Meet Minneapolis Announces 2013 Annual Meeting Award Winners

Meet Minneapolis Announces 2013 Annual Meeting Award Winners

Meet Minneapolis Announces 2013 Annual Meeting Award Winners


Branch 9 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, American Swedish Institute and Sam Thompson honored


(MINNEAPOLIS)—March 7, 2013 — Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association, proudly announces the winners of its 2013 Annual Meeting awards, given March 7, 2013, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Winners included Branch 9 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, the American Swedish Institute, Sam Thompson, founder of metroConnections, and Shelley Selstad and Paula Granroos, concierges at the Minneapolis Convention Center.


The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated long-time dedication to the hospitality industry. The latest recipient is Sam Thompson. During his 30 plus years in the hospitality industry Thompson has achieved many impressive feats. In hopes of improving the tourism experience in Minnesota, Thompson started metroConnections in 1984. Since then he has turned it into a $16 million a year leading conference and event services company which has received numerous awards including Best Destination Management Company and Best Innovative Event. In addition, metroConnections has been designated as a Top 25 Destination Management Company in the world by Special Events Magazine every year since 2006. In the past Thompson has served as a Meet Minneapolis board member and president of the Association of Destination Management Executives International.


The Coppertop Award was presented to Branch 9 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, and accepted by current Branch 9 President Mike Zagaros. The award traditionally honors an individual, institution or organization whose efforts have resulted in a major convention coming to Minneapolis. Branch 9 was honored for their work in hosting the 68th Biennial Convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center which brought more than 9,500 attendees to Minneapolis over a six day span in July. This event helped to show off Minneapolis’ reputation as an outdoor destination and as a hospitality community.


The O.D. Gay Award was presented to the American Swedish Institute, and accepted by CEO Bruce Karstadt. It honors an individual or organization that contributes significantly to the infrastructure of Minneapolis. Originally called the Builders Award, The O.D. Gay Award was renamed to honor the first director of the Minneapolis Downtown Council who was instrumental in the development of so many innovations, including Nicollet Mall and the skyway system. The American Swedish Institute has been an arts and cultural center and museum since 1929 in the historic Turnblad Mansion. The new Nelson Cultural Center which opened in June included additions to the mansion including, reception area, café, gallery, event center, terrace, courtyard and new museum shop space. The new restaurant, Fika, has featured Minneapolis in accolades from the New York Times and other media publications. In addition, the visit of the king and queen of Sweden to Minnesota in October 2012 drew thousands of visitors to the Minneapolis area. The new experience the American Swedish Institute has created for its visitors make it a great recipient of this award.


The Hospitality Hero Award was previously an annual award but in Fall 2011, Meet Minneapolis increased the honor to a quarterly award to capture more of the great service around the city. The award honors an individual or company who has contributed significantly to the public image of Minneapolis through outstanding hospitality and service. Five outstanding Hospitality Hero recipients from first, second, third and fourth quarters (recognized at this Annual Meeting) were Kevin Honebrink, private dining server at McCormick & Schmick’s, Carlyle Pierre, bell captain at the Marquette Hotel Minneapolis, AIlona McKinney, guest services agent at Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis Downtown and Paula Granroos and Shelley Selstad, concierges at the Minneapolis Convention Center.




Images of the award winners will be available on Meet Minneapolis’ website in the afternoon of Friday, March 8, 2013.



Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit of the greater Minneapolis area.



On Facebook:

On Twitter:

On Pinterest:



Kristen Montag, media communication manager, 612.767.8038,, Minneapolis_PR on Twitter.