Visit Baltimore Honors Community Stakeholders for Achievements in 2016

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 10:30am

(Baltimore, MD) – Visit Baltimore is pleased to announce the winners of its annual tourism awards, which were presented during the organization’s annual town hall meeting held February 16 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The William Donald Schaefer Baltimore Tourism Visionary Award was presented to Calvin G. Butler Jr., CEO of BGE, Maryland’s largest natural gas and electric provider, and Jamie McDonald, founder of Generosity Inc., an advisory firm dedicated to counseling business and social innovation leaders around large-scale social impact. Butler and McDonald jointly chaired the inaugural year of Light City Baltimore, shining an internationally recognized light on Baltimore as an innovative meetings and leisure destination and as a center for social innovation in the United States.

“I appreciate the entire Visit Baltimore team for their recognition,” said Butler. “I feel honored to accept this award with Jamie McDonald as we continue to champion our city by shining a light for the entire world to see what Baltimore has to offer.” Butler and McDonald join an esteemed group of leaders whose commitment to growing Baltimore has made a significant impact. “It is a true honor to receive this award from Visit Baltimore alongside my friend Calvin Butler, and on behalf of the hundreds of artists, innovators, companies and community members who made Light City the amazing festival it was,” said McDonald. “Our collaboration made Light City a festival by and for Baltimore, and I’m proud to have been part of such a groundbreaking event.”

The Customer of the Year was awarded to ConferenceDirect, a global full-service meeting solutions company that has booked 155 meetings in Baltimore, totaling more than 115,000 room nights and $28.8 million in economic impact over recent years. “ConferenceDirect’s industry presence and success is a testament to the quality of our associates and the customers they represent,” said Brian D. Stevens, ConferenceDirect’s CEO. “Baltimore continues to be a leading destination for our key customer base.”

A Special Partnership Award was presented to John Racanelli, president and CEO of the National Aquarium, for his leadership in the organization’s steadfast support of Visit Baltimore’s tourism efforts. The National Aquarium enabled Visit Baltimore to promote Light City Baltimore on the television stage by providing messaging space in its regional media buys. The generosity brought Light City messaging to life visually and played a large part in the festival’s tremendous inaugural success. Continuing its support into the summer, the National Aquarium provided additional ad time for a Baltimore destination message with voiceover from Mike Rowe, one of Visit Baltimore’s MyBMore campaign personalities, which was disseminated to the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Central Pennsylvania markets.

The Baltimore Salesperson of the Year Award was presented to Amanda Roman, director of national accounts at Hilton Baltimore, for not only exceeding her annual sales goals over the past four years, but for her leadership role at Hilton Baltimore and in the community. Roman is a member of Visit Baltimore’s Multicultural Advisory Committee and chairs the Convention Recruitment Sub-Committee. A collaborative and positive mentor, she has elevated the standard for service and sales in Baltimore.  

The Charlyene E. Grimes Customer Service Award was given to Faneca Porter of Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore for her exceptional customer service over the past seven years. Porter embodies Baltimore’s warm hospitality spirit, which shines through in her work servicing the Inner Harbor and Harbor East neighborhoods. Her unwavering commitment to supporting Baltimore extends into the community’s roots as she dedicates time to helping the homeless and mentoring Waterfront Partnership’s youth workers.


Visit Baltimore is the official sales and marketing organization for Baltimore that generates economic benefits for stakeholders through the attraction of convention, group and leisure visitors. For more information, please visit

Julia Watkins
[email protected]