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Rick Taylor Wins Leadership Award at 12-State Tourism Conference

Hattiesburg’s Rick Taylor was among the top professionals recognized for outstanding work in tourism last week, receiving the Beacon Leadership award in a 12-state region of the southeastern United States. Taylor accepted the award from the Southeast Tourism Society during its annual Shining Example Awards program, held in Birmingham, Ala. this fall. 


According to Southeast Tourism Society’s award criteria, the Shining Example Awards salute performance, productivity and professional achievement in more than a dozen categories of tourism activity. Specifically, the Beacon Award recognizes an individual who best exemplifies outstanding leadership in the pursuit of excellence and who has advanced the tourism industry. The recipient of this annual award will also have dedicated many years to tourism. Judges for the award considered accomplishments, innovation, performance, empowerment of others, integrity and respect.


“I am honored to receive this regional recogition for Hattiesburg. Tourism is the front door of our community, and I am passionate about doing my part to grow this sector of our economy.  While we have worked diligently to create places and experiences for visitors to enjoy, we are also the beneficiaries of enjoying them ourselves as residents.  I am grateful to my peers for recognizing me for our work, and I look forward to continued success in our community,” said Taylor. 


As executive director, Taylor leads the growth and operations of six Hattiesburg tourism facilities.  Under his leadership, the tourism sector in Hattiesburg has experienced continued growth in the last twenty years.  Taylor oversees the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center, the Hattiesburg Zoo, African-American Military History Museum, Historic Saenger Theater, Visitors Center, and the Eureka School.


In addition to Taylor’s work at the local level, he has also served in various leadership roles at the state level.  Mississippi Tourism Association Executive Director Rochelle Hicks worked with Taylor while he has served as an MTA executive board member. 


“I have worked with Rick in his role as the President of Mississippi Tourism Association and as an Executive Board Member for several years.  His dedication to the tourism industry and knowledge of Mississippi are unparalleled. It is truly an honor to serve alongside him promoting our great state,” said Hicks.

STS focuses on the continued growth and development of tourism in the southeastern U.S. Their forums and professional events share insight and ideas with members to advance the regional tourism economy. 


"Tourism work in the Southeast is excellent, and STS Shining Example Awards are great recognition,” said STS President and CEO Bill Hardman.