Denver, Co. (January 4, 2016) - Denver's second largest industry will honor some of its top leaders at the 17th Annual Tourism Industry Hall of Fame dinner on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at the Colorado Convention Center.
Being inducted into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame are: legendary Denver performer and nightclub owner, Lannie Garrett; rock concert promoter Chuck Morris; and former state tourism director Al White. A special posthumous award will be presented in honor of the founder of the Colorado Rockies, Jerry McMorris.
The Tourism Hall of Fame serves as the highest award for Denver's travel industry - which registered its best year ever in 2014 with 15.4 million overnight visitors, generating more than $4.6 billion in spending. The industry supports more than 50,000 jobs in the metro area.
The gala is a fund-raising event for the VISIT DENVER Foundation, which has awarded more than $655,000 in scholarships to 287 Colorado students pursuing higher education in the fields of tourism and hospitality.
Lannie Garrett, Performer
Lannie Garrett is a Denver institution with that rare combination of popular and critical appeal. In addition to being named Denver's "Favorite Female Vocalist" repeatedly by her fans, she has garnered that same title with the readers of 5280 Magazine and Outfront.
Lannie has headlined at Boettcher Concert Hall and Red Rocks Amphitheater with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, acted in a campy, "B" movie opposite movie star, Anthony Perkins and has worked with a diverse group of national entertainers, including BB King, Ray Charles and Roseanne. Her music is played on stations across the country.
Her eclectic collection of shows run the gamut from classy and jazzy to naughty and bawdy. She can change her onstage feathers easily becoming the glamorous chanteuse fronting her 10 piece big band, "Any Swing Goes," or becoming the self-deprecating clown in her hilarious country comedy spoof, "The Patsy DeCline Show." She has been selling out shows for over 3 decades.
In 2006, Lannie and actor, Jefferson Arca, teamed up to open a nightclub bearing her name. This gorgeous, intimate showroom, Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, is located in the heart of downtown Denver, under the D&F Tower, and features her many shows, as well as national acts and the best in Colorado entertainment. For a decade, it has been a popular downtown venue for tourists and locals alike.
For being a longtime fixture in Denver's entertainment scene and for adding to Denver's downtown nightlife for a decade, Lannie Garrett is inducted into the Tourism Hall of Fame.
Chuck Morris - AEG Live
Chuck has been a driving force in the Colorado music community for over 45 years. After moving to Boulder from New York City in 1965 to pursue a doctorate in Political Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Chuck built the legendary Tulagi nightclub in Boulder (1970-1973), which included first tours by artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, ZZ Top, and many others. Following Tulagi's, he co-owned and managed the equally famous Ebbets Field nightclub in Denver (1974-1978) which also brought in early tours from such varied acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steve Martin, Dan Fogelberg, Carole King, Richard Pryor and more. Ebbets Field was Billboard Magazine's "Club of the Year" in 1975 and 1976.
After Ebbets Field, Chuck worked with the late Denver music promoter Barry Fey (another Tourism Hall of Fame winner in 2013) as Sr. Vice President of Feyline Presents. After leaving Feyline Presents, Chuck started his own management company, Chuck Morris Entertainment, managing the careers of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Lyle Lovett, Highway 101 and Leo Kottke among others. Chuck later went on to form Bill Graham Presents/Chuck Morris Presents which subsequently continued to run as Live Nation. Chuck then moved on in 2006 to be President and CEO of AEG Live Rocky Mountains and the Northwest.
During these many decades, Chuck was responsible for building the Fillmore Auditorium, developing the 1STBANK Center, putting together the Mile High Music Festival and the re-development and takeover of the Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre. He has also been involved in nearly 1500 shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre during his long career. He is a board member of the American Transplant Foundation, and a trustee of the University of Colorado Foundation. In the past, he has also been involved in events for Brian Griese's Judi's House, Kempe Foundation, Jeremy Bloom's Wish of a Life Foundation, Children's Hospital, Denver Dumb Friends League, Denver Police Gala, Medal of Honor Convention, Outward Bound, concert for Hurricane Katrina, and the Catholic Foundations. Also, in May 2013, Chuck was honored with a Doctorate of Sports/Entertainment/Event Management from Johnson and Wales University where he gave the commencement address.
For his work in the entertainment and concert business and for building Denver's national reputation as a center for live music, Chuck Morris is being inducted into the Tourism Hall of Fame.
Al White - Former Director, Colorado Tourism Office
Senator Al White is affectionately known in Colorado as the "Reverend of Tourism" because of his career-long promotion of Colorado tourism. While a State Representative and a State Senator, Al White championed tourism's economic strength as a valuable component of Colorado's economic well-being. As a member of the Joint Budget Committee, he worked diligently to protect the tourism office's budget. From 2011 to 2015, he directed the Colorado Tourism Office, helping to achieve a new record-breaking tourism year every year he served as director. Al White put together a team of professionals that raised the Colorado Tourism Office to new levels, while overseeing award-winning marketing and advertising campaigns that helped establish Colorado's tourism brand around the world. In 2014, 71.3 million visitors spent $18.6 billion in the state, an all-time high, supporting 155,000 jobs. These visitors contributed $1.1 billion in state and local taxes. Without tourism, the average household would have to pay $538 a year more in taxes. No figure in the 21st Century has been more associated with Colorado tourism than Al White, who retired from the Colorado Tourism Office in September 2015.
For his work in supporting tourism funding in Colorado and promoting Colorado's brand around the world, Al White is being inducted into the Tourism Hall of Fame.
Jerry McMorris - Colorado Rockies, National Western Stock Show (Posthumous Award)
Few people in Colorado's history have been so strongly associated with not one, but two huge tourism attractions, as was Jerry McMorris, who played pivotal roles with both the Colorado Rockies and the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo.
McMorris graduated from the University of Colorado, School of Business in 1962 and while still attending college started his first transportation company, which grew over 40 years into the $400 million trucking giant, NationsWay Transport, serving all of North America. In 1993, McMorris and the Colorado Rockies ownership group brought Major League Baseball to the Rocky Mountain Region for the first time. For 12 years, he served as Chairman, President & CEO of the team as it broke every attendance record in Major League Baseball (MLB) history, drawing the all-time-record 4,483,350 fans to Mile High Stadium during their inaugural season. He sold his interest in the Colorado Rockies in 2006. While in MLB, he served as a member of the Executive Council, Finance and Compensation Committee and Chaired MLB's Legislative Committee. From 1990 until his death in 2012, he was heavily involved with the National Western Stock Show, serving as a member of the executive committee, treasurer and vice chairman before becoming chair in 2006. In 2009, he was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
For his leadership in bringing the Colorado Rockies to Denver, his guidance over the team in its early years, and for his many contributions to the National Western Stock Show, Jerry McMorris is remembered as a member of the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame.