National Comedy Center’s Dallas Thurn Honored with New York State Tourism Award for “Excellence in Young Professional Leadership”

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Dallas Thurn

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National Comedy Center

Dallas Thurn, Manager of Operations and Technology at the National Comedy Center, the nation’s official cultural institution dedicated to the art of comedy, was honored today with a Tourism Excellence Award by the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) for “Excellence in Young Professional Leadership” as part of NYSTIA’s virtual award presentation.

The 2021 NYSTIA Tourism Excellence Awards honors New York State tourism professionals’ extraordinary work in an extraordinary year. The award for Young Professional Leadership recognizes the brightest rising star in New York State Tourism and only one honoree is selected state-wide. Thurn was selected because of his outstanding abilities, his strong commitment to increasing his expertise in the travel and tourism industry and his significant achievements in 2020, which have demonstrated a capacity to become a future leader in the tourism industry.

Thurn was recognized for his leadership in the reopening of the National Comedy Center in 2020 after its 16-week closure due to COVID — including the development and implementation of the National Comedy Center’s state-of-the-art COVID health and safety program – “LaughSafe” which was recently called “an absolutely superlative approach to keeping people safe” by the Chief Epidemiologist at UPMC, Dr. Graham Snyder. Thurn’s responsibilities include managing museum operations and supervising front line staff and training for both the National Comedy Center and Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum. He oversees all information technology for the organization, including the ticketing system and customer relationship management platform.

A Chautauqua County, New York native originally from Little Valley, NY, Thurn graduated from Jamestown Business College and began his tourism career as an intern at the National Comedy Center’s Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum in 2013. Thurn was instrumental to the opening of the National Comedy Center in 2018.

“We congratulate Dallas Thurn on this well-deserved honor from NYSTIA,” stated National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson. “There isn’t an area of our organization or an initiative that doesn’t have Dallas’ imprint on it. He inspires our team with his passion, his drive, his focus on the visitor experience and his pursuit of excellence in everything he does. His contributions have been wide-ranging and vital to the ongoing growth of our cultural institution. The National Comedy Center would not be where it is today without him.”

The New York State Tourism Excellence Awards are juried by an impartial panel of industry experts under the auspices of the New York State Tourism Industry Association. Nominations were up 250% vs 2019 and the judges were challenged by both the volume and the caliber of the entries.

“Working collaboratively in New York State’s tourism community enables you to network with some of the best minds, most experienced individuals and trendsetting thought leaders in the global tourism industry.” states Bob Provost, President of the New York State Tourism Industry Association. “The individuals, campaigns, initiatives and projects being honored are world-class. I am humbled by their achievements and service to their communities in 2020.”