People on the Go

December 2017


Rebecca Adelman has been promoted to sports & convention marketing manager at Travel Lane County. Adelman joined the Convention & Sports Marketing department in 2015 as a marketing coordinator. She is responsible for marketing the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region to planners nationally and internationally who are looking for the right location to host a sports event, meeting or convention. Adelman implements marketing and advertising campaigns, maintains databases, keeps promotional materials updated, and develops social media and website content.

Earlier this year, John Boesche was promoted to vice president-International Tourism at Visit Seattle. Boesche oversees Visit Seattle’s International Tourism department, including six employees in the organization’s main Seattle office as well as five international marketing and public relations agencies in Japan, China, South Korea, France, Germany and, as of 2017, Australia/New Zealand. He previously served as director, Tourism Development, where he was responsible promoting Seattle as a world-class leisure destination for international media and travel trade for the German-speaking and Japan markets. Boesche came to Visit Seattle with previous experience in the sports and hospitality industries. Formerly, he was the operations manager at the Seattle Sports Commission.


The San Francisco Travel Association has added Tom David to its team as executive vice president & chief sales officer, effective October 2017. In his new role, David will oversee all convention division activities, such as the development and implementation of sales strategies and the optimization of group business. He has worked with the Marriott organization since 1988, most recently as vice president of sales, Marriott Western Mountain Pacific Region. Other positions with Marriott have included general manager, Marriott Western Mountain Pacific Region Sales Office; general manager at the San Ramon Marriott and the Courtyard San Francisco Downtown and regional senior director, CRST Marriott International.

Visit Seattle has added Susan Giambalvo as national account director for Convention Sales in the Visit Seattle Washington, D.C., satellite office, effective November 13, 2017. Giambalvo joins Alison LaFollette and Susan Hutton, representing Seattle in the mid-Atlantic region (D.C., VA, MD). In her role, Giambalvo will prospect for new business in assigned markets and showcase Seattle facilities and attractions to meeting professionals. Giambalvo brings more than two decades of experience in the hospitality industry to Visit Seattle including extensive work with association business. Previously, Giambalvo was director of global accounts for the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, prior she was the director of global accounts for Omni Hotels & Resorts. She also has experience with Marriott Hotels among others.


In late September, Visit West Hollywood appointed Sean Keliiholokai as vice president of business development for the organization. Keliiholokai is charged with growing the local tourism industry through hotel and lodging occupancy, focusing on the city’s top international visitor markets, including Australia/New Zealand and United Kingdom and domestic target markets, while pursuing business in global markets with connections to Los Angeles International Airport. He was previously the executive director for Visit Dana Point, a DMO servicing South Orange County’s luxury coastal region. Keliiholokai has extensive experience in sales from the Greater Ontario CVB as its director of sales & marketing, and leading tourism companies such as Hyatt, Marriott International and the Disneyland Resort.

Visit Grand Junction Executive Director Debbie Kovalik has announced she will be retiring after 28 years of leading the City of Grand Junction’s tourism marketing organization. Kovalik was the first employee of the then-newly-formed Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) in February 1990. She previously worked for the Colorado Springs CVB as the marketing director. Of note, Kovalik launched the first destination website in Colorado. Her retirement will become effective in February 2018.

Visit Santa Clara has hired Rachelle Castaneda Mata as its new director of sales. Mata previously worked for the DMO as the national sales manager and prior to that for ARAMARK. Most recently, she was director of sales & marketing at the Hilton Hotel in Cupertino across from the new Apple Complex. Mata will be managing the CVB sales team in its efforts to bring conventions and tradeshows to the city of Santa Clara. She has experience working in the hospitality industry, having worked for convention center catering, the CVB, and hotels.


Brian McCartin has been named the new president & CEO of the Tempe Tourism Office. Before his recent move back to Arizona, McCartin was executive vice president at Travel Portland. During his tenure at Travel Portland, his experience included responsibility for convention and tourism sales, marketing, communications and cultural tourism. He was involved in creating a Multicultural Meetings Study and led an initiative to develop an advisory council to produce more opportunities for the city. McCartin also has a background in the hotel industry. Throughout his career, he has worked as a hotel sales manager, director of sales and marketing and a general manager. McCartin officially began working at the Tempe Tourism Office December 11. He is succeeding Stephanie Nowack, who recently announced her retirement after 18 years with the organization.



Travel Lane County has announced that Emily Scherer has joined the staff as lead adventure specialist and office assistant at the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center. Adventure specialists assist visitors and locals by developing travel itineraries that meet their interests, selling necessary permits, providing tips on what's happening throughout Lane County, and much more. Scherer previously worked in the hospitality industry in Bend, Oregon.


Sonoma County Tourism recently appointed tourism industry veteran Claudia Vecchio as president & CEO. Vecchio replaces Ken Fischang, who stepped down in May. She comes to Sonoma County from Nevada, where she was the director of the state’s Tourism and Cultural Affairs Department. During her career, Vecchio has held multiple leadership roles in tourism organizations, serving as the state tourism director at the Ohio Department of Development, Division of Travel and Tourism, and senior vice president overseeing the tourism group at Edelman PR in Chicago. 


In July, Aimee Williams joined Discover Kodiak as its new executive director. Williams isn’t new to Kodiak. She’s been in the community for about five years. After living off island for a while, she and her family moved back when the Coast Guard stationed her husband on Kodiak Island. Williams wants to improve Discover Kodiak’s social media presence and draw more year-round tourists to the region. Williams replaced Chastity McCarthy, who stepped down to move closer to family in another state.

Sonoma County Tourism has promoted Tim Zahner to chief operating officer. He will continue to oversee marketing and communications efforts for the organization.