Latest Staff Appointments News...
Visit KC Appoints New Vice President of Sales & Services
July 31, 2015
Following last week’s appointments of two other leadership positions, Visit KC announces that Cori Day will assume the role of Vice President of Sales & Services. Day brings to the tourism organization more than 16 years of experience in hospitality sales and marketing. Her hire continues the strategic growth of Visit KC’s management team and combines the organization’s convention sales and services team into a single department.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have such a dedicated hospitality professional to lead our sales and services efforts,” said Visit KC President and CEO Ronnie Burt. “I am confident that Cori’s leadership experience will take us to the next level as a meeting and convention destination.”
Day comes to Visit KC from the Independence Tourism Department in Independence, Mo., where she served as tourism director for four years. During her tenure, the organization witnessed a 60-percent increase in guest tax revenues. She also oversaw the reorganization of Independence’s group sales efforts, the creation of a convention services department and the founding of a sports commission.
Day’s diverse hospitality experience also includes 12 years of sales management experience with the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau in Columbia, Mo., the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center in Independence and the Best Western Columbia Inn.
As Vice President of Sales and Services, Day will lead the destination’s sales and services teams, promoting Kansas City as a convention destination through short and long-range booking strategies, improving delivery of services to convention planners and maintaining relationships with area hotel and facility management teams.
Active in regional tourism organizations, Day serves as president-elect of the Missouri Travel Council and as a board member of the Missouri Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus. A resident of Blue Springs, Mo., Day is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Day’s first day with Visit KC will be Aug. 31. Her hire bookends the appointment of two other new leaders within the organization— Ashley Jones, Vice President of Partnerships & Events; and Traci Preus, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications, joining Visit KC on Aug. 17 and 24, respectively.
Laurie Hobbs Joins Marcus® Hotels & Resorts as Vice President of Marketing
July 30, 2015
Marcus® Hotels & Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS), announced that Laurie Hobbs has been named vice president of marketing. In her new role, Hobbs will provide executive leadership and management of operational areas including marketing, e-commerce, customer relationship marketing, advertising, social media and public relations.
“Laurie’s extensive experience in lodging and hospitality, particularly in the areas of brand strategy, integrated marketing communications, customer relationship marketing and public relations, will be a tremendous asset as we continue to grow and expand our presence as a leading hotel management company. We are very excited to welcome Laurie to our executive team,” said Joseph Khairallah, chief operating officer of Marcus Hotels & Resorts.
Hobbs joins Marcus Hotels & Resorts with 30 years of experience in marketing communications for the hospitality industry, most recently serving as director of marketing for Blue Harbor Resort, Spa & Conference Center in Sheboygan, Wis. Her career includes 15 years with Edelman Worldwide, the largest independent international communications firm, where she served as a vice president with responsibilities for major corporate and travel accounts. She later served as marketing and public relations counsel for lifestyle and technology companies including GE Healthcare.
In 2008, Hobbs joined Sandestin Investments in Sandestin, Fla. as director of marketing and public relations and oversaw integrated public relations and brand communications programs for Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, the number-one resort on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Prior to her work at Blue Harbor Resort, she served as director of marketing and communications for Chicago Oakbrook Hills Resort in Oak Brook, Ill., operated by Destination Hotels & Resorts.
Hobbs has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including the Publicity Club of Chicago Silver Trumpet Award and the Golden Bell Award from the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Ill.
Experience Columbus Promotes Dan Williams to Vice President of Sales
July 29, 2015
Experience Columbus is proud to announce Dan Williams has been promoted from his previous role as senior director of convention sales to vice president of sales. In his new role, Williams will lead a team of 19 and oversee all aspects of convention sales and services.
Williams joined Experience Columbus in 2012 following more than three years as vice president of sales at Destination Cleveland, the city’s convention and visitors bureau. Prior to that, he began his career at PlanSoft, an internet start-up company that provides software, advertising and technology solutions to businesses in the hospitality industry. Upon his departure from the company, he was one of the top salespeople, managing accounts such as InterContinental Hotels Group, Disney Hotels, Shangri La Hotels and Gaylord Hotels.
“Over the past three years, Dan has been a major asset to Experience Columbus and we look forward to him capitalizing on his experience and expertise to continue growing our convention business,” said Brian Ross, Experience Columbus president and CEO. “We have set our aspirational goals high and know that Dan’s proven results-driven approach to sales will help us achieve them.”
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead Experience Columbus’ sales efforts,” said Dan Williams, VP sales. “There are so many great things happening in Columbus and I look forward to continuing to promote the city as a premier visitor destination.”
Williams is an active member of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), American Society of Association Executive (ASAE) and the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP). In addition to his professional commitments, Williams visits schools and works to engage students of diverse backgrounds to consider careers in the hospitality industry.
Visit KC Appoints New Senior Vice President
July 27, 2015
Visit KC, the region’s leading hospitality and tourism organization, continues the strategic growth of its management team by announcing the appointment of Traci Preus to the position of Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications. Preus brings to Visit KC more than 25 years of experience in strategic marketing, public relations and advertising.
“A sharp, proactive leader, Traci’s diverse background offers a wide breadth of experience,” said Visit KC President & CEO Ronnie Burt. “Her collaborative, high-impact approach will propel our marketing and communications strategies well into the future and position KC as top-of-mind to our convention and leisure customers.”
Preus comes to Visit KC from The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where she served as vice president of marketing and advertising for the AAA Four Diamond destination. During her six-year tenure, she oversaw the key strategic development, direction and execution of The Mirage’s integrated marketing and communications efforts, including brand advertising, content, interactive properties and social media initiatives.
Preus began her career in the hospitality industry in 1992 as a marketing and public relations coordinator at the Rio All-Suite Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Since then, she has built a diverse background in strategic communications and travel marketing, including positions with MGM Resorts International, the Fremont Street Experience, Levy Restaurants, Station Casinos, Hard Rock Hotel and RDG—a Las Vegas-based advertising and design agency where she served as senior brand strategist.
In her new role at Visit KC, Preus will lead a team of nine—encompassing marketing, communications and the KC Office of Film + Media. She will oversee the conception, creation and execution of the department’s research-driven marketing strategies with the objective of growing Visit KC’s convention, tourism and leisure travel programs.
A passionate ambassador for Habitat for Humanity and The Animal Foundation, Preus holds a degree in hospitality administration/management from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Her hire accompanies today’s announcement of another new Visit KC leader—Ashley Jones, Vice President of Partnerships & Events.
Preus’ first day with Visit KC will be Monday, Aug. 24.
Visit KC Announces New Vice President of Partnership & Events
July 24, 2015
Visit KC, Kansas City’s hospitality and tourism organization, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ashley Jones to its management team. Jones assumes the role of Vice President of Partnerships & Events, bringing with her 14 years of experience in destination management and community development organizations.
“Ashley Jones is a proven leader within our industry and region,” said Visit KC President and CEO Ronnie Burt. “Through strategic partnerships, I am confident that her diverse background will help us improve member relations, enhance visitor engagement, elevate special events and, most importantly, bolster our team culture.”
Jones comes to Visit KC from Olathe Convention & Visitors Bureau, where she served as the organization’s executive director for seven years. There, she was responsible for the overall operations of the Olathe CVB under the direction of the Olathe Chamber of Commerce and the City of Olathe, Kan. Under her tenure, the CVB identified and developed new funding sources outside of hotel taxes to increase the bureau’s overall revenues by 36%.
Prior to Olathe, Jones spent four years in Fayetteville, N.C., holding management and director positions with the Fayetteville Arts Council, Downtown Alliance and Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. From 2000 to 2004, Jones served as a direct marketing manager for the Lawrence Convention & Visitors Bureau in Lawrence, Kan.
In her new role at Visit KC, Jones will be responsible for proactive, strategic leadership of the destination partnership strategy, as well oversight of Visit KC special events, recruitment opportunities and visitor engagement initiatives. She will also serve as the executive director of the Kansas City Regional Destination Development Foundation, the 501(c)3 subsidiary of Visit KC dedicated to the development and research of tourism and multicultural events.
A resident of Lenexa, Kan., Jones is a graduate of the University of Kansas and is certified by the Center for Non-Profit Management at Duke University. Jones’ first day with Visit KC is Aug. 17.
Visit Saint Paul Welcomes Two New Employees on the Same Day
July 23, 2015
Visit Saint Paul announced today the hiring of Nick Cusick as Marketing and Media Relations Manager and Magdalene Nitschke as Member Marketing & Communications Manager.
Cusick is from Cottage Grove and has a background in journalism and tourism. He most recently worked as the Director of the Muscatine Convention & Visitors Bureau in Southeast Iowa. As the bureau’s only fulltime employee, Cusick handled all things including marketing, media relations, purchasing, writing, graphic design and digital and social strategies. At Visit Saint Paul, Cusick will manage the digital marketing efforts, media relations and social strategies.
“I am incredibly grateful for this extraordinary opportunity,” said Cusick, “I can’t wait to get started and to help build on the great things Visit Saint Paul has done.”
Nitschke utilized the services of Visit Saint Paul in her role as Assistant Marketing Manager for the Union Depot in Saint Paul. After joining the Visit Saint Paul team, she will help members get the most value out of their membership, making sure member info is accurate and complete, maximizing member exposure through efforts like the new website, organizing member events and growing our communications with current/prospective members.
"I am thrilled to join the Visit Saint Paul team,” said Nitschke. “As an active member, I understand the value that Visit Saint Paul brings to local organizations and the community and I look forward to creatively engaging members and implementing strategies to benefit our beautiful city."
“It’s always great to add passionate and talented people to the team,” said Terry Mattson, President & CEO of Visit Saint Paul. “I know Nick and Magdalene will hit the ground running and do tremendous work for us.”
Both Cusick and Nitschke started July 13.
Amy Schmidt Joins Visit Wichita as Destination Sales Manager
July 22, 2015
Amy Schmidt is Visit Wichita’s newest destination sales manager. She will manage trade associations. Schmidt brings extensive experience to Visit Wichita, including over 18 years as sales manager at Wichita’s DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport. She has been very active in the Kansas Society of Association Executives (KSAE). Schmidt graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management.
The Townsend Hotel Adds Assistant Food & Beverage Director
July 21, 2015
The Townsend Hotel, a AAA 4-Diamond, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star and Travel + Leisure 500-rated luxury property known for its exceptional service and amenities, announced the addition of Jérôme Fosset to its team in the role of assistant food and beverage director. The announcement was made by Steven Kalczynski, The Townsend’s managing director.
In his role as assistant food and beverage director, Fosset is responsible for operational support of The Townsend’s extensive banquet department, as well as managing The Corner, the property’s cocktail lounge and nightlife hot spot. A mixology enthusiast, Fosset assists in the ongoing evolution of The Townsend Hotel’s broad cocktail program.
Born and raised in Bourges, France, Fosset enjoyed a worldly professional culinary journey prior to joining The Townsend Hotel. In the U.S., Fosset has collected luxury hospitality experience in major cities like Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York, Denver and Portland, Ore. Before The Townsend Hotel, Fosset served as beverage and food manager at Starwood Hotel’s W Hollywood, leading the re-launch of the property’s pool bar in summer 2014.
“Jérôme brings to The Townsend team a great depth of food and beverage culture knowledge, which we welcome with open arms,” said Kalczynski. “His insights and opinions from industry experiences across the country and around the world serve to further strengthen our F&B team and our customer experiences.”
Fosset and his family reside in Birmingham, Mich.
Nebraska Tourism Commission Welcomes New Staff
July 20, 2015
The Nebraska Tourism Commission would like to welcome two new staff members to our team! Amanda Barker is the Commission’s new Passport Program Coordinator, and will manage the Nebraska Passport Program from start to finish—including selecting sites, supporting travelers on their passport adventures, developing communication plans for the program, and more. Amanda's other duties include researching and recruiting potential national events to Nebraska, as well as creating a Tourism Cares program for our state. Growing up on a farm outside of Nebraska City, Amanda learned the value of rural communities at a young age. She attended Nebraska City High School and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Political Science. Her professional focus is on rural community development and program management. She lives in Lincoln with her husband, Scott, and is a member of the Nebraskans for Civic Reform board of directors and the Clinic with a Heart development committee. To contact Amanda please call 402-471-3789 or email email@example.com.
Alex Duryea joined the Commission team just last week and will be working with Nebraska businesses providing services for outdoor event coordination, promotional assistance to Nebraska outfitter businesses, and guided eco-tours for groups and writers wanting to experience the great outdoors of Nebraska. Anything outdoor recreation and eco-tourism related is his specialty, please contact Alex if your organization needs assistance. Alex grew up in Omaha, NE and has had a passion for outdoor recreation his whole life. As an avid cyclist he enjoys all different flavors of cycling. Alex graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and currently resides in Lincoln. To contact Alex please call 402-471-3797 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three New Directors Join the JW Marriott Chicago Hotel Team
July 16, 2015
The JW Marriott Chicago (151 W. Adams St.) announced the addition of three new directors to the hotel team; Director of Operations Dieter Heigl, Spa Director Marie Padori, and Director of Rooms Jesse Nelson. Each brings their own unique hospitality industry experience and knowledge to the downtown Chicago hotel.
“We’re excited to welcome these new leaders to our team as we know they’re going to bring invaluable expertise to our hotel,” says JW Marriott Chicago General Manager Catherine Mrowiec. “Whether promoting from within or seeking to bring the best in, the JW Marriott Chicago is proud to house some of the finest talent in hospitality.”
Dieter Heigl has spent the last four years at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare Hotel where he served as the general manager. He lead the 470 room hotel’s $40 million renovation including the conversion of the public space and restaurant to new great room concepts, conversion of two restaurants to a new ballroom and meeting room, and more. Additionally, Dieter brings a wealth of knowledge to the JW Marriott Chicago culinary team with his past experience as a director of food & beverage, restaurants and as a past executive chef at hotels around the world including the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Amsterdam Marriott Hotel, and Boston Marriott Copley Resort.
Marie Padori joins the JW Marriott Chicago as director of the Spa at JW Chicago opening this July. She comes from The Spa at Williams Island Club in Miami where she served as the spa director for the past five years. While responsible for the spa operations she additionally oversaw the spa’s renovation project including construction and design. In addition, she worked at other spas throughout Miami and Fort Lauderdale including Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, The Spa – Equinox, The Spa – The Shore Club and Noble House Hotels & Resorts – SpaTerre.
Jesse Nelson comes to the JW Marriott Chicago as the hotel’s new director of rooms. Jesse most recently served as the director of quality at Langham Hotels International. For the Langham Chicago, Jesse was a member of the pre-opening team responsible for the overall quality and training of all departments. During his time at The Langham, Jesse spearheaded the hotel’s service quality initiatives resulting in #1 TripAdvisor ranking for the U.S. 2014, AAA 5 Diamond Award and more. With extensive hospitality experience, Jesse has additionally worked at other hotel properties including the Starwood Hotels & Resorts and the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.
For more information on the JW Marriott Chicago, please call 312 660 8200 or visit www.jwmarriottchicago.com.