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Out & About: Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau names its 2017 Champions of Tourism

Shirley McMarlin
| Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
From left: Fort Ligonier executive director Annie Urban; assistant education director Matthew Gault, recipient of the Tourism Employee of the Year award; and marketing and public relations director Julie Donovan at the Oct. 25 Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Fort Ligonier executive director Annie Urban; assistant education director Matthew Gault, recipient of the Tourism Employee of the Year award; and marketing and public relations director Julie Donovan at the Oct. 25 Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
From left: Fallingwater museums programs assistant Clinton Piper; Lynda Waggoner, Fallingwater director and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy vice president, the recipient of the Tourism Trailblazer of the Year award; WPC vice president Genny McIntyre; and Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau executive director Ann Nemanic at the LHVB annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Fallingwater museums programs assistant Clinton Piper; Lynda Waggoner, Fallingwater director and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy vice president, the recipient of the Tourism Trailblazer of the Year award; WPC vice president Genny McIntyre; and Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau executive director Ann Nemanic at the LHVB annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Denise and Charles Gehringer, owners of Yoder's Guest House in Meyersdale, recipients of the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau Tourism Pathfinder of the Year award, at the LHVB annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Denise and Charles Gehringer, owners of Yoder's Guest House in Meyersdale, recipients of the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau Tourism Pathfinder of the Year award, at the LHVB annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
From left: Eileen Plummer, Dave Runco and Chris Plummer at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation, held Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Eileen Plummer, Dave Runco and Chris Plummer at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation, held Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Rivers of Steel representatives Brianna Horan and Carly McCoy at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Rivers of Steel representatives Brianna Horan and Carly McCoy at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Ramada Ligonier owner Andrea Cuda and Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau sales director Stacey Magda at the LHVB annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 27 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Ramada Ligonier owner Andrea Cuda and Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau sales director Stacey Magda at the LHVB annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 27 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Olga Herbert and Don Orlando at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Olga Herbert and Don Orlando at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
From left: Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau board president Michael Langer with board members Bryan Perry, Ken Bisbee and Laura Argenbright at the LHVB annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
From left: Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau board president Michael Langer with board members Bryan Perry, Ken Bisbee and Laura Argenbright at the LHVB annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Rachel Roehrig and Georgia Robinsky at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.
Kim Stepinsky | For the Tribune-Review
Rachel Roehrig and Georgia Robinsky at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau annual dinner and tourism champion awards presentation on Oct. 25 at the Barn at Ligonier Valley.

A recent USA Today poll listed four Western Pennsylvania spots in the commonwealth's top 10 tourist attractions. It's probably safe to assume that the work of the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau had a hand in that.

The official marketing organization for Westmoreland, Fayette and Somerset counties, the visitors bureau held its annual dinner and awards presentation on Oct. 25 in the Barn at Ligonier Valley.

Executive director Ann Nemanic announced the 2017 Champions of Tourism honorees:

• Tourism Pathfinder of the Year: Denise and Charles Gehringer, owners of Yoder's Guest House in Meyersdale, Somerset County.

• Tourism Employee of the Year: Matt Gault, assistant director of education at Fort Ligonier.

• Tourism Trailblazer of the Year: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which operates Fallingwater (No. 10 in the poll) and protects land in Ohiopyle State Park (No. 4), among its many conservation efforts. Accepting the award was conservancy Vice President and Fallingwater Director Lynda Waggoner.

Information shared at the dinner included that the visitor's bureau website, laurelhighlands.org , had 2 million page views in 2016.

Seen: Anna Weltz, Mike Langer, Lisa Hays, Annie Urban, Julie Donovan, Teresa Baughman, Jennifer Benford, Louise Bates, Erica Nuckles, Clinton Piper, Allen Martello, Don Orlando, Deborah Fox, Claire Ertl, Brandon Kail, Theresa Gay Rohall, Olga Herbert, Jeff Landy, Pam Halula, Dave Stoner, Andrea Cuda, Stacey Magda, Rachel Roehrig, Georgia Robinsky, Chuck andNancy Anderson, Dave Lohr, Chris and Eileen Plummer, Henry Scully, Brooke Neel andMelissa Blystone.

The other area sites ranked in the poll: Flight 93 National Memorial (No. 6) and Carnegie Museum of Natural History (No. 9).

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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