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A Publication of WTVP

I am honored and humbled to be chosen as the new President and CEO of the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. I stress area because the PACVB represents eight counties throughout this region – Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton, Marshall, Stark, Bureau and Mason. To the outsider, it might appear a lot of attention gets focused on a few of those counties, while the rest receive very little. If we are going to succeed in attracting visitors to “Illinois River Country,” we have to work together as a team. Our approach has to be regional; it cannot be limited in scope to just part of the region.

Each wonderful community in our eight-county region has something interesting to offer the visitor. Whether it is a unique retailer, a state-of-the-art facility, venue, specialty shop or restaurant and distinctive attractions, all of the counties truly make this region the premier destination that it is. Individually, it would be difficult at best for any of our towns and cities to compete against some of the bigger “players” in the destination marketing industry. But when we work together as a team and package our amenities in a larger marketing bundle, we become a much stronger competitor.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about who should take the helm of the PACVB. Should it be someone from the industry, or should it be someone local who perhaps does not have industry experience? I hope to put that talk to rest. During the interview for my new position, I stressed that learning how the industry works would take less time than it would take someone in the industry to learn the Peoria area. Right now I am working hard to make my learning curve as short as possible. My 100-day plan includes meeting with 100 leaders throughout the region. It is important to me to re-establish and cement relationships with all of those for whom we, the staff of the PACVB, serve. As a staff, we are also taking retreats to define and perhaps re-define what it is we do and how we go about doing it. We are defining obtainable goals, and more importantly, developing a plan of how to achieve them. But we are not doing this alone. We will take input from our Board of Directors into these retreats and from people throughout the region.

We is another word besides area that needs to be stressed. The business of marketing the Peoria area cannot and will not be accomplished by any one individual. It takes a team of dedicated professionals which you find in the people who comprise the staff of the PACVB. Jeff Creek, Gail Ertl, Kelly Stickelmaier, Eden Akers, Lana Hermann, Kristin Krafft, Julie Bushell, Shona Schmitz, Kelsey Wright, Ashley Chitwood, Dot Bridgeman, Betsy Wilmetti, Sherry Twist, Larry Curless and Susie Galloway are ready and willing to move us to that proverbial next level, as am I. IBI

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