The Spirit of Irving Awards recognizes those in our community who benefit the Irving hospitality and the Irving community at its bottom line. The Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau presents these awards annually at the Irving Hospitality Industry Annual Meeting.
Named in honor of Ben Carpenter, the visionary founder of Las Colinas. The Carpenter Award recognizes an Irving-based company or organization that has brought significant business to the city through meetings, conventions, events or hotel room nights.
Fluor brings over 1,000 group room nights per year to Irving. The Fortune 500 Company not only holds meetings in their corporate HQ hometown, but is also dedicated to building strong communities and having a positive impact on the cities in which they work and live, through their projects, philanthropy and employee volunteerism.
Named in honor of golfing great Byron Nelson, whose namesake PGA golf tournament has been played annually for more than 30 years at Irving’s TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas, and has generated a tremendous amount of media exposure for the city. The Nelson Award recognizes an Irving-based company, organization, or individual that has put the city in a positive spotlight through public relations, marketing or advertising.
Irving-based Conference USA held their 2014 Football Media Days at the DFW Marriott which resulted in Irving-datelined news coverage from national publications and stations as well as in the 14 markets that house a Conference USA school, including Miami, Houston, and numerous mid-west cities.
Named in honor of Jackie Mae Townsell, an Irving City Councilwoman who led a successful campaign for Irving to annex Bear Creek, her lifelong home and an historic area that had originally been founded by slaves. The Townsell Award recognizes an Irving-based individual or community organization that has made a difference by making Irving home to significant meetings, conventions, or events, just as Jackie made a home for Bear Creek residents.
University of Dallas was back at the Irving Convention Center for a third year for their Ministries Conference, which brings in 5,000 attendees annually and results in approximately 300 room nights. Outside of the Ministries Conference they had a stellar year by breaking ground on their new Business College with funds from the largest grant ever received in school history and being named a top college by U.S. News and World Report, Forbes and Princeton Review. Although Dallas is in their title, they never lose sight of where they’re from.
Named in honor of Willie Martin (a.k.a. “Mr. Will”), waiter extraordinaire at both Champps Las Colinas and Cool River Café Las Colinas, who went above and beyond to ensure customers had an extraordinary experience. Gifted with an incredible memory, he never forgot a name, a face or a birthday, and could tell you every item on the menu and wine list, while making recommendations to suit your taste or mood.
Willie passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on November 1, 2014. He left an unforgettable mark on those who knew him, and his name will live in perpetuity through this award, given annually to a front-line hospitality employee in Irving who exemplifies extraordinary customer service and leaves a lasting impression on customers, just like Willie did.
Gary Beacher of Cool River Café
Rebecca Lewis of Champps Las Colinas