VisitLEX announces 2017 hospitality award winners

Anthony Kernan
Anthony Kernan Photo provided

▪ Mary H. Hemlepp, public relations and crisis communication manager for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Thoroughbred Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. A public relations practitioner for 27 years, Hemlepp was honored for her scope of work in public relations, marketing and crisis communications for a variety of organizations. Her resume also includes local, state and national presentations on spokesperson training, customer service, crisis communications and personal branding. She has written for a number of publications, published a book and mentored many young professionals and students.

▪ Commerce Lexington members can apply for an Executive MBA scholarship in the amount of $10,000 to help defray the cost of the program beginning in August 2017. The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville offer the Executive MBA, a program that gives participants hands-on skills and real-world knowledge, while supporting personal and career growth, as well as leadership development.

The goal is to provide an opportunity for a C-level executive or advancing corporate leader to demonstrate their desire to improve the economic environment of Central Kentucky, while furthering their own personal development.

To qualify for the scholarship, those within the Commerce Lexington membership must complete an application that includes an essay outlining how their participation in the program would benefit both themselves and Central Kentucky. Scholarship applications are available online at, with a submission deadline of May 31. Additionally, the scholarship candidate must meet all the admission criteria for the UK-UofL Executive MBA program detailed at

▪ St. Joseph Hospital recently presented awards to the following volunteers:

Anthony Kernan, Don Stanko, Georgia Zeigler and David Williams have received the Rising Star Award, given to new volunteers who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment.

Joyce Fister Daley and Nancy Boorman have received the Above and Beyond Award, given to an outstanding volunteer from Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East, who have served from 200 to 2,000 hours of service.

Liz Young has received the Golden Sneaker Award, which is given to one outstanding volunteer who has more than 2,000 hours and five years of service.

▪ James W. Gardner of Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney has been selected for the 2017 Leadership Kentucky Class. Gardner is an energy and utilities attorney who spent eight years on the Kentucky Public Service Commission, serving as chairman from 2015-2016 and vice chairman from 2008-2015. The first session of the 2017 Leadership Kentucky Class is scheduled for June.

▪ Four projects in Kentucky have earned financial support from the 2017 American Water Environmental Grant Program. Projects coordinated by the City of Winchester ($1,000), Friends of Parks in Fayette County ($5,000), the Licking River Watershed Watch ($5,700), and The Nature Conservancy ($2,000) will receive a share of grant funds totaling $13,700.

Since the grant program’s inception in 2006, Kentucky American Water has awarded more than $187,000 in grant funds to area organizations making a difference to protect and preserve Kentucky watersheds and highlight the importance of water in our lives.

▪ NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas of Kentucky, has been named by Forbes magazine as one of America’s Best Large Employers for the second consecutive year. NiSource is the highest-rated utility company on this year’s list, and ranked No. 61 out of 500 companies listed.

▪ Thrivent Financial representative Brittany Lawson has earned the designation of Retirement Income Certified Professional from The American College of Financial Services.

▪ The Lexington Herald-Leader has been recognized with the Ad Council’s Crystal Bell Award for its generosity, leadership and commitment to driving change around social issues impacting the Central and Eastern Kentucky area. Through a partnership with the Ad Council that began in 2015, the Lexington Herald-Leader has provided visibility for three Ad Council campaigns including Foreclosure Prevention Assistance, Pathways to Employment – Grads of Life, and Goodwill.

Compiled by Dorothea Wingo