Archive for Monday, February 1, 2016

Visit Shawnee replaces Convention and Tourism Bureau in rebranding strategy

February 1, 2016

The city of Shawnee and the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce are rebranding the city’s Convention and Tourism Bureau as Visit Shawnee and have appointed some new faces to its advisory committee.

The city has had an agreement with the chamber to provide convention and tourism services through a full-time executive director and advisory committee since 1999. Funding for the contract agreement comes from a portion of the transient guest tax budgeted out of the Convention and Tourism Fund. For 2016, the appropriation for the Convention and Tourism Bureau out of that guest tax fund is about $168,000. Executive Director Kevin Fern said it was the right time to rebrand the program as Visit Shawnee because a new hotel just opened and two more are set to begin construction this month.

“It’s a call to action, it’s a call to visit Shawnee,” Fern said.

On Monday, the City Council approved a new agreement with what will now be called Visit Shawnee and appointed several new people to its advisory committee.

The new members of the Visit Shawnee Advisory Committee are Robin Heath and Neal Sawyer, whose terms expire on Jan. 31, 2018, along with Roxane Hill and Ruben Luna, whose terms expire on Jan. 31, 2017. There are also eight members of the current committee who have volunteered to serve on the new board. Appointments will serve the initial one-year or two-year term to create the staggered terms, and future appointments shall be for two-year terms.

Heath is the owner and operator of Firehouse Subs in Shawnee. All of her children have attended the De Soto School District, and she has long been active in the De Soto Youth Baseball Association and the Westside Family Church.

Hill is the Executive Director of Wonderscope Children's Museum of Kansas City. She has worked in the nonprofit field as a fundraiser for more than 15 years. A native of Sydney, Australia, she has lived in Kansas City area for 20-plus years.

Luna is director of operations for the Liberty Hotel Group for Missouri and Kansas and is responsible for operations at the recently opened Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Shawnee.

Sawyer is retired from the Kroger Company, where he served in a variety of management positions. He is the co-president of Rebuilding Together Shawnee and active in the Rotary Club of Shawnee and previously served on the Shawnee Planning Commission and the Shawnee City Council.

Mayor Michelle Distler also appointed two City Council members, Jim Neighbor and Mickey Sandifer, to the Visit Shawnee Advisory Committee. Both also served on the Convention and Tourism Bureau board.

The function and purpose of the Visit Shawnee division and Visit Shawnee Advisory Committee will be to promote tourism in the city through long-range and short-range goals for marketing. The advisory committee, made up of up to 18 people, will assist Fern in developing an annual work plan.

The city’s ordinance for the advisory committee says at least 12 members are to be representatives from a hotel or other businesses, professions or community volunteers.

Current committee members volunteering to serve on the new committee are Stacey Bienhoff, Randy Bull, Mark Hembrey, Lauren Taylor, JoLynn Brosnan, Robin Frazee, Dave MacKay and Cathy Marks.

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