The Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (AAACVB) welcomed Mike Tirico, ESPN Play-By-Play Commentator, and Studio and ESPN Radio Host, along with 280 additional guests to University of Michigan Crisler Center last Tuesday evening for the AAACVB 24th Annual Recognition Dinner honoring luminaries, Dennis E. Norton and Howard “Howdy” Holmes.
“Ann Arbor is one of the best small big cities and big small cities I have ever been around,” said Tirico during his keynote address. “You are one degree of separation from hundreds of people. There aren’t many places like that. We do have something special. We live in a very special place.”
The keynote speech followed dinner and included the opening segment from ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Tirico, a long time resident of Ann Arbor, included in his remarks his admiration for university athletic programs that serve as a “front porch” for communities. While sporting events may bring thousands to the area, leaders have a responsibility to paint a more complete picture for visitors. By doing so, guests return time-and-time again to participate in the rich culture, cuisine, and diversity Ann Arbor has to offer.
Next, the AAACVB Ambassador Awards highlighted Holmes and Norton with special presentations about each recipient. “Howdy and Dennis are wonderful examples of leaders in our community and we are proud to honor them tonight,” said AAACVB President and CEO, Mary Kerr. “We are grateful for their contributions to the community and admire their leadership in attracting visitors to the area.” State Representative Gretchen Driskell also attended, presenting state proclamations commemorating the two men’s accomplishments.
Mike Tirico has established himself as one of the most recognizable faces and steady voices across ESPN’s multimedia platforms and in the industry at large. Tirico is best known for his position in sports television as ESPN’s Monday Night Football play-by-play commentator. In addition to MNF, Tirico is ESPN’s lead host and play-by play commentator for golf majors such as The Masters, The U.S. Open and all four rounds of The Open Championship. He also hosts coverage and calls matches at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and is among ESPN’s top voices for both NBA and college basketball games. He is a regular host and contributor to ESPN Radio and is part of the weekly Countdown to Kickoff Friday program which airs from 7-9pm in the fall and is devoted to college and pro football. Tirico joined ESPN in July 1991 as a SportsCenter anchor.
Howard Holmes is the Chief Executive Officer and President of the Chelsea Milling Company, best known for “JIFFY” Mixes. Holmes was honored for his loyal support of the Chelsea and Washtenaw County community tourism efforts. The free factory tours offered by "JIFFY" have been a continued draw for travelers to our community. In addition, Holmes is a huge supporter of the Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, through assistance with local and national marketing and sales efforts.
Dennis Norton serves on the Board of Directors and as President of the Michigan Aerospace Foundation, raising funds for the Yankee Air Museum and its fascinating effort to save from demolition a piece of the historically significant Willow Run Bomber Plant. Norton was honored for his dedication to the Yankee Air Museum and his history of business and community service to the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area.