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Tops in Tourism: GCVB director recognized by state
October 30, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Karla Niedan-Streeks was presented with the Crystal Compass Award by her peers with the Nebraska Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

It’s always special to be recognized by your peers, those who also work in your industry and know what it takes to succeed. And that happened last week for Karla Niedan-Streeks, Director of the Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau.

At its annual conference in North Platte, some 200 members of the Nebraska Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus presented Niedan-Streeks with its Crystal Compass Award. The award recognized those in the convention and visitors bureau industry who have given of themselves to be leaders in their communities and their association, which also strengthens the state’s third largest industry – tourism.

“Karla’s career began in North Platte in the mid ‘80s and she has been a leader in Nebraska’s tourism industry for over 25 years,” said Lisa Burke, past president of the state association. “She’s always been a mentor welcoming new people to the tourism industry and sharing her knowledge to help the industry grow.”

Niedan-Streeks said the great thing about the award is that it’s given by other professionals in the association. “It’s from people who know the convention and visitors bureau industry and understand the time and expertise it takes to be successful at it.”

The Nebraska Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus has members from across the state and they regularly get together to discuss destination marketing and how they can strengthen the tourism industry.

Niedan-Streeks became the director of Gering New Horizons in 1999, the city’s economic development committee, which would later become the Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau. It’s one of only two bureaus in the state that are funded by their cities.

Niedan-Streeks is the current president of the state association and has also held numerous leadership positions in other groups. Some of them include the Western Nebraska Tourism Coalition, the Nebraska Travel Association and the Nebraska Tourism Advisory Committee.

Locally, she serves on the marketing committee of the Legacy of the Plains Museum, Friends of the Robidoux Trading Post, Gering Merchants Association, Valley Visions Committee and Platte Valley Attractions.
During the presentation, Burke said Niedan-Streeks’ business philosophy is to continually develop Gering’s destination appeal and promote it with strong marketing messages. “She has collaborated with local facilities, attractions, events and tourism partners to develop a Gering package that provides positive lasting visitor experiences and memories,” she said.

The theme around the conference was the North Platte Canteen, which provided food and a touch of home to soldiers during their brief train stop on their way to deployment during World War II. And many of the attendees dressed in 1940s style for the event.

“It really was the North Platte Canteen and all its volunteers who set the standard for today’s hospitality industry,” Niedan-Streeks said.

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