LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO -  Lagina Fitzpatrick, director of group sales for the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association (TCLA), received the illustrious Missouri Division of Tourism Ambassador Award on Wednesday, Oct. 5 during the 2016 Governor's Conference on Tourism held in Independence, Mo.

"I  feel so blessed to get to do what I love every day by representing the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks and the state of Missouri," Fitzpatrick says. " This award is a huge honor and it means so much to me to have my passion recognized at the state level. I'd like to express my gratitude and thank  the Missouri Division of Tourism and my Tri-County Lodging Association and Convention and Visitor Bureau family for their support."

Pictured,  left  to right: Dan Lennon, Director of Tourism; Lagina Fitzpatrick, Director of Group Sales for Tri-County Lodging Association;  Missouri State Representative Don Phillips.
The Missouri Division of Tourism 
Ambassador Award is presented annually to an individual who supports the state's tourism efforts in addition to their own local efforts.  Support may be in the form of cooperating with the Division of Tourism projects, providing publicity for the state's attractions, or any other efforts designed to help travelers enjoy Missouri's tourism experiences.

According to Jim Divincen, administrator for Tri-County Lodging Association, the honor is well deserved.  "The Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association and the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau are thrilled that Lagina was presented this award from the Missouri Division of Tourism," Divincen says.  "It's a real pleasure working with Lagina. The Tri-County Lodging Association Board of Directors knows what an outstanding job she is doing to bring more visitors to the Lake of the Ozarks. But, more than that, Lagina also has been very involved and proactive in promoting tourism in the state of Missouri and it's wonderful that she has been recognized by her peers on a state-wide basis for all that she does for Missouri tourism as a whole. We couldn't be more proud of her."

Fitzpatrick, who has worked in the hospitality industry at the Lake of the Ozarks for over 30 years, has served as the director of group sales for the Tri-County Lodging Association and the Convention and Visitor Bureau since 2010. During that time, she has been instrumental in building the Lake of the Ozarks brand and promoting the Lake area to large groups of travelers. Most recently, Fitzpatrick played an integral role in landing the 2018 and 2020 Canadian-American (Can-Am) Police-Fire Games for the Lake area. The Can-Am Police-Fire Games are an Olympic-style series of competitive events for fire fighters, law enforcement agents and emergency medical service members. To have one destination host back-to-back Can-Am Police-Fire Games is an unprecedented achievement in the organization's 39-year history. The games are expected to bring in 1,200 participants from across the US and Canada and have an economic impact of around $8 million for the area.

As a longstanding member of the Missouri Travel Council, Fitzpatrick has built a career around bolstering tourism not only at the Lake of the Ozarks but also on a statewide level. She has been a board member of the Missouri Travel Council for the last 10 years and served as the organization's president from 2013-2015. She was recognized with the Missouri Travel Council's Service Award in February 2016.

Fitzpatrick also is an active member of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals, where she has served on the board both on a national and local level and received the 2005 Sam Gilmer Supplier Award, the highest distinction bestowed by the organization. She also is an active member of Show-Me Missouri Sports and the Missouri Society of Association Executives.

Sue Westenhaver, chairman of the TCLA board of directors shares Divincen's enthusiasm for Fitzpatrick's achievement. "We are so pleased and fortunate to have Lagina leading the sales efforts to promote the Lake of the Ozarks. She has done a tremendous job over the years and we couldn't be happier for her. We applaud Lagina's successful efforts in advancing tourism at the Lake. "

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