Company: Tybee Island Tourism Council
Title: Marketing director
• In 2010, bed tax revenue was up 18 percent from 2009. In 2011, bed tax revenue was up 12 percent from 2010 and, as of the end of October 2012, bed tax revenue was pacing 9 percent, up from 2011
• Expanded the organization to include a special events department tasked with the operation and production of some of Tybee’s most popular events, including the Labor Day Beach Bash in September and the island’s largest event, Tybee Island Pirate Fest in October
• Has steadily grown the annual budget over the last three years due to increased overnight visitation and the addition of our special events department
Top philanthropic leadership roles
• Georgia Coast Travel Association Board of Directors
• Savannah Area Tourism Leadership Council Board of Directors
• Savannah Area Tourism Leadership Council Programs and Membership Committee member
Q. Please share your vision of Savannah’s future. What growth or challenge do you foresee?
A. By the end of 2013: As the harbor deepening gets underway, the community can lean on the tourism industry for economic stability and workforce development.
A. By the year 2020: The ports and big corporations such as Gulfstream, along with the tourism industry, will serve as our big economic engines. We’ll start to see area workers looking to expand their careers move into positions that will be made available for career advancement.
A. By the year 2030: With the stable economic engines and diversity of the industries in the area, Savannah will enhance its image as a desirable place to visit and live. Institutions such as SCAD and Savannah Tech will continue to create innovative and skilled candidates who enrich the local workforce. Savannah will have the structure in place to keep them here. This will attract small businesses and entrepreneurs, which will add to the flavor and economic stability of Savannah.
Q. How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?
A. I will focus more on product development. It’s great to get the word out about your product, but careful examination of your product quality is even more important to long-term business success.
Q.What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?
A. I’m looking forward to seeing and playing a part in preserving what makes Savannah special, which is its eclectic Southern culture. Technological advancements and social media give us more opportunities to tailor our marketing message to those interested in visiting or relocating to our area.
Q.What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?
A. Due to our prime geographic location, we’re perfectly positioned to do so many different things. From our National Landmark Historic District to Tybee Island, we have a remarkable diversity that truly offers something for everyone.
Q. What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?
A. Tourism, aerospace and engineering are business sectors and economic drivers that promise a lot of growth because we have the foundation for these industries to thrive. It will also be important for the city to continue its push for being friendly to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Our area is quickly becoming a place where people are looking for up-and-coming talent and opportunity.
Q. What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?
A. Engineering, hospitality and business administration are all degrees that would adequately prepare a college graduate to build a career in the Savannah area.
Q. What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?
A. Stay on top of new technology. It changes every day and younger generations are embracing it wholeheartedly. Learn to love change.
Q. What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?
A. I hope I will be remembered for helping raise Tybee Island’s profile as a world-class vacation destination.