VSCC Welcomes New Board Members
For more than two decades, Julie Baylor has worked in various roles within the hospitality industry, encompassing nearly all discipline of hotel operations: Guest Services, Sales and Marketing, Banquets and Catering, Revenue Management, Accounting, Safety and Security, Capital Planning and Execution, Rooms Management, Training and Human Resources. She is currently the General Manager at Hyatt Place Santa Cruz. With a passion for sustainability, Julie also headed the Gateway to a Greener L.A. initiative, and served on the council for the Los Angeles Green Lodging Program. She is a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) and credentialed LEED Green Associate.
Redwood City to Santa Cruz with her primary focus being the Best Western Plus All Suites Santa Cruz, Lacey has spent the past twelve years in hotel management. For the past eight years, Lacey has worked with BPR Properties, a hospitality management company based out of Palo Alto, where she has held a handful of titles and worked for both the Holiday Inn Express Santa Cruz and Best Western Plus All Suites in Santa Cruz. Lacey is a native of Santa Cruz County.
Charles A. Montoya brings over 25 years of professional management experience at Municipal, County, and State government level; including over a decade as an Officer in the United States Navy Reserve. He is the City Manager for the City of Watsonville, and prior to that served as the Town Manager for the Town of Florence, Arizona. Prior to this, he served as the Director of Finance in the Town of Castle Rock, Colorado. He has a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor of Business Administration/Management from New Mexico State University. He is a current Board Member for the Santa Cruz County Regional 911 and a Board Member for the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Ann Ostermann manages production of the annual Open Studios Art Tour and other events for Arts Council Santa Cruz County. In addition to her 15 years with the Council, Ann spent 14 years as a Planner in high tech and 12 years as a Girl Scout leader giving her a wealth of experience that makes planning Open Studios a breeze. In between events, Ostermann participates in local arts festivals selling handmade fabric creations, and whenever possible spends time relaxing in her garden. Ostermann, a third-generation Californian, holds a B.A. in history from UCLA.
Karley Pope, Director of Promotions & Entertainment – Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
For twelve years Karley Pope has been responsible for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s public discount programs, special events, promotions, and entertainment. While in her role, she has developed and marketed events such as Wednesday Night Movies, Free Friday Night Bands at the Beach, and the Chili Cook-Off. Karley grew up in Santa Cruz County as the daughter to local business owners at The Van Zantes Photography. Prior to her work at the Boardwalk, she worked in hotel sales for San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties. She serves as a volunteer and advocate for regional cancer research and service organizations such as Jacob’s Heart, Unravel Pediatric Cancer, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Darren Pound, General Manager – Dream Inn Santa Cruz
Darren Pound brings more than 29 years’ experience in luxury hospitality and hotel operations to the VSCC board. Born and raised in Edmonton, Canada, Darren earned a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Red Deer College in Alberta, Canada and began his career as a restaurant assistant manager at the Canadian Pacific Hotels and Resorts, Chateau Lacombe. Darren joined the team at the Dream Inn in late 2016 where he played in integral role in the property’s $8 million renovation and oversaw the property’s brand conversion.
Santa Cruz County Represents at Destination Third Thursday Event
VSCC staff presented at Destination Third Thursday on June 15th, a valuable program offered to destination marketing organizations across the state by Visit California. A dynamic presentation involving trivia questions presented in a game show format created fun and excitement for Visit California staff as team members learned more about the destination product in Santa Cruz County. The theme centered around wetsuit legend Jack O’Neill, providing inspiration and an opportunity to pay homage to this pioneer of the surfing industry.
To convey the story of California’s favorite beachside destination, VSCC staff created You Don’t Know Jack…About Santa Cruz County, an interactive quiz show involving Visit California staff as contestants, answering questions about state parks, arts and culture, attractions, history, surfing, outdoor adventure, wildlife watching, and other topics. Following the presentation, VSCC showed a “Thank You” video to the approximately 60 Visit California staff in attendance, which featured partners thanking the state agency for their support of the local tourism industry by bringing the destination message to domestic and international media, tour operators, and visitors. The day then concluded with a networking lunch. Read more about Visit Santa Cruz County’s presentation here!
Santa Cruz County Destination Marketing Continues Overseas as Brand USA Names New UK Agency
Representing the largest overseas travel market to the United States, Brand USA has announced that Hills Balfour will be its agency of record in the UK. Brand USA is the destination marketing organization for the United States with the mission of increasing international visitation, supporting the nation's economy and enhancing the image of the USA worldwide. The UK is the largest international overseas market for Santa Cruz County, which is well represented on Brand USA’s consumer-driven website, VisitTheUSA.com.
Hills Balfour will work with Brand USA in the UK and Ireland to continue to position the United States as a premier travel destination and will work collaboratively with other Brand USA partners and agencies at the direction of Brand USA leadership to ensure all in-market activity represents Brand USA in ways that support its mission. According to the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the UK and Ireland represent the largest overseas market for international arrivals to the United States. During 2015, 4.9 million travelers from the United Kingdom came to the USA - an 18 percent increase over the prior year – and spent $16.2 billion during their visit, a 12 percent increase over 2014. Brand USA first established international representation in the United Kingdom and Ireland in March 2012.