Jerry Caldwell, president & general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, was named the winner of the 2023 Tennessee Tourism Leader of the Year Award and he was joined by several other winners from the Tri-Cities region during the Stars of the Industry Awards presented by Hospitality Tennessee in Knoxville.

Caldwell’s award “Tennessee Tourism Leader of the Year” is the pinnacle of recognition in Tennessee hospitality and tourism. Winners of these prestigious awards have dedicated their careers to the success of the field and have made fundamental contributions to the hospitality and tourism industry in Tennessee. Each year’s nominees and winners are hand-selected by a distinguished panel of previous winners and are chosen for their shining character, demonstrated work ethic, leadership ability, and inspiring vision.

Caldwell’s career at Bristol Motor Speedway epitomizes the quintessential American dream. Only 27 years ago, he started working for the racetrack as an intern while a business student at King University in Bristol, Tennessee. He now serves as President & General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway.

Since assuming the day-to-day oversight and management in 2010, Bristol Motor Speedway & Dragway has become a multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue, one that made national headlines for its magical transformation into a premier NCAA college football stadium, world class dirt racing facility and country music arena.

The appeal of Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway’s rich history and traditions hosts guests from all 50 states and more than 25 countries annually.

Hospitality Tennessee, the statewide association representing the interest of the state’s lodging, dining, and tourism industries, honored its 2023 industry all stars at the annual “Stars of the Industry awards held Sept. 14 at the Knoxville Convention Center.

The awards ceremony was a part of the Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Knoxville held Sept. 13-15.

The full roster of Stars of the Industry Awards includes:

Tennessee Tourism Leader of the Year Award:  Jerry Caldwell, Bristol Motor Speedway & Dragway

Rising Star Award: Alec Castro, Visit Johnson City

Employee Community Service Award: Jennifer Wilder, Greene County Partnership

Lodging Employee of the Year Small Property: John Dahlhauser, Carnegie Hotel, Johnson City

Lodging General Manager of the Year Small Property: Brandy Crawford, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Johnson City

DMO of the Year Small Organization: Alicia Phelps, Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association

2023 Hotelier of the Year: Andrea Anderson, Hampton Inn East Ridge

2023 Restaurant of Year: Kirby Smith, KBS Restaurant Group

“The Stars of the Industry Awards are presented to individuals, companies, and industry partners whose commitment to hospitality and tourism has improved the overall industry statewide and has allowed the industry to “wow” guests daily. This year’s winners epitomize the true spirits of hospitality that makes Tennessee a great place to live and visit,” said Sara Beth Urban, president & CEO of Hospitality Tennessee.

“Hospitality and tourism make up the state’s second largest industry. The individuals and companies we honor with these awards are the driving force behind that success. They provide a top-notch guest service that keeps people coming back to Tennessee. The winners were selected to receive these honors by people who truly understand the level of commitment that is required to provide excellent service to customers on a daily basis – their peers.  We are honored to have them as part of our membership, and we congratulate them on a job well done!,” added Urban.