Short term and longer term goals
The Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association has selected John Norton to be its interim director for the first quarter of 2015. Norton is a former marketing vice president for both Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Aspen Ski Company.
The TA made the offer to Norton Tuesday and he will officially start January 1, but TA board president Jim McDonald said practically, “He will be starting as quickly as possible and meeting with outgoing executive director Pamela Loughman.”
Loughman steps down from the position December 31.
“The goal is to have John keep the marketing drive going,” explained McDonald. “He will assist with the permanent executive director search and keep effective marketing going in the valley. We don’t want to lose the momentum we have. There is lots of work to do in 2015 and we hope to move forward as efficiently as possible.”
Norton said he is ready to jump into the position and has both long-term and a short-term goals. “For the immediate situation, Jim and I addressed the issue with the March flight situation,” said Norton. “We agreed that we need to put some focus on filling those airline seats that are off compared to last year. We would also like to get some juice into the Gunnison Getaway program that attracts skiers to Gunnison in the winter. Early January is traditionally a critical time for people filling out the winter tourism season.”
In the long-term, Norton said, helping transition to a permanent executive director for the association was key, but he also wanted to give the new TA some new thoughts. “I’d like to be able to give the new board that comes on board in February some thinking to take into the future. As an example, what are the opportunities in front of us that seem big? One instance might be that most of summer might be focused on the mountain biking opportunity. No one owns mountain biking in Colorado and we ought to. Just go to Moab to see the crowds of mountain bikers that range from single, young people to well-heeled families in their SUVs and carbon bikes. If we get them here to bike, they will fish or raft and go out to dinner. Is that a market worth owning and how big is it? What would it take? As I look ahead, what are the markets that will make a big impact here and what will it take to win those? Those are questions I want to have the board be considering.”
While Norton will receive a salary for his three-month work, McDonald said a contract hasn’t yet been finalized and so he could not release a figure.