This past year Visit Bastrop launched a community-focused program that encouraged locals and visitors to recognize and nominate outstanding service providers in our hospitality community. Each year we select a handful of dedicated employees and celebrate them during our annual mixer where we celebrate the benefits of travel and tourism. 

About the Visit Bastrop GEM Program 

Visit Bastrop's Going The Extra Mile (GEM) program gives our community the opportunity to recognize employees in our community for exemplary service and dedicated performance to their role in hospitality. Excellent customer service delivered by every hospitality business is integral to the continued growth of tourism in Bastrop. One of the most critical components of the visitor experience is the quality of the interface between the visitor and the tourism worker, and their experience with tourism service providers. This award recognizes the hard work and dedication of employees in the hospitality community. 

2023 GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Award Recipients 

The Visit Bastrop GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Program celebrates employees in the hospitality industry for exemplary service and dedicated performance to their role in hospitality! Please help us by congratulating our 2023 Visit Bastrop GEM Award Recipients! 


Kimberly Bollich

Kimberly is the Front Office Manager at the Holiday Inn Express here in Bastrop, TX. She was nominated by her general manager, Dawn Guerrero. 

"I have had the pleasure of working with Kim for a little over 5 years.  Her passion for her work, dedication, and outstanding contributions have earned her a position in a management role.  She was born and raised here in Bastrop and loves sharing with guests all the greatness Bastrop has to offer and how much it has grown in a great way. We have guests tell us all the time that they return not only because of how we maintain our hotel but mainly because of Kim and it's true! Her positive attitude is infectious. Kim goes above and beyond for our Team and our guests. Kim is definitely a GEM!


Gloria Perkins

Gloria is the Bastrop ambassador who greets you when you enter the Museum & Visitor Center. She was nominated by Nicole DeGuzman, Director of the Museum and Visitor Center.

 "Gloria has never seen a visitor she didn't love and welcome with open arms. She is the face of the Visitor Center and takes her job as Bastrop's ambassador very seriously. She is often the first person our visitors and new residents see when they want to learn more about our great community. She has a wealth of knowledge about area businesses and events and can customize your daily plans around what excites you most. She is the "tip of the spear" when it comes to first impressions of Bastrop. For this reason and many more, I nominate Gloria Perkins for the GEM award."


Bailey Cantwell

Bailey is the general manager at Maxine's Cafe & Bakery. She was nominated by Steven Bagley and various peers at Maxine's.

Bailey has been the rock of Maxine's.  A consistent pillar of this restaurant throughout the years. Whether there are 100 people in the restaurant, or 10, Bailey always provides you with the same steadfast service you've come to expect if you've ever had the pleasure of being served by her. She always shows up with a great attitude, plays with the kiddos, and consistently goes the extra mile to ensure a seamless visitor experience. Bailey makes Bastrop and Maxine's a better place to visit, and that makes her a GEM in our eyes.


Louis Duncan

Louis has served as the park ranger at Bastrop State Park for over 30 years. He was nominated by his supervisor Jamie Creacy.

Throughout his years of service, he has been THE example of what it means to go above and beyond for the visitors to Bastrop State Park. Louis spends his days taking care of maintenance tasks throughout the park to ensure a safe and pleasant stay for park visitors. From mowing grass, maintaining trails, cleaning restrooms, and repairing facilities, Louis does it all. In addition to daily tasks, Louis takes pride in caring for and serving the visitors. For every need you can think of in the park, Louis has helped someone. Louis always makes sure people have what they need to ensure they have a GREAT stay.  We can't emphasize enough the important role he plays in providing a shining Bastrop experience.


Jan Hudgins

Jan Hudgins recently retired from being the manager at Gracie's! She was nominated by Rhonda Gannon and Kevin Plunkett. 

"Jan has worked at Gracie's for many years. People who eat at Gracie's know Jan. No matter the time of day, or day of the week, Jan provides steadfast service and is always happy and ready to serve. We are so happy about her retirement but sad that we will miss seeing her at the restaurant. Happy Retirement Jan! "


Steve Ballard

Steve works at the Bastrop Convention & Exhibit Center. He was nominated by Kathy Danielson. 

Steve Ballard’s middle name should be “Going the Extra Mile”! Sometimes you will see him at the convention center as early as 6 a.m. because a client’s caterer needs to get in early to prepare for their event or you may see him there as late as 1 or 2 a.m. helping clients get the last bit of their decorations to the car. No matter what time or what day of the week (including some holidays) Steve Ballard is always there with a positive attitude and a solution to your problem before you even realize you have one. Convention center clients know and trust Steve. Years of experience and a heart of service make Steve a GEM in our eyes.


Ben Williams

Ben Williams works at the Bastrop Convention & Exhibit Center. He was nominated by Kathy Danielson. 

Ben goes the extra mile all day and every day with his interactions with clients and fellow staff members. Ben assists with all elements of planning convention center meetings including room layouts, which frequently need last-minute adjustments. Ben consistently pushes through his demanding job with a great smile and attitude. He spends extra time creating welcome signage for each group and he is always ready to assist with any on-site needs, mishaps, or emergencies. Ben’s willingness to provide exceptional services to our convention center visitors makes him a Visit Bastrop GEM.