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Olympic Wrestling Trials leaders Steenlage, Getz honored by Visitors Bureau in Iowa City community


IOWA CITY, Iowa – Les Steenlage and Matt Getz, the two UI Athletics Department staff members responsible for managing the University of Iowa’s participation in the 2012 USA Olympic Wrestling Team Trials staged last April in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, have been named Hospitality Persons of the Year by the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Steenlage, who is in his 36th year as a staff member at the UI, is an assistant athletics director in the UI Athletics Department’s event management unit. He also is the executive director of the National Varsity Club. Getz is in his first year as an assistant director of event management and varsity club after having served for several years in a variety of roles in the UI Athletics Department and the UI Foundation.

Each year the CVB presents the Hospitality Person of the Year award to an outstanding community ambassador within the Iowa City/Coralville area. The individual is selected by the CVB staff as a person who exemplifies great commitment and enthusiasm while promoting our community and welcoming visitors. This is the 21st year the CVB has given out the award and marks only the second time it has honored co-recipients.

“These two men embody what this award is all about. Nothing short of excellence is acceptable to them and they achieve that excellence through tremendous leadership and collaboration,” said Josh Schamberger, president of the CVB and a member of the Trials’ local organizing committee.

“From the moment we were awarded the bid, Les and Matt’s work ethic and passion was unrelenting, and they still had to do their regular day jobs. Never once did their commitment to excellence waiver,” Schamberger added.

“Everyone stepped up and put in the extra time, hours and effort,” Steenlage said. “From the people in the ticket office, facilities and IT to the event management graduate assistants and interns. Everyone did a fantastic job.”

“We’re so grateful for this award and it’s really humbling,” Getz added. “We really can’t thank our partners enough for the work they do every day.”

The Trials were an unqualified and unprecedented success. The event achieved record attendance, operated at a profit, and provided the participants the opportunity to compete for the opportunity to represent the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in an environment that was arguably the best in the event’s history.

"I heard the crowd. I have wrestled in here before. I know these fans and they know me. You have to get amped up for it. You don't see this. You may see it in Iran or Russia, but not in the United States. It is awesome,” said Jared Frayer, the men’s freestyle champion at 66 kilograms.

"I love it. Iowa did an awesome job hosting this. I don't know how many people we (Oklahoma State) had in 2008, but last time we had something like this was at NCAA's. I like the crowd. I like all the people watching,” offered Coleman Scott, men’s freestyle champion at 60 kilograms.

According to CVB research conducted during the Trials, the projected economic impact of the Trials was $5.6 million, the average visitor expenditures per party were $707 and the average per person was $201. The research also revealed that more than 80 percent of the 14,213 fans were from outside of Johnson County.


Hospitality Person of the Year
1993 -- Judy Smith, Blue Top Motel
1994 -- Katie Schaub, Highlander Inn Restaurant
1995 -- Lean DeBoer, Arby’s, Old Capitol Mall
1996 -- Linda Leistad, Blue Top Motel
1997 -- Donna Jondle, Country Kitchen
1998 -- Bernie Westfall, Radisson Highlander Plaza
1999 -- Ravena Howard, Great Midwestern Ice Cream Co.
2000 -- Laura McLeran, Iowa Memorial Union
2001 -- Amanda Hart, Radisson Highlander Plaza
2002 -- Sarah Duncan, Fresh Food Concepts
2003 -- Julie Brown, Heartland Inn
2004 -- Rick Klatt, UI Athletics Department and Layli Springer, Iowa City Press Citizen
2005 -- Special Needs Class, City High School
2006 -- Bob Goodfellow, Goodfellow Printing
2007 -- Matt Traetow, Sheraton Iowa City & Hotel Vetro
2008 -- Tom Cilek, West Bank
2009 -- Joe Jennison, Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance
2010 -- Patti Fields, United Way of Johnson County
2011 -- Mike Quinlan, Department of Corrections
2012 -- Les Steenlage and Matt Getz, UI Athletics Department

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