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The Townsend Hotel’s Rugby Grille Welcomes New Chef de Cuisine
August 26, 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 Damian Yopek to its team in the role of Rugby Grille chef de cuisine. The Rugby Grille is the luxury property’s award-winning fine-dining restaurant. The announcement was made by Steven Kalczynski, The Townsend’s managing director.
As chef de cuisine, Yopek will be responsible for working closely with The Townsend Hotel’s executive chef on the Rugby Grille’s menu concepts and development, as well as ensuring consistent quality in the daily preparation of all menu items. The Rugby Grille is the only Forbes Travel Guide “recommended” restaurant in all of Michigan, and also received 2015 honors from Wine Spectator magazine for its outstanding wine selection.
Chef Damian, a native of South Lyon, Mich., joins the Rugby Grille team from his previous role as executive chef with Matchbox Food Group in Washington D.C. Prior to that, he worked as a master cook at Adour Restaurant – part of the famed Alain Ducasse Group – in the St. Regis Hotel, also in Washington D.C. Before that, Chef Damian spent a handful of years collecting valuable experience in kitchens across Texas, Virginia and Hawaii.
“We love having homegrown talent in our kitchen,” said Kalczynski. “Chef Damian, like our Executive Chef Drew Sayes, brings to The Townsend vast culinary experience honed through travels and relocations throughout the country, but add to that the history, knowledge and passion for all things Michigan, and it’s truly a winning combination for us, and more importantly, for our dining guests.”
Chef Damian, who has returned to reside in his hometown of South Lyon, Mich., received his culinary arts education at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. Before discovering his passion and talent for cooking, Yopek also attended Washtenaw Community College and Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, specializing in video production.
ISES Elects New International President for 2015/16
August 21, 2015
The International Special Events Society (ISES) has elected Jodi Collen CSEP, as its new International President for the 2015/16 year.
Collen, Director of Event & Conference Planning at Augsburg College, Minneapolis is a previous President of the ISES Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter and has been a member of the International Board of Governors for the past five years. She was inaugurated at the international association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), which took place in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Commenting on her election, Jodi Collen said; "Now is the very best time to be a part of ISES and I am honored to be chosen to lead our association as we continue to grow our membership, our brand and our influence across the entire global live events industry. We have an amazing year ahead, with the launch of a number of new initiatives, including ISES TV, our new video content platform, our Thought Leader and Speaker Database and the first ever Global Event Summit, which takes place in Scotland in 2016.”
Also announced during the AGM was the destination for ISES Live 2016, which will be held in the City of Austin, Texas.
Ky Cochran to Be New CVB Director
August 19, 2015
The City of Muscatine is pleased to announce the hire of Ky Cochran as Director of the Muscatine Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). Cochran comes to the CVB with a degree in creative writing from Millikin University. She has worked as Staff Reporter for the Muscatine Journal since Jan. 2014 and will begin her new position with the CVB on Aug. 24.
“This community has such a passion for itself,” Cochran said while reflecting on her experience over the past 19 months. “Muscatine's residents love Muscatine with a depth and breadth I've never seen anywhere else. It's so inspiring to be around that and be with people who want to make this place better.”
Working for the CVB is a dream job for Cochran. Cochran said she is excited to convey the attractiveness of Muscatine to visitors.
“It's an amazing opportunity to be a part of the incredible things happening here in both the creative and entrepreneurial communities,” she said. “Since I spend a lot of my time doing that already, being able to do so in a more meaningful way means a lot to me.”
In May, Cochran attended EntreFEST, an entrepreneur conference held in Iowa City, with the purpose of learning about community development and bringing that knowledge back to Muscatine.
City Administrator Gregg Mandsager said he has full confidence in Cochran’s potential as the new CVB Director.
“We are excited to have Ky Cochran join the City team as our new CVB Director,” Mandsager said. “She brings a great skill set and a passion for Muscatine. We look forward to working with Ky to share all that Muscatine has to offer.”
Read the full release here.
New Tourism Director Begins Work in Dawes County
August 18, 2015
Kristina Harter, a native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, has begun work as the new Director of Tourism for Dawes County. Harter will work with the Dawes County Travel Board to develop and implement a long-range plan for tourism growth in Northwest Nebraska in addition to day-to-day duties to promote the region’s travel industry. She was hired in July after a statewide search and began her duties Monday. “Kristina has a lot of experience and initiative that will serve her well in this position,” said Justin Haag, Dawes County Travel Board chairman. “She brings a lot of positive energy to our efforts and we’re excited to have her on board. With Nebraska’s growing focus on tourism and more attention being given to the industry by other counties, we believe we have someone who can keep up with those increasing demands and promote one of the most beautiful and unique places in the nation.”
With an office in the Chadron Chamber of Commerce building Harter has already begun work on a variety of projects. “Northwest Nebraska is rich in history and it’s an area I am particularly passionate about,” she said. “I am incredibly excited to work with the Dawes County Travel Board and area attractions to help advance the tourism industry.”
While others have served in tourism roles for Dawes County, this is the first time the region has had a full-time tourism director working under the supervision of the Travel Board. Harter’s position is being funded by the Dawes County lodging tax which is collected from visitors who stay at lodging facilities in the county.
Cheyenne County Visitors Center Welcomes New Executive Director
August 17, 2015
Please welcome Heather Hausmann as the new Executive Director of the Cheyenne County Visitors Center based in Sidney, NE. Heather joined the office August 12th.
Feel free to contact Heather for anything concerning Sidney & Cheyenne County at email@example.com or visit http://sidneycheyennecountytourism.com.
First Hospitality Group, Inc. Hires New General Manager at Indiana Hampton Inn
August 12, 2015
Rosemont, Ill.-based First Hospitality Group, Inc. (FHG) has hired Dawn Crawford as the new general manager at the Hampton Inn Bloomington in Bloomington, Ind. First Hospitality Group, Inc. President and CEO Robert Habeeb made the announcement.
Crawford brings more than 20 years of experience with the InterContinental Hotels Group to her new position with FHG. She has served in various operations and executive roles, most recently providing her expertise in training, budgeting, quality assurance and staff supervision as general manager of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bloomington.
“Dawn will be a great asset for this property as she promotes the people-first, team-oriented management style that FHG is recognized for,” said Habeeb. “Whether guests are coming to town for an IU sporting event, business meeting, or brewery tour, her team at the Hampton Inn will ensure their every need is met so they can make the most of their visit.”
The Hampton Inn Bloomington is in a prime location within walking distance to Memorial Stadium and Indiana University and just one mile from the more than 60 blocks of galleries, live music venues, restaurants and shops downtown Bloomington has to offer. Guests can enjoy Internet access in every room, a business center fitness room with an attached outdoor pool and free daily hot breakfast.
Kristen Chenoweth Named Sales and Marketing Manager at Springfield, Illinois Convention & Visitors Bureau
August 10, 2015
The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau is pleased to announce that Kristen Chenoweth has been appointed as its new Sales and Marketing Manager.
Kristen will be responsible for positioning Always Legendary Springfield as a destination of choice for travelers through strategic marketing initiatives including advertising, communications, web and digital content development, social media and the customer relationship management system.
Kristen has been with the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau since early 2014, and most recently served as the bureau’s Digital Marketing Specialist. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and a Master’s degree in English.