LEXINGTON  –  Lexington Hospitality Awards today honored front-line staff and volunteers in the tourism industry who have demonstrated exceptional service as well as Hometown Hosts who brought conventions and events to Lexington. 

“Our Service Excellence Award winners, all non-managerial staff, are the unsung heroes of hospitality for our community and the $2.4 billion tourism industry in the region,” said Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX. “They go the extra mile to provide outstanding service to welcome visitors and residents alike to experience all that makes us unique.”

This year’s recipients are:

  • Mariana Montoya - Embassy Suites Lexington Green
  • Cody Boston - Glo Best Western
  • Katie Dendinger - Hilton Lexington Downtown
  • Emily Mezur - Marriott Lexington Griffin Gate Golf Resort & Spa
  • Baille Riffe - The Campbell House, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Jerry Johnson - Carlisle Nicholas Tourism
  • Monda Singai - The Manchester Hotel
  • Angelina Hensley - LEXPO Exposition Services
  • Jim Alcorn - Barrel House Distilling Co
  • Sarah Hayden - Bella Notte
  • Stephen Cline - Constitution Square Gift Shop (Danville)
  • Judy Greer – Hilton Lexington Downtown
  • Mike Galanis – Keeneland
  • Andrew Walker - 21c Museum Hotel Lexington
  • Desiree Lynley - Red Mile, INC
  • Latrell Harvey - The Manchester Hotel - Lost Palm
  • Kat Lawson - Woodford Reserve Distillery
  • Tony Divens - KRM Wagering, LLC
  • Shjanita Johnson – The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center
  • PJ Goodine – DV8 Kitchen and Bakery
  • Yolanda Danforth-Staley – Coles 735 Main
  • Nadine Baker – Marriott Griffin Gate Resort & Spa
  • Stephen Gross – Malone’s Lansdowne
  • Paul Sowders – TownePlace Suites by Marriott Richmond
  • Maria Hidalgo – Courtyard Lexington South/Hamburg


Hometown Hosts

The Hometown Host Program, which was created by VisitLEX in 2004, provides support and resources to anyone in Kentucky who can influence and be instrumental in bringing meetings, conventions and events to Lexington. VisitLEX’s goal is to make the planning process easier for the Hometown Host by providing meeting and hotel options, specialty venue ideas, and creative local group activities. 

These Hometown Hosts were responsible for bringing more than 28,000 room nights and $15 million of direct and indirect impact to the Bluegrass region. They brought a variety of events and meetings to Lexington – from sporting events to national conferences to professional conferences.

"These Hometown Hosts helped attract many meetings that otherwise might not have located in Lexington," VisitLEX President Mary Quinn Ramer said. "They serve a significant role -- not only in tourism and conventions but also in exposing so many visitors to the tremendous attractions that Lexington has to offer." 

Here are the 2024 Hometown Host honorees, their organization and the conference/meeting they helped bring to Lexington:

Winfrey Adkins

Nostalgia Station Toy & Train Museum 

Antique Toy Collectors of America 2024 Annual Fall Convention


Rodney Andrews

Dave Melanson

University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research 

2024 American Coal Ash Association Fall Meeting 

Appalachian Carbon Forum 2024 

World of Coal Ash 2026         


Sarah McGill

Lexington Fire Department 

2024 Firefighter Challenge Southeast Classic


Matthew Wilson 

University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences - Department of Geography 

Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers 2025 Annual Meeting  


Janet Lensing

Joe Collins

University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment - Department of Entomology 

2024 Southern Plant Board Meeting 


Margaret Townsend

Newtown Truffiere 

2024 North American Truffle Growers Association Congress


Luke Dodd Eastern Kentucky University - Department of Biological Sciences 

Piper Roby Copperhead Environmental Consulting 

30th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network 2025


Allison Soult

University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences – Department of Chemistry 

American Chemical Society Biennial Conference on Chemical Education 2024


Brian Real

University of Kentucky - College of Communications & Information Studies 

Library Research Seminar 8


Lisa Bemis

LBX Company 

LBX 2024 Meeting


Don DeLuca 

CUPA-HR Kentucky Chapter 

College and University Professional Association for Human Resources 2024 Fall State Conference 


Karen Brooks

Dream Factory 

Dream Factory 2024 National Convention


Lance Brunner 

University of Kentucky - College of Fine Arts 

Contemplative Higher Education Alliance for Research, Teaching & Service 2024 Conference


Dr. John Kim

Cheri Tolle 

Melissa Darsey-Coffey 

UK HealthCare Markey Cancer Center 

American Association for Cancer Education 2024 International Cancer Education Conference


Lisa Higgins-Hord 

Joey Conrad

University of Kentucky - Office of Lifelong Learning 

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute - Southern Regional Conference for Learning in Retirement


Pamela Hull

Caree McAfee

Sandra Shepherd 

UK HealthCare Markey Cancer Center & University of Kentucky - College of Medicine 

HPV Cancer Center Consortium 2024


Prim Wathen Hudgins

University of Kentucky - College of Medicine 

UK College of Medicine - Class of 1964 Reunion 

UK College of Medicine - Fall Reunion 2024


Cortney Lee 

Barry Inabnet 

UK HealthCare & University of Kentucky - College of Medicine    

Am Assoc of Endocrine Surgeons 2026 Annual Meeting


Barry Inabnet 

UK HealthCare & University of Kentucky - College of Medicine 

The Society of Black Academic Surgeons 2026 Annual Meeting


Thailandria Daniels

University of Kentucky - College of Medicine 

Student National Medical Association Regional Conference


Glenda George 

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority INC 

Alpha Kappa Alpha Cluster Retreat 2023 

Alpha Kappa Alpha Kntuky Statewide Founders Day 2024 

Alpha Kappa Alpha Miss Fashionetta Cotillion 2023 

Alpha Kappa Alpha Coretta Scott King Spirit of Ivy Awards Luncheon


Kim Taylor

University of Kentucky Office of the Registrar 

Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers 2024 Conference


Collier Philips

United States Marshals Service, Eastern District of Kentucky – London Office 

International Gang Awareness Summit


Martina Vasil 

University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts - School of Music 

2025 American Orff-Schulwerk Association Professional Development Conference


Tracy Frauenknecht

Bluegrass Little League 

Kentucky State Little League Tournament U10-U12


Vince Gabbert 

Lexington Sporting Club 

Northern Academy League Tournament and Lexington Sporting Club Soccer Tournament