Visit Raleigh president and CEO Dennis Edwards recently received the Executive Excellence Award at the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) annual conference in Kansas City, Mo., Jan. 21-23. He was given the prestigious award for his commitment and dedication to the industry, as well as his key support and leadership to members of Visit Raleigh's Destination Services team.

Julie Brakenbury, who is ESPA’s outgoing president and retired director of services at Visit Raleigh, nominated Denny for the industry award.

“Denny came up through the destination management organization (DMO) world from the sales side,” Julie said. “I believe that helped him to understand how important it was and is to not only to book business but also to service it well. This led him to support a DMO culture where services mattered. At Visit Raleigh, Destination Services has a role on the senior leadership team and is active in building the goals, business plan and budget. He is focused and hardworking—but balanced. No matter how busy he is, he always has time to consider a point or respond to a question or assist where needed. He is equally at ease on a podium, in a city council meeting, lobbying in D.C., working a doesn't matter, he is able to take it all in stride and instills great confidence as a result.”

Dennis Edwards & Julie Brakenbury ESPA 2022 Awards

Pictured: Denny and Julie

After working for almost 14 years with him at Visit Raleigh, Julie said Denny is a real advocate for continuous education and career development: “He encouraged me to not just join ESPA but be active. Denny was and is a true believer in the value of ESPA membership.”

ESPA is one of the many industry organizations that Visit Raleigh staff is a part of. Denny is also a member of the N.C. Travel and Tourism Coalition, Destinations International, Dorothea Dix Conservancy Board and more. See other industry leadership positions held by Visit Raleigh staff here!