Discover Austin director earns top tourism award

Published 8:07 am Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nancy Schnable, executive director of Discover Austin, the community’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, has been awarded the 2017 President’s Award by the Southern Minnesota Tourism Association.

The award was presented to Schnable, who serves as treasurer of the group, at the annual meeting of the organization Sept. 13 and 14 in Wabasha. The association represents 36 counties in southern Minnesota.

‘It was totally unexpected, but pretty exciting,” said Schnable.

Nancy Schnable, executive director of Discover Austin

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The award is given annually by the president of the association whose goal is to draw tourism regionally. Stephanie Busiahn of Fairmont said she had no doubt who her selection would be.

“Nancy is one who truly does go above and beyond,” Busiahn said. “She is awesome at promoting Austin — but she also can see the big picture. She’s phenomenal at understanding that what benefits the region can benefit Austin, too — if people are drawn to southern Minnesota, there is a good likelihood that they’re going to come to Austin, too.”

Busiahn added Schnable took on a larger burden as treasurer than what the organization first anticipated. Some housekeeping issues needed to be taken care of that made the position more work-intensive.

“But Nancy never missed a beat,” Busiahn said.

Busiahn said Schnable will continue in the position in 2018, “and we are very happy about that.”

Schnable, who lives in Hayfield, has served as executive director since 2013.

Schnable holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications from the University of Wisconsin — River Falls. Before coming to Austin, she worked for Door Off Broadway Dinner Theatre in Door County, Wis., a popular tourist spot.