Visit Jackson Honors Tourism Industry Standouts

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

(Watch the presentation here)

“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.”

2021 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 – ChairSenator 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.