Del Ray business advocate Eric Nelson received the David G. Speck Partner of the Year Award on Thursday morning from the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association during its annual meeting.
A surprised Nelson, a board member of ACVA and owner of Artfully Chocolate in Del Ray and Artfully Gifts and Chocolate in the Carlyle district and a former Del Ray Business Association president, accepted the award from its namesake, former City Council member David Speck.
Speck said Nelson “richly deserved” the award for his passion for Alexandria, ACVA and Del Ray.
In turn, Nelson said: “It hasn’t been a job, it’s been a pleasure,” speaking of his work with Alexandria.
Speck told the packed house at Metro Stage on Royal Street that nobody should ever take tourism for granted in the city.
He recalled commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks a few weeks ago, which, he said, always makes him think about Sept. 12, 13, and 14 and days after.
“Suddenly it stopped,” he said, referring to tourism. “No planes were flying” and no people were coming to the city.
“But the fact that we could recover and thrive in a challenging environment” is spectacular, he said.
Speck said what the tourism board does for Alexandria is often taken for granted, but tourism helps bring in dollars for “every new school that is built and every street that is cleaned.”
“When people make a choice to come to this city… it didn’t happen by accident,” he said.