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TA Board Candidate Q&A

Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association
2011 BOARD CANDIDATES – Q & A

Lodging – Mt. Crested Butte

Wanda Bearth, Crested Butte Lodging & Property Management
What does tourism mean to Gunnison County?
Tourism brings with it certain economic, cultural and environmental benefits. Our local economy depends on tourism because tourists provide local businesses with revenues and because tourists are major tax contributors. Cultural benefits include the development and maintenance of amenities, events, theatre and arts programs that a community might not otherwise afford. The environmental benefit is realized as concern and interest grows in conserving and protecting the local ecosystem.

What kinds of related experience would you bring to the GCBTA board of directors?
I have served on the board of directors since April 2007 and have co-chaired the board for the past two years. In addition, I have held marketing positions with local companies including ResortQuest Crested Butte and Crested Butte Lodging & Property Management. My current position includes regular participation in the development and launch of our seasonal marketing campaigns.

Real Estate/Property Management – North of Jack’s Cabin Cutoff

Candace Coen, Colorado Legacy Properties
What does tourism mean to Gunnison County?
Our livelihood! The most important business goal we should have as members of the community and the Chamber of Commerce is to continue to build and strengthen a viable and sustainable tourism industry. It is imperative that during these difficult economic times, Gunnison County stay united as a destination, maximize our marketing opportunities and showcase our amazing and unique attributes.
 
What kinds of related experience would you bring to the GCBTA board of directors?
I earned a master’s degree in sustainable tourism development from The George Washington University School of Business and furthered my practical experience with five years of international high alpine and ecotourism development consulting.  Today, as owner broker of Colorado Legacy Properties in Crested Butte, I continue to be an involved and concerned member of the business community.

Kat Hassebroek, Peak Property Management & Sales
What does tourism mean to Gunnison County?
Tourism is crucial to the sustainability of Gunnison County because of the economic stability it brings. Tourists enrich our community by supporting local businesses—restaurants, lodging companies, retail stores, recreational activities—along with educational and other cultural forums prevalent in this eclectic and talented community.

What kinds of related experience would you bring to the GCBTA board of directors?
I have worked in lodging and property management in Crested Butte for six years. I have interacted with GCBTA and the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber to stay informed of market trends and strategies that drive more tourism to the Gunnison Valley/Crested Butte area. In addition to experience in the lodging industry, I am actively involved in the artistic community and know that tourism is vital to sustain the arts in Gunnison County.

Restaurant – South of Jack’s Cabin Cutoff

Carolyn Riggs, The Brick Cellar
What does tourism mean to Gunnison County?
Tourism is one of the leading economic drivers in our valley and contributes to everyone who resides here directly and indirectly. It keeps your favorite restaurants open, provides variety in products/services available in retail stores, and helps connect the south end to the north end of the valley.
What kinds of related experience would you bring to the GCBTA board of directors?
I have spent more than 15 years in the hospitality industry, specifically in the restaurant arena and love every minute of it. Being an active board member on the Tourism Association for just over two years, I feel I have represented the restaurant industry well in topics, conversations and decisions providing a unique perspective to our unique and challenging industry.

Nonprofit – South of Jack’s Cabin Cutoff

Frank Kugel, Gunnison River Festival
What does tourism mean to Gunnison County?
Tourism is an immensely important component of the overall economy of Gunnison County. GCBTA plays a vital role in promoting our area as a desirable destination for outdoor enthusiasts.  The association must continue to work diligently to effectively compete with other vacation alternatives in this difficult economic climate.
What kinds of related experience would you bring to the GCBTA board of directors?
Working for the UGRWCD (and the Colorado Division of Water Resources before that) has made me very familiar with this area. I have lived in Denver, Durango and Montrose and have learned what various parts of Colorado have to offer and how they have promoted their tourism economies.

Kristyn Niemeyer, Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League
What does tourism mean to the Gunnison County?
Each year people travel here from all over the world to see our beautiful valley. They become potential homeowners and in turn potential pet owners and donors as well. Tourism means more tax dollars and less homeless animals for our valley.
 
What kinds of related experience would you bring to the GCBTA board of directors?
As a local business owner, I understand how to make a venue successful in a small town. I would bring my knowledge and experience of being an information center for the Gunnison Valley.

Vicki Spencer, Gunnison County Electric Association
What does tourism mean to Gunnison County?
Tourism is the lifeblood of our community. It contributes to our local economy and our quality of life. To compete successfully against other tourist locations, we need to take pride in our community, offer quality service and provide diverse amenities. This will lead to positive “word of mouth” advertising, repeat visits and a more vibrant economy.
 
What kinds of related experience would you bring to the GCBTA board of directors?
I have more 30 years management experience and have worked with nonprofits in a variety of capacities, such as serving as a board member, officer and executive director; providing legal representation; developing collaborative relations with diverse partners; assisting with strategic planning; and fund-raising. I have engaged in policymaking and project implementation with an emphasis on rural communities and their role in the global economy.

Retail/Commercial/Recreation – South of Jack’s Cabin Cutoff  

Stu Ferguson, GL Computer Service
What does tourism mean to Gunnison County?
Approximately 80 percent of Gunnison County is composed of public lands, lands that include awesome scenery, both geological and recent history, and the entire spectrum of recreational opportunities. Our communities have capitalized on these features to build a significant portion of our economy on this diversity of recreational choices. Cultivating, protecting and enhancing these resources can lead to a healthy, growing more stable economy.

What kinds of related experience would you bring to the GCBTA board of directors?
There are three things that I believe may be helpful. We have lived in Gunnison for more than 40 years. This “longer” view is an important perspective. I have been closely involved with local government. Communication and cooperation with local governments is an important element in accomplishing GCBTA’s mission. And, finally, I am one of the owners of a retail business. Our business depends heavily on “trickle down” from direct tourism business. This offers a different, deeper perspective on tourism and its impact on our communities.

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