New Director of Walton TDC

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by James Bentwood, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    WALTON CLOSE TO HIRING NEW TDC DIRECTOR
    By: Kari C. Barlow, NWF DailyNews

    Walton County is considering hiring a Louisiana tourism official to head the Tourist Development Council.

    Commissioners voted to begin negotiating a contract with Jay A. Tusa, who is currently the director of communications and research with the Louisiana Office of Tourism in Baton Rouge.

    “He was ranked the highest of the finalists,” Walton County Spokesman Louis Svhela said.

    Interim TDC Director Stan Sunday, County Attorney Mark Davis and Human Resources Director Ella Mae Walters will work with Tusa to finalize the hiring agreement, which requires the approval of the board.

    Tusa has worked in the tourism and marketing industry for more than 21 years and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University.

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    He was one of three finalists, who were culled from a pool of roughly 30 applicants. The other finalists were Julie Morgan, tourist development director in Santa Rosa County, and David West, director of tourism and economic development for i76Solutions of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania.

    Svhela said he expects county commissioners to take a final vote on Tusa’s hiring at their meeting March 22.
     
  2. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    Experience
    Director of Communications & Research
    Louisiana Office of Tourism
    2012 – Present (4 years)Baton Rouge, LA
    Manage the communications, research and promotional efforts for the Louisiana Office of Tourism (LOT). Forecast annual budgets, projecting costs, determining necessary adjustments and approving and reviewing expenses. Develop the role of research in the DMO to improve strategic and marketing decisions. Make recommendations for the sales and marketing plan. Engage organizational leadership and departments to construct on-going research programs, tools and ad hoc studies serving diverse needs. Liaise with statewide industry stakeholders and represent LOT at industry meetings.

    [​IMG]
    Executive Director
    River Parishes Tourist Commission
    2008 – 2012 (4 years)LaPlace, LA
    Responsible for the success of the River Parishes’ hospitality industry through comprehensive strategic marketing and partnership building region-wide. Managed the Commission’s operating budget. Developed results-driven domestic and international sales and marketing programs growing the tourism base. Addressed complex, sensitive issues in collaboration with Board of Directors and three parish administrations as well as oversaw the effective management of tourism tax revenues. Managed daily operations and administration of the St. John Community Center, a 42,000-square-foot facility.

    [​IMG]
    Marketing Manager
    Stirling Properties
    2006 – 2008 (2 years)Covington, LA
    Created and executed the annual marketing plan for the corporate, commercial and residential divisions of a major Gulf South real estate developer. Identified and executed earned media opportunities. Oversaw a staff located throughout multiple satellite offices while directing the application of the company's goals and objectives to meet the needs of each office in developing annual marketing plans.

    [​IMG]
    Advertising Manager
    New Orleans CVB
    2002 – 2005 (3 years)New Orleans, LA
    Developed and managed the domestic and international marketing efforts, including day-to-day oversight of media placement and creative development; traditional and digital marketing programs; Internet presence; photography and video resources; and research. Administered the advertising budget, directing all contracted work from the CVB’s advertising agencies. Proposed and developed multi-media marketing campaigns to support sales efforts in key markets. Served as brand steward, ensuring strategic deployment across all Bureau projects. Worked closely with CVB leadership on strategic planning, community awareness projects, elected officials relationships,


    [​IMG]
    Account Executive
    Gallinghouse Marketing + Creative
    2001 – 2002 (1 year)Covington, LA
    Managed budgets, creative development, public relations, and media planning for multiple accounts including St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission, Covington Downtown Development District, and Three Rivers Art Festival. Fostered stakeholder relationships identifying key opportunities for client’s product expansion.

    Media Planner
    Montgomery Stire & Partners
    2000 – 2000 (less than a year)New Orleans, LA
    Managed media strategy, research, and planning. Executed regional and national media buys including print, television, radio, digital, direct mail and outdoor. Agency clients included New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and New Orleans Marriott, as well as an extensive list of smaller regional hotels.

    [​IMG]
    Interactive Account Executive / Production Supervisor
    WWL-TV
    1994 – 2000 (6 years)New Orleans, LA
    Interactive Account Executive – Provided online marketing solutions for businesses with products designed to attract customers, build brand awareness and promote special opportunities. Developed initiatives to expand website content.

    Production Supervisor – Led the day-to-day operation of the Production Department overseeing billing, scheduling, budgeting and marketing. Assisted in the management of revenue and expense budgets.
     
  3. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    marketing, marketing, marketing...
    don't see a lot of management experience.

    He'll need to negotiate a nice golden parachute like Bagby did to cover his butt if he doesn't "go along to get along".

    If he's honest and sincere, I give him about three months before they " Halfhill" him.
     
  4. Dawn

    Dawn Beach Fanatic

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    Yes it will be interesting to see whether they hire him to run things, or if they hired him to follow directions. It shouldn't take but about a day to figure out. The other 2 finalists were directors ....
     
  5. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    I thought it was a TDC director's job not to set policy but to implement decisions of the tourism council and county commission...
     
  6. Patriot Games

    Patriot Games Beach Lover

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    This prayer I offer.....

    May God look over him and keep him safe from local politics. Oh lord, give him strength, patience and the ability to resist those who would squader this paradise in the name of a dollar...........

    He will need It! Good luck and remember the devil wears silver hair and combs it flat.....
     
  7. kayti elliott

    kayti elliott Beach Lover

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    I'm confused. Why does the county even need a Tourist Development Council? Everybody complains about the huge number of people who flood the area now and it's growing every year. Seems to me that the county has already reached the saturation point with tourists and the money spent on the TDC could be put to better use than trying to bring even more tourists into the area.
     
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  8. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Great points and questions.

    With a potential Civil War over beach access and vendors, infrastructure that cannot support the current population, (let alone any increases in tourism), no occupancy regulation for rental property, your comments are right on point.

    Unfortunately, we have zero leadership on board and a crew that just goes along to get along and get that paycheck each week.
     
  9. Robert D

    Robert D Beach Lover

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    Bed tax collectors (property owners) will not be satisfied until every bed has someone in it every night of the year. That is why they have beds after all. That is the mindset you are dealing with. There are a very small number of owners who don't worry about it, and may not want to rent every night. But their agencies are at odds with that mentality.

    This scenario means that MORE adverting HAS to be done.
    And spending one advertising dollar less than last year means LESS income this year. That would be a DISASTER in the minds of business people and politicians.
     
  10. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I think we do need leadership for tourism as its our main industry here and important for us all. However, I think that we need overall government leadership first and foremost to lead the way for infrastructure and excellent planning and development. We're a town of people, families, schools, and businesses first. With no real oversight. Not even a mayor. Yet all the leadership we see is in tourism..
     
  11. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    Does anyone know how much the sales tax in Walton County is collected and what impact that has in offsetting ad valorem taxes. I remember we voted to pay a 1/2 cent sales tax to pay a portion of the 331 bridge and that raised somewhere north of 25 million in 3 years. I would also venture to guess without tourism and the lack of manufacturing or high tech jobs that our economy would suffer due to unemployment. I would also bet the services that those of us want would cost us more in ad valorem without tourism. Just my opinion.
     
  12. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    Tourism is the economic engine that runs this area, Walton County included. Without tourism we would be in the same economic boat as Holmes, Washington and other local counties that do not include coastline. Our problem is that the TDC has been too successful in bringing in tourists and so the numbers of people visiting has overcome our infrastructure. So the TDC should make purchasing beach access and land for parking and amenities its primary mission until infrastructure catches up to demand. The BCC should make improving and constructing new roadways its goal as well.
     
  13. NotDeadYet

    NotDeadYet Beach Fanatic

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    I agree, but beach access and parking won't do much good now since nearly all the beaches have been privatized. What's the good of an access if you get kicked off once you get there?
     
  14. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Not nearly any beaches have been privatized... Where did that come from? Sheriff Mike won't kick you off unless you spend some $$$ to "Prove" you own what you say you do...

    Our "public beaches" are flooded with private, for profit vendors, if that's what you refer to... Any problem there?

    Instead of looking to blame the smart private property owner for defending whats rightfully theirs, how bout you and everyone else place blame on this County government and their epic failures?

    The failure goes back years and years. Blame for this failure lies there. Place it, embrace it and work to change it!
     
  15. Garner

    Garner Beach Fanatic

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    John G, I respectfully disagree with your position that the beaches are not being privatized. Over the past three years, over 100 individual property owners have put up fences from the dune to the mean high water line accompanied by "no trespassing" signs. A few weeks ago, a gulf front owner called the sheriff's office because an elderly woman walked the beach between his home and the gulf. It's getting nasty. The County Commission is hosting a workshop this Wednesday from 5 to 8 at Emerald Coast Middle School to address the beach access and customary use issues. Please come, learn and speak up if you desire

    Beach Access Flyer 3-10-16 jpeg.jpg
     
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  16. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    Hmmm. Something doesn't ring true about the elderly woman walking along the beach being reported to the sheriff's office. That said, the workshop is important and a good place to have a chance to express opinions. I just hope that it is a constructive, respectful, factual exchange of ideas.
     
  17. Garner

    Garner Beach Fanatic

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    I appreciate that - please come to the workshop and we all want a respectful, factual exchange
     
  18. Truman

    Truman Beach Fanatic

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    Dear Jay, welcome to South Walton.

    There are a couple of companies here (this site being the main one) that advertise us. You don't need to do that. Please take care of our natural resources and infrastructure and leave the promotion to the experts - SoWal, Wyndham, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Sandestin, etc. - through their advertising, web presence, social media expertise they bring in more than enough visitors. Concentrate on boosting price per bed instead of filling each one every night of the year.
     
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