John Deere Classic’s Sally Welvaert to Be Honored by Athena Awards

Sally Welvaert, director of operations and sales for the John Deere Classic, will be recognized Thursday as one of six honorees for the Athena Awards given to women leaders for their outstanding achievements in business, government, education, and health care.

One of the six finalists will be introduced as the 2012 Athena Award recipient, as selected by a panel of 10 judges.  The announcement will take place at a luncheon at Jumer's Casino and Hotel in Rock Island, where some 350 people are expected to gather.  The Athena Award in the Quad Cities is presented by  an the Women's Connection and the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

"The John Deere Classic is extremely proud that Sally Welvaert has been recognized by the prestigious Athena International organization for her outstanding service to the Quad Cities community," said Clair Peterson, tournament director of the John Deere Classic.  "Sally is the perfect combination of intelligence, strength, kindness, and cool under pressure.  Not only does she do invaluable work for the John Deere Classic - which last year generated $5.3 million for some 500 local and regional charities - she also is involved with other civic groups, including Gilda's Club, the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, and the Moline Public Schools Foundation, among others."

With more than 20 years experience at the John Deere Classic, Welvaert currently is in charge of corporate hospitality sales - a key revenue source for the tournament - and for on-course tournament operations, including overseeing the construction of the small city that goes up annually at tournament-site TPC Deere Run golf course, which will host the event again this year from July 9-15.

"I am very appreciative to have been recognized by the Athena Awards committee for this very prestigious honor," Welvaert said.  "I have been blessed to be associated with the PGA Tour, John Deere, and the many great and generous golf fans who have participated in the tournament over the years either as fans or volunteers."

The John Deere Classic also is proud that one of its board members, Patricia Shouse, director of community services for the Trinity Regional Health System, also is among the six finalists for the Athena Award.  In addition to her work on the golf tournament board, Shouse has volunteered for Family Resources for 10 years and is serves on the board of the Safe Haven for Animals Project.

The four other finalists are Diane Campbell, Muscatine Community School District's secondary innovation and instruction director; Carmen Darland, executive director of Quad City Arts; Kelli Grubbs, owner of Victory Enterprises and, and Gayle Roberts, president and chief operating officer of Stanley Consultants, an international engineering firm based in Muscatine, Iowa.
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