Above: Andy Marshall poses with employee of the year Noe Martinez after receiving the restaurateur of the year trophy. // SUBMITTED 


Andy Marshall of A. Marshall Family Foods was named Restaurateur of the Year at The Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association “Stars of the Industry” gala event, held earlier this month at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

According to an announcement of the winners, “the honors represent the pinnacle of recognition in Tennessee hospitality.”

Also at the top of the list were Ray Waters of Castlerock Asset Management as Hotelier of the Year, and the entire hospitality industry of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevier County as the Tourism Professionals of the Year, recognizing their performance following severe wildfires that swept the area.

“Hospitality and tourism make up the state’s second-largest industry,” said TnHTA President and CEO Greg Adkins. “Our honorees are all driving forces behind that success. They provide the top-notch guest service that keeps people coming back to Tennessee. We’re honored to have them as part of our membership, and we congratulate them on a job well done.”

Each year’s nominees and winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, and are chosen for their character, demonstrated work ethic, leadership ability and inspiring vision.

Restaurateur of the Year Andy Marshall, a Memphis native, moved to Nashville as a child and started in his father’s Piggly Wiggly grocery store as a student at Middle Tennessee State University. Marshall realized his dream of owning his own store when at age 26 he and his wife, Jan, purchased their first Piggly

Wiggly. He soon owned three additional locations and was ultimately president of the Tennessee Grocers Association.

His love of food, music and community led him to sell his stores in 1998 and purchase Puckett’s Grocery in Leiper’s Fork, adding live music and a formal dinner program in 2002 before he opened Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant in downtown Franklin.

Today, A. Marshall Family Foods Inc. includes not only Puckett’s locations in the historic downtowns of Franklin, Nashville, Columbia, Murfreesboro and Chattanooga, but other concepts that include Puckett’s Boat House and Scout’s Pub in Franklin, Hattie Jane’s Creamery in Columbia and Murfreesboro, and Deacon’s New South in downtown Nashville.

The company has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies for four years in a row, and Marshall has been recognized among Nashville’s Most Admired CEOs and other honors.

Hotelier of the Year Ray Waters started as a banquet waiter when Opryland Hotel opened its doors in 1997. With more than 25 years with Gaylord Entertainment, he became senior vice president and general manager of the Opryland Hotel

and Attractions Group, where he also oversaw the development and opening of the hotel’s $210 million Delta expansion project. Later, he was managing director of the Hilton Sandestin (Florida) Beach, Golf Resort and Spa, before returning to Nashville to become general manager of the Hilton Nashville Downtown from 2003-2013; he served as the regional director of full service hotels (Hilton Nashville, Union Station Hotel and Sheraton Orlando) for eight of those years. In 2013, he was named president of hospitality for Turnberry Associates, and oversaw three full-service hotels in Florida before again returning home in 2016 to become general manager of the Westin Nashville, under the ownership of

Castlerock Asset Management. Today, he serves as vice president of Castlerock.

The collective tourism industry of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville & Sevier County were named the Tourism Professionals of the Year. When a catastrophic

wildfire swept through the area last November, they pulled together, took care of their guests and each other, and have worked since then to re-claim their place as one of Tennessee’s premier vacation destinations. The tourism industry of each city and the county jumped into action to help with relief efforts and then focused on marketing that Sevier County is still a premiere tourism destination.

“We honor these three cities and Sevier County for their hard work during and after the fires – there have been countless stories of compassion and perseverance shared with the community through the channels of the industry, and more I know that we haven’t heard,” Adkins said. “The industry was

resilient and passionate about supporting their neighbors and guests in need, but in rebuilding and aggressively demonstrating that they were open for business and ready to serve. That is the embodiment of the spirit of tourism in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association is the voice of the lodging, dining, and tourism industry in the state of Tennessee. TnHTA provides education and training for industry employees and represents the interests of the hospitality and tourism industry at the local, state and national levels.

The hospitality and tourism industry is the second largest in Tennessee, creating $19 billion in total economic impact representing more than 10% of the workforce and producing $1 billion in state and local sales tax revenue for a consecutive 11 years. Learn more about TnHTA at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.