Last week, after 10+ years I have submitted my resignation to the Visitor’s Bureau as well as the Downtown Cadillac Association.
As I look back on these years I can only say there is definitely no ‘I’ in Team!
We sure have been busy over the years and I’m proud to share so many accomplishments with the various volunteers, committees and community leaders that make the greater Cadillac area so special. Here are just a few things we have been able to do:
– Morphed the Downtown New Street celebration into the Cadillac Craft Beer Festival for 10 years now; boasting a database of over 300 area volunteers.
– We closed the streets and welcomed Cadillac Lakes Cruise & Car Show for 9 years with an amazing team of car enthusiasts like Tom Duffy and the Back to the Bricks organization & Jerry Preston.
– We celebrated the 40th anniversary of when KISS came to Cadillac and now have an official Cadillac KISStory Tour which features the ONLY KISS monument in the world! A monument unveiling featured by international news outlets with the guidance of Jim Neff and support from Cadillac Area Public Schools and McGhee Entertainment.
– We created Halloween Downtown for 6 strong years, morphing from what used to be Moonlight Madness.
– We created the Cadillac Trails Collaborative, bringing the City, County, USFS, MDNR and trail users together for the past 3 years. This collaborative helps to gain funds, add amenities to the area trails and help increase maintenance volunteers.
– We created an internship program here through the Visitors Bureau for the summer months that helped to created over 100 blog posts, uncovered so many local unknown/little known stories and added them to our digital footprint. We had the best interns Erica Benham, Cassie O’Hagan, Nate Houk and Dawson Cook. They rocked it out and learned more about Cadillac than they ever knew before.
– As an active member of the MACVB we were a founding co-chair of the Outdoor Recreation Committee with an expertise in the area of hunting. Our efforts lead to the creation of the MACVB/MI DNR partnership. We also actively participated in MACVB Legislative events at the State Capitol and served as a contributor to the MACVB Marketing Committee.
– We began to partner 5 years ago with the Michigan’s Great Outdoor group, consisting of the Ludington, Manistee and Benzie County Visitors Bureaus to promote our shared trail systems and make it easier for trail users to see trails without boundaries on northernmichigantrails.org.
– We launched and grew our “Visit Greater Cadillac” social media presence at a fast pace over the last 7 years, with the help of Lindsey & Will at Bit Social Media.
– Our website cadillacmichigan.com continues to be the master online guide for many area amenities, creating an amazing digital footprint for the greater Cadillac area with the help of Brandon Jensen and his team at RightSide Design (RSD).
– We created the first annual Cadillac Visitors Guide magazine without any advertising. Full-sized, 62 pages packed to the brim with the amazing things to do in our area, teaming with RSD and area niche advocates to write heartfelt grass roots features on the best things Cadillac has to offer.
– We’ve produced over 50 videos and thousands of hours of b-roll promoting our area with Mark and Angela Boardman at Boardman Video, an amazing team I’ve enjoyed working with for over 20 years.
– With the trust of our executive board and local lodging owners we’ve grown the bureau from a $120k organization to what is now a $500k organization. Going from 60k room nights per year to over 100k room nights annually. We’re proud to share the Cadillac area now hosts over 250k visitors annually!
Two years ago, in order to diversify our visitors base, we added a Group Sales Manager to focus on bringing various associations, corporations and government agencies to Cadillac for their meetings and conferences. Kathy Morin is still going strong in this position and I have no doubt she will take it to the next level.
With this much success over the past 10+ years, I am confident that our team will do even more great things going forward. In any career, you can only hope to leave a legacy. I hope what we’ve created is a foundation that many will continue to build on and that is versatile enough to change adapt to needs of the market.
Finally, I’ve accepted a position in Public Affairs/Partnerships at the US Forest Service here in Cadillac. My last day at the Cadillac Visitors Bureau is October 21st, and my first day at the Forest Service is October 26th, 2020. In my new position I hope to continue to help this area grow, ebb & flow with the market and engage the Huron Manistee National Forest partners and future partners to the best of my ability. On to my next career chapter!