Patty Janes, left, an associate professor at GVSU, accepts a $5,000 check as the winner of the Pure Michigan Jump Start competition. Courtesy GVSU
An associate professor of hospitality and tourism management at Grand Valley State University walked off with the top prize at the first Pure Michigan Jump Start competition.
Patty Janes topped four other finalists and won for her idea on how to build tourism across the state.
She called her concept Michigan Cares for Tourism, and said she modeled it after a national program known as Tourism Cares.
The core of Janes’ plan brings volunteers and the tourism community together to help clean up and restore important historic sites.
“The idea is to bring people together to restore Michigan tourism treasures,” said Janes, who said that it was an honor to be selected as the first Pure Michigan Jump Start recipient.
“I leave this conference having learned a great deal, having rekindled friendships with colleagues, with new ideas and being inspired,” she added.
Janes won $5,000 when a panel of judges picked her idea over four others on Tuesday at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which was held at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center. The competition’s promoters incorrectly identified Paul Stansbie, who chairs the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department at GVSU, as entering the concept.
Janes said her first effort will be to restore the Historic Mill Lake in the 20,000-acre Waterloo Recreation Area in Chelsea next October.
West Michigan finalists
Janes was one of two contestants from Grand Rapids that reached the final five.
Jarl Brey, who is hoping to build a zipline and rope climb along a downtown stretch of the Grand River with his partner Jane Timmer, was the other finalist from the city. Brey and Timmer are talking with city officials and those at the Grand Rapids Public Museum to make the $2-million project a reality.
Two other Jump Start finalists were from West Michigan: Mara Mackey lives in Kalamazoo, and Ginger Hentz calls Hastings her home. The fifth finalist, Tim Bannister, hails from Royal Oak.
In other honors given at the conference, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel was named the 2013 Operations Star of the Year in the Stars of the Industry awards sponsored by the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association.
Cutter has been at the Amway for more than a decade and is known for mentoring other managers and supervisors. Cutter also has won a WAVE award from the lodging industry.
The Amway and the JW Marriott were awarded the prestigious four-diamond rating from AAA Michigan. The award was the 28th for the Amway and the sixth for the Marriott.
The Amway’s Cygnus 27 restaurant also earned its ninth four-diamond rating at the annual conference.