2009 Tourism Employees of the Year


Historic City News was informed today that Henrietta Wilson (left), a server at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, and Lynda Brown, a history teller at St. Augustine’s Old Jail, have been named as St. Johns County’s “2009 Tourism Employees of the Year”.

Selected annually, the Employees of the Year epitomize the best in hospitality and professionalism among the 12,000 people working in the tourism industry in St. Johns County – an industry that brings more than $700 million in revenue to the county each year. The winners in both the “accommodations” and “attractions” categories were selected by the Visitors and Convention Bureau from among nominations submitted from throughout the industry.

Henrietta Wilson, the Tourism Employee of the Year in the Accommodations category, has been employed by the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club for 33 years. She began her career at the prestigious AAA 5-Diamond resort as a “bread and butter” girl and has always served as a constant reminder of what outstanding service and attention to detail are all about. Her shining smile and gracious disposition have made her a favorite among both guests and club members. She has been named as the Inn and Club’s “Employee of the Month” on numerous occasions and was recently selected as the winner of the inaugural Rose Award for service excellence.

The Tourism Employee of the Year for Attractions is the Old Jail’s Lynda Brown. A history teller at the popular attraction, she takes personal responsibility for the happiness of each visitor. She embodies the idea of “on stage/off stage” and sets the standard for co-workers. Her ability to work with hundreds of school children to bring order out of chaos and her willingness to work extra hours and conduct as many as four back-to-back tours were cited as key factors in what makes her such an outstanding employee. She truly will do whatever is necessary to insure that each guest who crosses her path will have a great visit to St. Augustine.

First Runners-up in the “Employee of the Year” designations were Don Best, maintenance engineer at the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, and Candace Fleming, the museum director at the Spanish Military Hospital. Best was recognized for his “can-do” attitude, engineering skills and inspiring craftsmanship. For the past 15 years, he has volunteered his time in support of the Special Olympics. Fleming has worked in the local tourism industry for more than 20 years, including the last eight years at the Spanish Military Hospital. At the hospital, she has developed and expanded educational programs that have greatly increased the attraction’s popularity. Last year, more than 16,000 school children participated in these entertaining and educational programs.

Second Runners-up for 2009 were Melissa Stuart, a tour guide for City Gate Productions, and Mary Goodmok, the restaurant manager for the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in St. Augustine.

The other nominees selected from among 12,000 tourism industry employees were: Kristine Cleary, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum; Ghost Tours of St. Augustine’s Suzanne Dixon, Andy Nance, Arliss Ryan, and Eric Sponberg; and Ken Rose, Old Town Trolley Tours.