Winners will be Honored at Sixth Annual Awards Event at Bridgewater Marriott on January 18; Urban Planning and Placemaking Expert, Steven Pedigo Will Speak

BRIDGEWATER, NJ, December 19, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — Somerset County Tourism has announced the winners of the 6th Annual Somerset County Salute to Tourism Awards Program, which honors employees and organizations throughout Somerset County, N.J. in four categories: Service Excellence, Economic Champion, Tourism Champion and new this year, Outstanding Event. The program pays tribute to front line tourism staff and organizations that set the bar for Somerset County’s $1.2 billion tourism industry.

The Salute to Tourism Awards program will be held on Friday, January 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Bridgewater Marriott, 700 Commons Way in Bridgewater, N.J. It will include the awards presentation, networking reception, and luncheon with featured speaker Steven Pedigo, an expert in economic and urban development, city strategy and management, and placemaking. Pedigo will speak on “Place Matters. Leveraging Somerset’s Community Brand and Identity.”

The 2019 Salute to Tourism winners
• Service Excellence – Gina DiFrancesco, Rooms Controller, Bridgewater Marriott. For going above and beyond to help successfully relocate a new Rutgers University football coach and his family from Ohio to Bridgewater.
• Economic Champion – The Center for Contemporary Art. For its impact on Somerset County in the areas of employment, financial contributions, and community events and programs.
• Tourism Champion – Tour of Somerville. For championing Somerset County’s cycling heritage, drawing over 25,000 spectators and 1,000 cyclists to thriving Downtown Somerville in its 75th year, and expanding event offerings to appeal to the entire community.
• Outstanding Event – Somerset County’s Weekend Journey Through the Past. (An initiative of the Somerset County Freeholders and Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission) For bringing the educational, economic and preservation benefits of heritage tourism to residents and visitors for over 10 years.

Registration and details about Salute to Tourism are at

About Somerset County Tourism
Somerset County Tourism, a 501(c)3 organization, is the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Somerset County, N.J. and a Division of the Somerset County Business Partnership. Its mission is to advance the local economy by sustainably promoting the area’s outstanding travel products and experiences, and to offer a variety of useful services to residents, business travelers and leisure visitors. Somerset County Tourism is an active member of New Jersey Destination Marketing Organizations and the New Jersey Tourism industry Association. For more information visit or call 908-218-4300, ext. 28.

About Steven Pedigo
Steven Pedigo is an expert in economic and urban development, city strategy and management, and placemaking. He has advised and collaborated with more than 50 cities, universities, developers, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies across the globe to build more creative, innovative, and inclusive communities. Pedigo is the director of the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate Urban Lab and a clinical assistant professor of economic development at NYU. He is also the director of research and advising for the Creative Class Group, an associate partner at Resonance Consultancy (Vancouver/NYC) and a senior advisor for Leland Consulting (Portland). His full bio is at

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