Lodging tax board spot attracts nine applicants
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
October 4, 2012
A late flurry of applications has tripled the field of candidates for the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism board.
Until Tuesday, there were three candidates for the board. There were nine by Wednesday afternoon, the deadline to apply for a vacant seat.
The new applicants were Clark Brooks, Steve Duerr, John Frechette, Mike Geraci, Jonathan Schechter and Gary Trauner.
Frank Lane, Joe Madera and Dina Mishev turned in applications last week.
Jackson and Teton County elected officials will interview candidates starting Oct. 24. They will choose who to appoint.
The person selected will serve out the remainder of Jeff Golightly’s term, which expires in 2015. Golightly re-signed last month to become executive director of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce.
Brooks, a retired ad and marketing executive, said he would bring a new approach to marketing Jackson Hole.
“I looked at the list of qualifications ... and noted that only members of the JH restaurant and resort marketing community qualify,” Brooks said in his application. “This is fine if you want your board members to have pretty much the same approach to marketing JH. You’ll wind up with tag lines like ‘The Power of Place’ which has no consumer benefit.”
Brooks said Jackson marketing should be a call to action, such as “Take a week in JH and recharge yourself.” He also wants to attract publicity for events such as the Pole Pedal Paddle and the World Championship Hill Climb.
Duerr, a lawyer and realtor, touted his broad experience in the valley. He has worked with groups that promote businesses and conservation, he said.
“After nearly 30 years in JH, having founded, managed, organized or participated in a wide variety of regional, state and local organizations, I would like to engage again with our community leaders on initiatives important to the growth of our economy,” Duerr said in his application. “I firmly believe I offer a valuable perspective as a former manager of the chamber and the Murie Center on balancing commercial and conservation values.”
Frechette, who owns the retail store Made, wants to do more than simply fill hotels, he said.
“I will bring knowledge of the town traffic flows, creative marketing, social media platforms and outreach to the board,” he said in his application. “I feel we need to focus on a demographic that will not just fill our beds, but will partake in our community, visit our stores, experience culture, dine in our restaurants and take advantage of our landscape.”
He said he is deeply invested in the community’s success.
“I own a small glass manufacturing business in town,” he said. “I own a retail store, Made, with two locations in the valley. I am a homeowner, an artist, a volunteer, a community member and a friend to many. I want to help Jackson remain true to its roots, but continue to grow into a vibrant and dynamic community.”
Geraci handles marketing as creative director for FreeRange Media. He said his 15 years in marketing suit him for the board.
“My professional focus is on helping brands tell their story,” he said in his application. “I feel that my extensive marketing experience in the outdoor and travel/tourism markets can provide ... a valuable perspective for the most effective and efficient use of our lodging tax dollars in the telling of the Jackson Hole story.”
Geraci, a 22-year resident, has managed PR campaigns for Teton Mountain Lodge, Hotel Terra, Mountain Khakis and the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“I can provide institutional knowledge and almost-local credibility and authenticity to the concepts and messages the [board] develops,” he said.
Schechter is executive director of the Charture Institute. He sees Jackson as a leader in sustainable tourism, ensuring the health of the valley economy. No other board is as well-suited to accomplish that, he said.
“Helping create that future will include helping create a sense in the Jackson Hole community that, rather than being at odds with our environmental ethic, tourism and environmentalism can and do complement one another,” Schechter said in his appli-
“A healthy tourism economy makes the environment healthier; a healthy environment is good for tourism.”
Schechter is a columnist for the Jackson Hole News&Guide and an eight-year board member at St. John’s Medical Center.
Trauner said his experience with many public boards would lend the board insight into public policy and different markets.
“While it is clearly critical that the board include members with deep experience and knowledge in travel, tourism and marketing/sales, I believe it is also critical for the board to contain broader viewpoints into markets, public policy, business and our local community,” Trauner said in his application.
Trauner is chief operating officer at St. John’s Medical Center.