out even stronger.”

Watch the 2021 Presentation here

2020 Hometown Hero Awards

Travel & Tourism Industry Employees

  • Phil Stamps II, Stamps Super Burgers
  • Reshonda Perryman, Visit Jackson
  • Paul Wolf, Visit Jackson
  • Marlon Ivy, Visit Mississippi
  • Connie Cossar, Visit Mississippi
  • Brenda Brown, Hilton Jackson
  • Vinson Woodberry, Hilton Jackson
  • Jennifer Chance, Visit Jackson
  • Jordan Hillman, City of Jackson
  • John Moore, The Westin Jackson
  • Becky Baumel, The Westin Jackson

Meeting and Tour Group Planners

  • Jane Halbert Jones, More Than a Tourist
  • Tracey Daniel, Mississippi Judicial College
  • Attorney Carshena L. Bailey, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Barry Thomas, International Council of Corvette Clubs

Festival/Event Organizers

  • Arden Barnett, Ardenland
  • Eli Childers, Visual Artist
  • Maisie Brown, Black Lives Matter Movement
  • Salam Rida & Travis Crabtree, Fertile Ground Project

2020 SUMITT Award Winners

  • Attraction of the Year: Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
  • Festival or Event of the Year: Mississippi Blues Marathon
  • Full-Service Hotel of the Year: The Westin Jackson
  • Limited-Service Hotel of the Year: The Residence Inn by Marriott at the District of Eastover
  • Restaurant of the Year; Estelle Wine Bar & Bistro
  • Friend of Tourism: Rachel Myers – Two Mississippi Museums

Shining Example Awards

Cathead Distillery

Mississippi Children’s Museum

Fine & Dandy

Visionary Award

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and the COVID-19 Task Force

Mississippi House of Representatives

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn; Representative Becky Currie, Tourism Committee – Chair Representative; Debra Gibbs, Tourism Committee – Vice Chair

Mississippi State Senate

Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann; Senator Lydia Graves Chassaniol,Tourism Committee – Chair; Senator John Horhn, Tourism Committee – Vice Chair

Visit Jackson joins our tourism industry partners annually to recognize individuals and entities who continue to play an essential role in developing Jackson, Mississippi into a tourism destination.

While Thigpen chose the Shining Example and the Visionary Award winners, the Hometown Hero Awards were nominated and decided upon by Jackson’s industry partners.

The Hometown Hero Awards program is a signature event of Visit Jackson.

About Visit Jackson

Visit Jackson is the official destination leadership organization for the city of Jackson. The bureau serves Jackson by positively impacting the city’s economy through recruitment and procurement of meetings and tourism activities.

Created in 1983, Visit Jackson acts as a quasi-independent government agency reauthorized by the state legislature and governed by an independently appointed board of directors with members representing the hotel, restaurant, attraction, art, and education sectors.

Media Contact: Kim Lewis – or 601.354.2553 for interviews, statements and story ideas.