Atlanta (Nov. 10, 2014) Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) gathered with Atlanta’s hospitality leaders Thursday evening at the new College Football Hall of Fame on the GWCCA campus, for the 16th Annual Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame. The reception honored individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the growth and well-being of Atlanta’s hospitality industry.
This year’s inductees included Ken Jefferson, event services manager, Georgia Dome; the late James Charles Barto, who served as senior sales manager at Hilton Atlanta Downtown; JW Marriott Jr., executive chairman and chairman of the board, Marriott International, Inc. and Alexis Scott, vice president of member relations, Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Sporting events legend
Ken Jefferson has a nearly 30 year career in the convention, sports, and entertainment industries. He has held his current post as event services manager at the Georgia Dome for more than 20 years. During his tenure, Jefferson has successfully coordinated and managed two Super Bowls, the 2006 Nokia Sugar Bowl, the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, USA Track & Field Indoor Championships, two ACC Men’s basketball tournaments, multiple Chick-fil-A Kick-Off and Bowl Games, multiple FCC basketball and football tournaments, three NCAA Final Four tournaments, and 20 seasons of Atlanta Falcons football. Jefferson has worked as a consultant for the last 12 Super Bowl games and was also a member of the NCAA’s Facility Coordination Group for three years. Prior to his work at the Georgia Dome, Jefferson served as the senior event coordinator at the Georgia World Congress Center. Jefferson is a member of the International Association of Venue Management. He is a Georgia native and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Morris Brown College.
James (Jim) Charles Barto
Stalwart sales leader
Jim Barto served as senior sales manager at the Hilton Atlanta Downtown for nearly 25 years and dedicated his entire career to the Hilton Worldwide brand. Barto joined the Pittsburgh Hilton’s sales department immediately after graduating Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. After several years of sales success, Barto was promoted to the director of sales for the Hilton of Philadelphia, a position he also held at the Meadowlands Hilton in Secaucus, New Jersey, Mclean Hilton at Tysons Corner in suburban Washington, D.C., and Washington Hilton, the second-largest hotel in D.C. Within a few years, Barto assumed the role of Director of Sales for the Hilton Atlanta. However, his passion for sales and client relationships moved Barto away from a managerial role and into an account management position. His dedication to his job, coworkers, and clients earned Barto a place in Hilton Worldwide’s Circle of Excellence for being among the company’s top ten percent producers in sales. Barto passed away in March 2014 after a battle with cancer. More than 200 attendees, including family, colleagues, friends and customers honored Barto at the memorial service. Hilton Atlanta Downtown has named the hotel’s 41,000-square-foot exhibit hall in honor of Barto’s contributions to Hilton Atlanta Downtown.
JW (Bill) Marriott Jr.
Lodging and hospitality innovator
JW Marriott Jr. currently serves as the executive chairman and chairman of the board of Marriott International, Inc. Marriott served as CEO for 40 years prior to stepping down in 2012. His leadership spans nearly 60 years, taking Marriott from a family-owned restaurant business to a global lodging leader with more than 4,000 properties in 77 countries, including 38 Atlanta-based properties. After managing Marriott’s first hotel in 1956, JW Marriott Jr. became CEO in 1972 and chairman of the board in 1985. Marriott succeeded in compiling an extensive portfolio of lodging brands. The Courtyard by Marriott brand debuted in Atlanta in 1983 and in 1985, the Atlanta Marriott Marquis was constructed, designed by Atlanta architect John C. Portman, Jr. At its completion, the Atlanta Marriott Marquis boasted the largest atrium in the world – a property that set the stage for Atlanta’s convention industry. JW Marriott Jr. serves on the board of The J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation and is a member of the Executive Committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Marriott earned a B.S. degree in banking and finance from the University of Utah and served as an officer in the United States Navy.
Atlanta media icon
Alexis Scott has more than 40 years of media and community outreach experience. Previously, Scott was the publisher of Atlanta Daily World, the nation’s first black-owned daily newspaper of the 20th century – established by Scott’s grandfather in 1928. Alexis Scott worked at the Atlanta Daily World following a post at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution where she served as reporter and vice president of community affairs, as well as director of diversity for Cox Enterprises, Inc. Scott is involved in several not-for-profit organizations and advisory boards, including Atlanta Workforce Development, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, High Museum of Art, Central Atlanta Progress and Atlanta Women’s Foundation among others. Alexis Scott has received numerous awards, including the Trailblazer award in honor of Coretta Scott King from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and induction into Atlanta Press Club’s Hall of Fame. Scott is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, attended Barnard College in New York City and Spelman College in Atlanta.