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.
Since opening their Western Hemisphere research center here in 2015, Hilti has actively kept their meetings and event business in Irving. In 2016, they held two annual meetings at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas for a combined total of 20 days and 1,500 attendees. Through these meetings and other significant business throughout the year, Hilti accounted for 4,000-plus room nights in 2016.
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.
Since opening in 2015, the Texas Musicians Museum has been featured in Texas Highways, Texas Monthly, AAA Home and Away, Travel + Leisure, numerous trade publications as well as all local papers and television stations. They have helped put Irving on the map for music enthusiasts and will complement the across-town Music Factory in featured stories and placements.
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.
In 2013, Kathy Wilkins, in her role of President of The Nexus Club, was instrumental in bringing the LPGA Tour back to the DFW area and her home course at Las Colinas Country Club after a 20 year hiatus for the now-titled Volunteers of America Texas Shootout. This tournament brings top women golfers, visitors, media and golf enthusiasts to Irving each April, and that is largely due to Kathy’s efforts. She is the first individual to receive the Townsell Award and embodies the same spirit and tenacity as this award’s namesake.
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.
Alem has been a member of the La Cima Club team for over 17 years. Her personality, attitude and smile are infectious to her fellow co-works and customers. Alem has received numerous employee recognition awards over the years, including "Bartender of the Month" by Avid Golfer magazine. ClubCorp Members from across the country return to La Cima Club just because of the way they were treated by Alem in previous visits. Just like Willie, Alem has steel trap for a memory, always greeting members by name and presenting their favorite beverage without being asked.