A Michigan native is relocating from California to sell Grand Rapids.
Tom Bennett joined Experience Grand Rapids last week as the organization’s new vice president of sales and service.
Bennett, a Lansing native, will move from Costa Mesa, Calif. for the role.
He joins Experience Grand Rapids after serving as senior vice president of sales with Product Strategies Incorporated, a national convention production company in California.
Previously, Bennett spent 15 years in senior leadership sales and service roles for a number of California destination-marketing organizations, including Long Beach, Sacramento and Newport Beach.
His first job with a destination-marketing organization was as a national sales director for the Anaheim Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Despite spending his entire professional career in California, Bennett said his passion for his home state and Grand Rapids has never waned, and the move home is a strategic one.
“This incredible opportunity to not just return to my roots, but to represent an organization and destination that I have the highest respect for, is a career highlight,” Bennett said.
He noted that he wouldn't have left his previous position for just any job.
“With the emergence of Grand Rapids as a brand many nationally based meeting executives are recognizing, it was a logical career decision for me to pursue, and I couldn't be any more excited to get back home and get started,” Bennett said.
Experience Grand Rapids President Doug Small said that he has known Bennett for more than 20 years and worked with him and the destinations he’s represented during their careers.
“You will be hard pressed to find a more passionate, skilled sales person and proven leader in the area of travel-industry sales,” Small said. “His charisma, knowledge, and extensive client base was evident both in the interview process and in the results produced with past destination-marketing organizations.”