POCONO MOUNTAINS, PA, May 13, 2015 –The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB) (PoconoMountains.com) is pleased to announce this year's recipients of the annual Tourism Achievement Awards. The program honors and recognizes Pocono Mountains hospitality and tourism industry employees, along with member properties, as local tourism heroes for strides in customer service and community involvement. The awards were distributed during the PMVB’s 21st Annual Tourism Day held this afternoon at Stroudsmoor Country Inn.

Congratulations to Kevin Gardner of Cove Pocono Resorts for the Brand Hero Award; Rory O’Fee of Woodloch Resort for the Outstanding Tourism Employee of the Year Award; Harry Callie (presented posthumously) of Callie’s Candy Kitchen and Callie’s Pretzel Factory for the Lifetime Achievement Award; Bushkill Group for the Community Service Award; Green Lodging Partnership for the Green Award; and Kalahari Resorts and Conventions for the Brand Champion Award.

To learn more about the winners, read on.

Kevin Gardner – Brand Hero

 Award Kevin Gardner is the Entertainment Manager at Cove Pocono Resorts, and has been an employee there for eight years. He has served in several capacities, starting at the Sports Palace before becoming a Marketing Intern which lead to a full time position in the Marketing department before being promoted to Entertainment Manager. Team members at Cove Pocono Resorts are influenced by Mr. Gardner’s infectious personality, enthusiasm, communication skills and professionalism. He builds strong, positive working relationships and develops his team members for advancement.

Harry Callie – Lifetime Achievement Award

Harry Callie started making candy when he was 19 years old. He opened Callie's Candy Kitchen in Mountainhome in 1972. In 1985, Callie's Pretzel Factory opened three miles away. Mr. Callie was honored with the Master Confectioner award from the Retail Confectioner International, an organization in which he was an active member since 1972. He also received the distinguished honor of being inducted into the National Candy Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions to the candy industry. He created an attraction that became a Pocono Mountains tradition. He partnered with many businesses in the area and was a major part of the success story of the Pocono Mountains as a destination. His shops became a well-known stop on itineraries for student groups and leisure travelers. Mr. Callie said he made candy for more than 60 years because he believed that "candy is happiness." His enthusiasm for the hospitality industry makes him the perfect choice to be honored with Lifetime Achievement. Harry Callie’s daughter Gretchen Callie Reisenwitz accepted the award on their family’s behalf.

Rory O’Fee – Outstanding Tourism Employee of the Year Award

Rory O’Fee has been involved with many facets of the operation of Woodloch Resort in his tenure. He was instrumental in helping the resort build their Sales and Meetings department before joining the Marketing team. In his current position as Director of Marketing, Mr. O’Fee has had huge success in expanding the resort’s exposure throughout the Northeast. He received an Adrian Award for Marketing Excellence. He has a strong work ethic, plans ahead and consistently brings fresh ideas to the table. Outside Woodloch, Mr. O’Fee is involved in his community as a volunteer with the Downtown Hawley Partnership, a member of the Wally Lake Fest Committee and is a director serving the Pike County Room Tax Board.

Bushkill Group – Community Service Award

The Bushkill Group owns and operates The Villas at Tree Tops and Fairway, Fernwood Resort, Pocono Mountain Adventures, Pocono TreeVentures, Blue and White Lightening Tubing, Wintergreens Patio Grill and the Fernwood Golf Course that have all contributed to the thriving tourism economy of the Pocono Mountains. President and CEO Andy Worthington supports the corporate culture that gives back. In addition to his personal contributions to the community, the Bushkill Group fulfils it mission to give back through donations of cash, in kind services and employee time and talent. The Bushkill Group is a corporate donor to organizations including the Bushkill Outreach, the Greg Moyer Defibrillator Fund, United Way, Fitzmaurice Community Services, the American Red Cross, Pocono Medical Center, Joey’s Eagles, the Pocono Arts Council, the Angel’s Closet, Toys for Tots, American Cancer Society, Monroe County Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Stroud Area Regional Police Department, Mady’s Angels, Bushkill Fire Company, Women’s Resources, Pocono Mountains Rotary Fly In Breakfast, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge, several State Trooper Funds, the Sterling Strauser Gallery, countless donations of tickets and program book ads to school groups and golf tournaments and, this year, to the Pennsylvania Special Olympics through its annual Charity Golf Tournament that has raised over $110,000 for organizations in our community in the last four years alone.

Green Lodging Partnership – Green Award

The Pocono Mountains Green Award is awarded to the Green Lodging Partnership through the Delaware Highland Conservancy. With every reservation, guests at participating hotels contribute directly to the Delaware Highlands Conservancy. These hotels and their guests directly support protecting the healthy and beautiful lands, clean waters, and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities of our region. Participating properties include Hotel Fauchere, Harrington House B&B, James Manning House B&B, Ledges Hotel, Roebling Inn on the Delaware, Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, The Lodge at Woodloch, The Settlers Inn and Woodloch Pines Resort.

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions – Brand Champion Award

Kalahari Resorts has received the Brand Champion Award for their overall success with the Pocono Mountains Brand Enculturation Program. As a new resort to the Pocono Mountains, they have incorporated the Pocono Mountains Brand Values through their own employee training programs. Kalahari University and their Experience Center teams have adopted the Pocono Mountains Brand Enculturation Program to better help employees understand the region and better serve their guests.

This awards program is presented by the PMVB to recognize those in the local tourism industry who do more than expected to provide an exceptional experience for guests, fellow employees and the community. For more information on the PMVB and its programs, visit PoconoMountains.com.

About the Pocono Mountains
With 2,400 square miles encompassing Pennsylvania’s Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties, the Pocono Mountains region is home to rolling mountain terrain, breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls, thriving woodlands and 170 miles of winding rivers. Winters offer guests the opportunity to ski, snowboard, snow tube and even snowshoe their way through snowy wonderlands encompassing over 163 ski trails, while summers also cater to the active traveller allowing exploration of 261miles of hiking and biking trails, over 30 golf courses, whitewater rafting, boating, fishing and open access to nine state and two national parks.

Pocono Mountains visitor information is available online at PoconoMountains.com or by phone at 800-POCONOS (800-762-6667). Follow @PoconoTourismPR on Twitter to stay current with up-to-date information. Established in 1934, the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau is a private, non-profit, membership organization. The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the four counties of Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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