Lake of the Woods Tourism’s Joe Henry Named Minnesota Tourism Professional of the Year


State of Minnesota

Media Contact(s):

Alyssa Hayes, Explore Minnesota
// C: 651-276-8738 // alyssa.hayes@state.mn.us

St. Paul, Minn. (March 2, 2022) – During the 2022 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, held at the Sheraton Minneapolis West Hotel this week, several individuals, organizations and tourism businesses were recognized at the annual Explore Minnesota Tourism Awards for their contributions to the state’s travel industry. Leadership award highlights include:

Joe Henry, executive director of Lake of the Woods Tourism, was named “Tourism Professional of the Year” for his work on behalf of the Minnesota tourism industry. In addition to serving on local industry boards and commissions, including the Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers, Henry has brought major global events to Minnesota and created key alliances with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canada and the province of Ontario. Henry is constantly working with media outlets, municipalities, economic development groups and other civic, public and private organizations to spotlight Minnesota tourism.

The “Emerging Leader” award was presented to Brady Laudon, assistant director at Visit Bemidji. Laudon’s work has been featured on TV, print, digital and social media. He developed a weekly fishing report podcast, luring nearly 15,000 weekly viewers, and recently earned his commercial drone pilot license to showcase the beautiful Bemidji area.

The “Customer Service” award was presented to Dean Beattie. As the face of Bemidji’s Tourist Information Center for 10 years, Beattie works hard to ensure every guest feels welcome and appreciated. Beattie’s love for and dedication to the community resulted in a record number of referrals to businesses from the Tourist Information Center.

Additional awards were presented in the following categories:

  • Tourism Recovery Award: First Avenue, Minneapolis, for its leadership and involvement in #SaveOurStages 
  • #OnlyinMN Award: Riverbend Skate Path, stretching 5.2 miles, Warroad in 2021 became home to the longest ice-skating trail in the U.S.
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year: Visit Roseville for its Roseville in Bloom Campaign.
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year: Odyssey Resorts, Lake Superior, for its digital advertising series, including Road Trip It.

For more details about the Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference and award recipients, including remarks and session recordings, visit exploreminnesota.com/conference.


About Explore Minnesota

As the state’s tourism promotion office, Explore Minnesota works to inspire consumers and facilitate travel to and within Minnesota while pursuing an entrepreneurial approach and leveraging the state’s tourism investment with increased involvement by the private sector. A council of tourism industry representatives connects Explore Minnesota with tourism businesses and organizations throughout the state. Tourism is a key sector of the state’s economy, historically generating $1.0 billion in state sales tax on $16.6 billion in leisure and hospitality sales and employing nearly 275,000 workers in Minnesota’s leisure and hospitality businesses.


Visit exploreminnesota.com, and share your sights with @exploreminn on Twitter, or @exploreminnesota on Instagram and Facebook, using #OnlyinMN.

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